Thursday, June 15, 2017
Refreshments: 3:30 Program: 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Chapel Hill Public Library, Room B
Free and open to the public
Bronwen Dickey is a contributing editor at The Oxford American and the author of Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon published in 2016. The book shows a deep knowledge of the history and the misinformation surrounding the pit bull. It is highly entertaining and as much about human beings as it is about dogs and has been widely acclaimed. One Amazon reviewer called the book “an undeniable work of literature.”
When Bronwen Dickey brought a pit bull home, she saw no traces of the infamous viciousness in her affectionate dog, which made her wonder: How had the breed—beloved by Teddy Roosevelt and Helen Keller—come to be known as a brutal fighter? Dickey’s search for answers takes her from nineteenth-century New York dog fighting pits to early twentieth‑century movie sets; from the battlefields of Gettysburg to desolate urban neighborhoods. This is the illuminating story of how a popular breed became demonized—and what role humans have played in the transformation.
As serious and thought-provoking as this work is, Dickey never loses sight of the story’s real heart: our very American love of dogs, whatever their breed. “There may be no creature on earth that lends itself to as much love, hate and myth-making as the domestic dog,” she writes. “The literature of dogs has mostly become a literature of longing: for home, for safety, for acceptance and probably for some flicker of the wildness we ourselves have lost.”
Dickey’s writing has appeared in The New York Times , Slate, The Virginia Quarterly Review , Popular Mechanics, Scuba Diving, and Garden & Gun. She has received an award for travel journalism and one of her pieces is included in Best American Travel Writing of 2009. She has appeared as a featured guest on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and All Things Considered. This year she was nominated for a National Magazine Award in feature writing.
Bronwen Dickey is the daughter of the late novelist and poet James Dickey. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.