Information Update - Spring 2011

Steve Berry to Receive Royden B. Davis, S.J., Distinguished Author Award

Steve Berry will receive the Royden B. Davis, S.J., Distinguished Author Award on Saturday, March 19, 2011. There will be a book signing by the author from 4 to 5 p.m.. Tickets are required to attend the reception and award presentation. To find out more about the event or to register for the event, visit www.scranton.edu/authaward.
 
If you have ever had an opportunity to visit an historical site, you may have had the experience of imagining people as they were at the time of its creation. In the United States, our history is recent. Walking in Faneuil Hall in Boston or visiting Independence Mall in Philadelphia are chances to walk in the footsteps of our founders. Taking the imagination further back, Steve Berry creates an encounter of the present with the past at the times of Alexander the Great, Charlemagne and the Romanovs. Artifacts and physical geography are linked to contemporary political intrigue or to personal obsessions.

In his most recent book, the "Emperor's Tomb," we go back to the time of Qin Shi who unified warring states and became the first Emperor of China. His tomb, guarded by an army of terra-cotta warriors, holds an artifact that would affect the global balance of power. The plot plays out in balance between Confucian and Legalistic philosophies for the future of China.

 
As in his other works, "The Amber Room," "The Romanov Prophecy," "The Third Secret," "The Templar Legacy," "The Alexandria Link," "The Venetian Betrayal," "The Charlemagne Pursuit" and "The Paris Vendetta," Berry carefully separates fact from fiction. His writer's notes provide information for further exploration of the historical figure and the events described in the book. According to his website, Berry uses between 200-300 sources for each novel. He references the chapters in the books to point out where history (as we know it) has been accurately reported based on his research and where the text is the work of his imagination. Of course, after reading his works, one cannot be too sure about history as we know it!
 
Berry has 11 million books in print, translated into 37 languages and sold in 50 countries. His road to publishing was not an easy path. According to his website, it spanned 12 years (1990 - 2002) and 85 rejections over five separate manuscripts. Before succeeding in being published, Berry twice won the annual fiction contest of State Bar of Georgia. In June 2005, he was selected by the Georgia Writer's Association (based on "The Romanov Prophecy") as its Author of the Year. In October 2005, he was awarded the Nova Award by the Amelia Book Island Festival. In addition to these awards, Library Journal named "The Charlemagne Pursuit" one of the five Best Thrillers for 2008. In November 2006, Berry was elected to the Board of Directors of International Thriller Writers (ITW). A year later he was chosen as one of ITW's co-presidents, a position he held until October 2010.
 
With his wife Elizabeth, Berry has established a foundation to assist communities, around the world, with restoration and preservation. The following information is from their web page History Matters (http://www.steveberry.org/berry-history.htm):
 
"The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works says, "Every day, the vision of artists, the identity of peoples, and the very existence of history all threaten to disappear. Left alone, old buildings will crumble. Documents will disintegrate. The photographed faces will fade away."
 
"History is about people, places, things. It is who we were, who we are, who we will be. What if treasures like Abe Lincoln's Cabin in Lerna, Illinois, or the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, in Little Falls, Minnesota, had been demolished — which, sadly, was the fate of the famed Pennsylvania Station in New York City. What if there was no Monticello or Mount Vernon? These locales contribute not only to the fabric of our culture, but also to the integrity of our communities — and they do this simply by existing.
Steve Berry
 
History, though, is much more than tangible items. It is the story of who we are. It is writings, images, art, and memorabilia, much of which is donated to museums and archives. However, of the more than 1.7 billion rare and unique books, periodicals, and scrapbooks currently in collections, at least 16%, 270,000,000, are endangered because of poor conservation. Of the 21,000,000 paintings, sculptures, and decorative art now in those collections, 26%, 5,500,000, are threatened.
 
What if these rarities are not preserved? Quite simply, links to our past will be irretrievably broken."
 
"At present, over 4.8 billion artifacts are held in public trust by more than 30,000 archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, scientific research collections, and repositories. Over 65% of these report damage to their collections due to improper storage. Another 53% note a danger from moisture. Over 26% have no environmental controls to protect their collections from the effects of temperature and light."
 
"History comes alive when someone is able to not only read about the past, but also able to visit the places, see the artifacts, appreciate the images, read the actual words. For most people, history starts with learning about their family or their community. Imagine trying to discover your genealogy without anything tangible to search. Preservation of our heritage is a vital link to cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational, and economic legacies — all of the things that quite literally make us who we are. History plays a vital role in our everyday lives. We learn from our past in order to achieve greater influence over our future. History serves as a model of who to be and who not to be — of what to champion and what to avoid. Every day, decision-making around the world is based on what came before us."
 
If you have or know of a historical project that needs attention, Steve and Elizabeth Berry are here to help. Contact them at historymatters@steveberry.org. To find out more about Steve Berry and his works, visit his webpage http://www.steveberry.org/.
Bonnie Strohl