'Outcasts' author Neil White returns

Neil White, author of the acclaimed memoir In the Sanctuary of Outcasts, returns to Huntsville to talk about his work on Tuesday, July 17, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Von Braun Center. His appearance is a program of Leadership Huntsville’s Major Events in partnership with Huntsville Rotary and the Huntsville Library Foundation.

Admission is $25 per person, and the event is open to the public. Contact Amy Gandy at agandy [at] hmcpl [dot] org for tickets.

White, a journalist and magazine publisher, was living the high life in a world of beautiful people, but his lifestyle crashed when he couldn’t pay for it all. He was sentenced for check kiting to 18 months in a federal prison in Carville, La., also home to the last leper colony in the continental United States. His interaction with a group of disfigured people whom society had rejected changed his life, and years later he wrote about his experiences.

If you heard White the last time he was in town, you know he’s an engaging speaker and his memoir is a compelling read. But if you missed him, here’s what a few notable writers have to say about his work.

From John Grisham: “Neil White’s memoir is a remarkable story of a young man’s loss of everything he deemed important … and his ultimate discovery that redemption can be taught by society’s most dreaded outcasts.”

“At once surreal, funny and poignant, White‘s tale is fascinating and full of universal resonance,” writes Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler.

John Berendt, author ofMidnight in the Garden of Good & Evil,calls White’s memoir “hilarious, astonishing and, when all is said and done, deeply moving.”

In the Sanctuary of Outcastswas a finalist for a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Book Award, and White received the 2010 Southeastern Library Association Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Author.

White now lives in Oxford, Miss., where he operates a small publishing company, writes plays and essays, and teaches memoir writing.