Speaking of Literacy: Butler speech to benefit adult literacy group

Barbara Arnold, photos by Andrea Paulseth

A GROUNDED WRITER. Chippewa Valley author Nickolas Butler will be featured at Literacy Speaks, a Feb. 4 fundraiser for Literacy Volunteers Chippewa Valley.
A GROUNDED WRITER. Chippewa Valley author Nickolas Butler will be featured at Literacy Speaks, a Feb. 4 fundraiser for Literacy Volunteers Chippewa Valley.

Best-selling and beloved Chippewa Valley author Nickolas Butler will keynote Literacy Speaks, a major fundraiser for Literacy Volunteers of the Chippewa Valley on Thursday, Feb. 4, at Florian Gardens in Eau Claire.

Butler, a graduate of Memorial High School, is best-known for Shotgun Lovesongs, a coming of thirties-to-middle-age story of five characters bound by the roots of that place called home, a fictional town called Little Wing, just south of Eau Claire. He also has authored a popular collection of short stories, Beneath the Bonfire, published in early 2015, and he is expecting to release a new book in 2017. In addition, Butler is one of a dozen or so Wisconsin authors featured in Wisconsin Writes, a video series in which writers from around the state share their writing and editing work methods and processes with students in English classes statewide as part of a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction initiative.

“I’m thrilled and honored to have this opportunity to speak at this truly important event,” shared Butler in an email. “I’ve been incredibly blessed throughout my life to be surrounded by exceptional teachers, libraries, and nurturing parents – but not everyone is so lucky, and we have to remember that, and figure out ways to reach those folks, to give them a hand. I can’t imagine my life without books, without writing, and storytelling.”

Three current students of the LVCV literacy program will also speak at the event. They will share the impact of knowing how to read and write in English has made on their life. According to one student who spoke last year, “Because of my tutor and Literacy Volunteers of the Chippewa Valley, I have been able to start a new life. Now I have at least some of the tools to read and write. I no longer have to use my memory to put something together.”

Approximately, 10 percent of adult Chippewa Valley residents do not have a high school diploma or GED, according to LVCV Executive Director MaryJo VanGompel. She estimates that there are about 10,000 people in need of LVCV services living in the Chippewa Valley. Fundraising is now more critical than ever with students on waiting lists for LVCV services.

Tickets for the event are $40 per person or $300 for a table of eight. The evening starts at 5pm with a cash bar, followed by dinner at 6pm, the program at 6:30pm, and a book signing at 7:30pm. Tickets can be purchased online at www.lvcv.org/Literacy-Speaks. RSVP by Jan. 27. For more information, call (715) 834-0222.

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