KOSCIUSKO — Kosciusko Literacy Services hosted their 16th annual author dinner last night, Thursday, April 19, at Noa Noa Wood Grill & Sushi Bar, Warsaw. The featured speaker was Adrienne Provenzano portraying Mary Shelley, the author of “Frankenstein.”
Provenzano is from Indianapolis and works as a STEAM educator, public speaker, musician and author. She often does portrayals of influential women in history like Shelley, Amelia Earhart, Gene Stratton-Port and Sarah Bolton.
While portraying Shelley, she shared the story of how “Frankenstein” was created. Shelley’s mother Mary Wollstonecraft was a feminist author who died shortly after Shelley’s birth. Shelley connected to her mother through her written work and developed many of the same feminist and philosophical traits. Shelley’s father William Godwin was a political philosopher who also influenced Shelley’s love of writing.
Shelley fell in love and later married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. The two encouraged each other to grow in their writing. In 1816, the two were spending the summer with friends in Switzerland. A friendly competition was created and everyone was encouraged to come up with their best ghost story. The idea of “Frankenstein” appeared to Shelley in a dream while brainstorming for the best ghost story.
This year, Kosciusko Literacy Services is participating in the One State/One Story event. Kosciusko County residents are invited to read the classic novel along with Hoosiers from all over the state. Free copies of the book are available in yellow bins throughout the county. Book discussions, a third grade read, contests and a special First Friday will all revolve around the book. More details on these events can be found online.
“I am fearless and therefore powerful.” This is a line from “Frankenstein” that Executive Director Cynthia Cates repeated several times throughout the evening. Cates expressed the importance of literacy in residents of all ages.
In 2017, 717 children from low-income homes received monthly books thanks to Kosciusko Literacy Services. Parents of these children read a combined 14,987 hours to their children. Nearly 50 percent of these children continued on to make fourth grade honor roll.
Kosciusko County has a nine percent adult illiteracy rate. In collaboration with Warsaw Adult Education, WorkOne and the Kosciusko County Jail, 63 adults earned a high school diploma.
The author dinner included a silent auction featuring vacation packages and items donated by Steve Creighton Art, Service Liquors, The Fort Wayne Komet Hockey Club, Cindy Cates, Linda Tinkey, Susan Williamson and more. This year’s sponsors include Medtronic, Esther Pfleiderer Charitable Trust, The Papers, Learning Solutions, NIPSCO and Chore Time Brock.
The annual dinner event raises much needed funds to provide literacy services.