News release
Public Information Office  SLU 10880   Hammond, LA 70402   phone: 985-549-2341   fax: 985-549-2061 Spring 2004 news releases Public Information home News archive

Contact: Christina Chapple
Date: 2/9/04
      HAMMOND -- The Southeastern Louisiana University Women’s Coalition is kicking off the celebration of March as Women’s History Month with a “community read” of Sue Monk Kidd’s best-seller, “The Secret Life of Bees.”  
      “This is an opportunity for an entire community to come together in a discussion of one book, a book that helps us all to understand the complexity of our relationships with each other, including the pain, the sweetness, and the kindness that can enrich our lives,” said Women’s Coalition member Mary Pirosko, news director of Southeastern’s public radio station, KSLU.
      More information about the novel, as well as a reader’s guide, can be found at The book is available through Sims Memorial Library, the Hammond branch of the Tangipahoa Parish Library and local book stores.  
      The community read of “The Secret Life of Bees” will conclude on March 25 when Southeastern English instructor Sarah Ross will moderate a group discussion at 11 a.m., at Sims Memorial Library.
      The theme for Women’s History Month 2004 is “Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility."  The celebration will include a series of faculty and guest lectures, readings, and presentations by Southeastern students on Tuesdays and Thursdays and special evening dance and music performances. All lectures are scheduled for Sims Memorial Library, and all events are free and open to campus and community. 
      The lectures will debut on March 2 when Rep. Diane Winston speaks on “The Status of Women in Louisiana” at 12:30 p.m. at Sims Memorial Library. 
      According to the author’s website, “The Secret Life of Bees” centers around young Lily Owens. Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh, unyielding father, Lily has shaped her entire life around one devastating, blurred memory -- the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four. Since then, her only real companion has been the fierce-hearted, and sometimes just fierce, black woman Rosaleen, who acts as her "stand-in mother." 
      When Rosaleen insults three of the town’s deepest racists, Lily knows it's time to spring them both free. They take off in the only direction Lily can think of, toward a town called Tiburon, S.C. -- a name she found on the back of a picture amid the few possessions left by her mother. 
      There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters named May, June, and August. Lily thinks of them as the calendar sisters and enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey, and of the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women. Maternal loss and betrayal, guilt and forgiveness entwine in a story that leads Lily to the single thing her heart longs for most. 
        For additional information about the community read and Women’s History Month, contact Pirosko (985-549-2330, or Carole McAllister (985-549-2044,