- Check-In opens at 6:15PM. Seating is first-come, first-served.
- "With Book" ticketholders will receive a copy of American Mother at check-in the evening of the event.
- Please enter campus from the west entrance and park in the west lot. The event will begin on time, so please allow plenty of time to get from the parking structure to the theater.
- Please call the Warwick's Book Department at 858-454-0347 for more information.
Warwick's and the University of San Diego’s College of Arts and Sciences and Humanities Center present Colum McCann as he discusses his new book, American Mother. Colum McCann has seven novels and three collections of short stories have been published in over forty languages and received some of the world's most prestigious literary awards and honors, including the National Book Award for his novel Let the Great World Spin in 2013. His novel TransAtlantic was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013, and his most recent novel, Apeirogon, also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, is an international bestseller on four continents.
"American Mother is a book that will shake your soul out." ~Sting
National Book Award-winning author Colum McCann channels Diane Foley's voice as she tells her story, as the mother of American journalist Jim Foley - in search of answers, beyond justice, found through dogged, empathetic, spiritual enquiry.
In late 2021, Diane Foley sat at a table across from her son's killer, Alexanda Kotey, a member of the ISIS group known as "The Beatles" who plead guilty to the kidnapping, torture, and murder of her son seven years before. Kotey was about to go serve life imprisonment and this was Diane's chance to talk to the man who had been involved with brutally taking her son's last breath. What would she say to his killer? What would he reveal to her? Might she even be able to summon forgiveness for him?
So begins American Mother—which reads alternately like a thriller, a biography, a mystery, a memoir, and a literary examination of grace.
Diane looks back on the early days when Jim was a child and his journey to journalism, and the killing fields of the world where he reports with indefatigable determination and insight on the plight of those caught up in the agonies of war. She guides us through her family history and the difficulties they faced when Jim was captured. And she also charts the tenacity it takes to turn her grief into grace as she seeks to give voice to those who are still being kidnapped and wrongfully detained around the world.
Few journeys are more worthy than this and, in this astonishing book, we are all invited to celebrate the lives of those who are never, in the end, gone.
Avi Spiegel is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of San Diego. He earned a doctorate from Oxford University, a master’s degree from Harvard University, a law degree from NYU, and a dual bachelor's degree in government and English from Georgetown University. He has been a Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution, the Ali Pachachi Scholar of the Modern Middle East at Oxford, a Frederick Sheldon Fellow at Harvard, and a Fulbright Scholar and Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. His first book—Young Islam: The New Politics of Religion in Morocco and the Arab World—was published by Princeton University Press. The book, which uncovers the rivalries that are redefining the next generation of political Islam, received the Religion and International Relations Book Award from the International Studies Association, the Hubert Morken Book Award from the American Political Science Association's Section on Religion and Politics, and an Abu Aardvark Middle East Book Award from the Washington Post.
Spiegel's research has been supported by grants from the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. His contributions in the policy arena include work as a member of the Brookings Institution's Project on Rethinking Political Islam, and in the instruction of current government officials and future diplomats at the U.S. State Department's Foreign Service Institute. His Op-Eds have appeared in, among others, the New York Times, Foreign Policy, and USA Today.