Regina Calcaterra, New York Times best-selling author of this year’s One Book, One College selection Etched in Sand, spoke to a packed room of more than 150 people at the Clearwater Campus on Wednesday, Jan. 28.
“It’s an honor for me to be here, as it would be for any author,” Calcaterra said.
Calcaterra appeared at four SPC campuses Jan. 28-29 to discuss her memoir, participate in Q&As and sign copies of her book.
Etched in Sand follows Calcaterra and her four siblings through their tumultuous childhood framed by an alcoholic, abusive, and often absentee mother. The inspiring coming-of-age story, with themes of tenacity, hope, resilience and unconditional love among siblings, spent many weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
An engaging speaker, Calcaterra elicited gasps, tears and applause as she discussed how she and her siblings “survived on the fringes of society” and “broke the cycle of abuse” in one generation.
Calcaterra spoke about the teachers and professors who helped her lift herself from a life of poverty, homelessness and abuse to become a strong, accomplished woman. Those mentors repeatedly told her, “The only way out of poverty is through education,” Calcaterra said.
Calcaterra, an attorney for the state of New York, served as Executive Director of two New York State commissions, and is a former Chief Deputy to the Suffolk County (N.Y.) Executive.
Through a survey, college employees chose Calcaterra’s book as the featured title of SPC’s common reading program. The goal of the program is to get everyone at the college reading and discussing the same selection. Past books on the reading list have included Water for Elephants, The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Last Lecture.
See more photos on the college’s Facebook page.