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Monday, April 29, 2024 – 5:00-6:30 PM EDT
Price: Free
Registration: Seating is limited; please call to reserve your spot: 843-525-1066.
Venue: Beaufort Bookstore (2127 Boundary St, #15, Beaufort)

Website: Facebook Event Page

The Beaufort Bookstore and the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center will host an evening with Mark Larson, award-winning educator and author of Working in the 21st Century: An Oral History of American Work in a Time of Social and Economic Transformation, on Monday, April 29, at 5:00 p.m., at the Beaufort Bookstore (2127 Boundary St, #15, Beaufort).

Larson will be in conversation with two of the interview subjects of his book, Dr. N’kia J. Campbell, officer of academic initiatives for the Beaufort County School District, and Bradley Tarrance, principal of Robert Smalls Leadership Academy.

Free and open to the public. Books will be available for sale and signing. Please call to reserve your seat in advance: 843-525-1066.

About the Book
Esquire magazine has named Working in the 21st Century as One of the Best Books of 2024 (so far).

From nurses and teachers to wildland firefighters and funeral directors—this oral history offers an intimate, honest, and illuminating collection of interviews that reveal what it’s like to work in America at this historic and volatile moment in time.

Author Mark Larson sits down with more than one hundred workers from across the socioeconomic spectrum as they share their experiences with work and what it has meant in their lives—the good, the bad, the mundane, and the profound. Doulas, firefighters, chefs, hairstylists, executives, actors, stay-at-home parents, and so many more talk about what they do all day and how it aligns (or doesn’t) with what they want to be doing with their lives. The pandemic, the ensuing “Great Resignation,” and the current reckonings with racial justice are among the forces that are now upending and reshaping our longstanding relationships with work. Larson’s interviews display how these forces collide in the lives of average Americans as they tell their own stories with passion, heartbreak, and, ultimately, hope.

Working in the 21st Century asks why we show up—or don’t—to the jobs we’ve chosen, and how the upheaval of the past few years has changed how we perceive the work we do. It will be released to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Studs Terkel’s 1974 classic Working.

“Mark Larson’s superb and robust oral storytelling brings new light to the life of work. His book explores the intricacies of people working in these 21st-century times and shows that while work has been transformed, it is also becoming more relevant and powerful than ever.”—Laura Washington, Chicago Tribune contributing columnist and ABC7 Chicago political analyst

“Mark Larson appeared in one of Studs Terkel’s books and is clearly an admirer of America’s 20th-century storyteller. While Working in the 21st Century celebrates the 50th anniversary of Studs’s Working, the book, through its diversity and clarity, portrays both the similarities and differences of work 50 years later. Larson is a wonderful oral historian and the stories he tells depict the realities of work at the present time. His interviews and writing bring alive the breadth and depth of what it means to live in 2024.”—Alan Wieder, author of Studs Terkel: Politics, Culture, but Mostly Conversation

About the Author
Mark LarsonMark Larson is a Chicago-based writer and educator who holds a doctorate in educational leadership. Larson has worked at Evanston Township High School, the Field Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo, and National Louis University.

He is the author of two books on education and Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater, for which he conducted over 300 interviews with Chicago theater artists, past and present. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Mary. They have twin daughters and twin grandsons.


This program and others like this would not be possible without your financial help for which, as always, Pat Conroy Literary Center gratefully thanks you.

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