The Bexley Education Foundation has selected Ann Patchett as its featured author for the 2009-2010 installment of the Bexley Community Book Club.

The Bexley Education Foundation has selected Ann Patchett as its featured author for the 2009-2010 installment of the Bexley Community Book Club.

Patchett is the author of Bel Canto, a novel "about love and opera which takes place during a terrorist takeover at a party at a South American embassy," according to her Web site. It has been translated into 30 languages.

As the BEF's featured author, Patchett's work will be discussed in the community and the schools. On April 14, Patchett will meet with Bexley High School students, attend a dinner with sponsors, give a public lecture and attend a book signing.

The topic of her evening presentation will be "In Praise of Imagination: Why Writing What You Know is Bad Advice."

Patchett, who lives in Nashville, Tenn., was unavailable for comment because she is working on a new book.

This is the third year for the BEF's book club, which selected authors Tobias Wolff last year and Pete Hamill in 2007-2008.

"We always look for an author who has both literary appeal and popular appeal," said Suzanne Goldsmith-Hirsch, BEF programs and communications coordinator.

She said education foundation members were very interested in having a woman author because the first two authors were men. They also liked the diversity of Patchett's work.

Patchett has written an international best-seller in Bel Canto, several novels on diverse topics, a memoir that will provide an opportunity for community discussion and a book-length essay that will provide a quick read, Goldsmith-Hirsch said.

Novels include Taft and The Magician's Assistant; the memoir Truth & Beauty: A Friendship, which tells the story of her friendship with writer Lucy Grealy, who died in 2002; and What Now," an essay based on her commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College.

"She is fun to read," Goldsmith-Hirsch said. "She is universally praised by the critics."

BEF chairwoman Linda Kass also was excited to have a woman author.

"Her books have been well acclaimed from a literary standpoint," Kass said. "At the same time she is broadly popular."

Kass said the education foundation looks for an author who has works in more than one genre like previous authors Wolff and Hamill.

New for 2009-2010 is a community partnership with Ohio State University's creative writing program. OSU faculty will participate in panel discussions and a creative writing component for Bexley High School students.

The panel discussions will take place at Jeffrey Mansion from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 13 and 7:30 to 9 p.m. Jan. 26. A book discussion will be held from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Starbucks in Bexley, 2450 E. Main St.

A book fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dec. 12 at Barnes & Noble at Easton. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the education foundation.

The book club is a good fit for the BEF, Goldsmith-Hirsch said, because the program reaches outside the school district into the community and promotes lifelong learning.

"We wanted to do something that would take a mission of supporting excellence in education beyond the school and into the community," she said.

For more information on ticket sales, becoming a sponsor or joining the author's circle, call 338-2093 or log on to www.bexleyeducationfoundation.org.

tstubbs@thisweeknews.com