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The Rose O'Neill


Literary House

Sophie Kerr Lecture Series: Sometimes We Tell the Truth—A Reading by Kim Zarins


Date: 4:30pm EST February 6, 2018

Join us for a night of fun with Dr. Zarins and her retelling of the Canterbury Tales.

Kim Zarins has a PhD in English from Cornell University and teaches medieval literature and children’s literature at Sacramento State University. Her debut novel, Sometimes We Tell the Truth (Simon and Schuster, 2016), retells Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with modern teens, transforming the fourteenth-century collection into contemporary genres and tackling issues relevant for today’s teens. On the long bus ride to Washington, D.C., a group of seniors each tell a story—some fantastical, some realistic, some downright scandalous—in a competition for the ultimate prize: a perfect grade. Whether zombie war epic, love story between an angel and a devil, tale of interracial adoption, eulogy for a lost sibling, or “Harry Potter” fan fiction, the tales entertain and invite empathy. In this contemporary YA adaptation of the Canterbury Tales, students wrestle with issues of class and wealth, fears of going off to college, moral reckoning with the cost of cheating, and LGBTQIA identity. Most lies are really just lies—but, sometimes, they can tell the truth. In addition to Sometimes We Tell the Truth, Zarins has published two picture books for very young children, The Helpful Puppy (Holiday House, 2012) and The Playful Bunny (Cartwheel Books, 2006). When she isn’t reading, writing, or teaching, she hangs out with her family in Davis, California, and coaxes a scrub jay named Joe to take peanuts from her hand.