Mark Woods, Lassoing The Sun

Wednesday, January 13, 2021
No charge
Reservations Required
Online Livestream & In-Person Available

Patrons may choose to attend this event at the King Library or remotely via a livestreamed presentation. For those who prefer to view the event from home, please register for the virtual option. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to view the presentation.

Mark Woods, a newspaper columnist from Jacksonville, Fla., tells the story behind his book, Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America’s National Parks. Shortly before the centennial of the National Park Service, Woods spent a year in our parks, starting with a January 1 sunrise in Maine and ending with a December 31 sunset in Hawaii. In between, Woods lost his mother — changing what started as a journalistic endeavor into something much more personal.

Many childhood summers, Mark Woods piled into a station wagon with his parents and two sisters and headed to America’s national parks. Mark’s most vivid childhood memories are set against a backdrop of mountains, woods, and fireflies in places like Redwood, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon national parks.

On the eve of turning fifty and a little burned-out, Mark decided to reconnect with the great outdoors. He’d spend a year visiting the national parks. He planned to take his mother to a park she’d not yet visited and to re-create his childhood trips with his wife and their iPad-generation daughter. But then the unthinkable happened: his mother was diagnosed with cancer, given just months to live. Mark had initially intended to write a book about the future of the national parks, but it grew into something more: a book about family, the parks, the legacies we inherit and the ones we leave behind.

Biography: Mark Woods is Metro columnist for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Fla. In 2011, he won the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship, an award given to one writer in the country each year. The fellowship allowed him to take a sabbatical and spend a year working on a project about the future of the national parks. During that year, Mark lost his mother, turning the project and a subsequent book into something much more personal. “Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America’s National Parks” came out in June 2016, shortly before the National Park Service centennial. It was awarded the Gold Medal for general non-fiction in the 2016 Florida Book Awards.

Florida Voices in generously supported by the Fred J. Brotherton Endowment for Literature, established at The Four Arts by the Fred J. Brotherton Charitable Foundation. Fred Brotherton, who died in 2003, was for many years a Benefactor of The Four Arts and a strong supporter of its programs. Florida Voices, featuring the state that was Mr. Brotherton’s winter home, serves as a continuing memorial to this much-respected member of The Four Arts.

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