Villanova University Welcomes Susan Nussbaum, Author of Its One Book Villanova Program Selection, “Good Kings, Bad Kings”

Nussbaum’s Debut Novel Presents Authentic View of the Lives of the Disabled

Villanova’s One Book Author Visit Jan. 28 Features Day of Events Open to the Public

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Having the opportunity to truly understand what it is like to live with a disability—through the eyes of those living it—is rare. On January 28, Villanova University welcomes Susan Nussbaum, author of Good Kings, Bad Kings, this year’s One Book Villanova selection, to campus for a full day’s slate of events that will give the University community and members of the public an authentic view of the lives of the disabled.

The author’s visit will begin with a 1:30 p.m. book signing at the Speakers’ Corner in Falvey Memorial Library. A One Book Community Dinner honoring the author and featuring cuisine inspired by the book will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Dougherty Hall. Tickets are $5, available online at villanovatix or payable at the door. The culminating event, Nussbaum’s presentation, will begin at 7:30 p.m., in the Villanova Room of The Connelly Center. Tickets are not required. Doors will open at 7 p.m., with pianist Mark Bookman opening the program.

Good Kings, Bad Kings is the powerfully drawn tale of the lives of a spirited group of teenagers living in an institution for juveniles with disabilities. At turns humorous and heartbreaking, the novel invites readers to take a frank and unflinching look at what living with a disability can be like – through the eyes of those living it.

“Good Kings, Bad Kings is the kind of story that sticks with the reader long after the last page has been read,” said Teresa Nance, assistant vice president for Multicultural Affairs and a One Book Villanova committee chair. “The voices of each character resonate with laughter, hope, pain and resilience. Susan Nussbaum gives us insight into lives of young people who are all too often rendered invisible in our society.  This is an important book to read and discuss.” 

Nussbaum’s debut novel, Good Kings, Bad Kings won the 2012 PEN Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. A lifelong resident of Chicago, Nussbaum’s plays have been produced at many theatres. She has been cited by the Utne Reader as one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World” for her work with girls with disabilities.

One Book Villanova is a distinctive educational program that engages all segments of the campus community – students, staff and faculty – in activities presented throughout the academic year which explore dominant themes presented in a selected book. Copies of Good Kings, Bad Kings were distributed to the student body early in the fall academic semester.

Discussion groups, public readings and special events will enliven and extend the campus community’s examination of Good Kings, Bad Kings through the end of the spring semester.

Details about the author’s visit, the One Book Villanova program, and additional future events open to the public are available on the University’s One Book Villanova Website.

Other selections featured since the One Book Villanova program began in 2005 include The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni, Blood Done Sign My Name by Timothy Tyson, Left To Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, and Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji, The Unforgiving Minute by Craig Mullaney, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford and Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.