BOONE—From Australia to Venezuela and points in-between, writer Leigh Ann Henion has chronicled some of nature’s wonders in her debut book “Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World” published by Penguin Press on March 24.
The official launch party for “Phenomenal” will be held March 26 at Whitewater Cafe in Plemmons Student Union at Appalachian State University. The event will take place from 5-8 p.m. Henion also will be present March 27 and 28 in the lobby of the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts during the BANFF Film Festival in a book sale and signing event sponsored by University Bookstore.
Henion is a lecturer in the Department of English and Watauga Residential College at Appalachian. Her essays and articles have appeared in Washington Post Magazine, Smithsonian, Oxford American, Orion, Preservation, and a variety of other publications. She is also a regular contributor to Our State magazine, where she received the 2011 Readers’ Choice Award for Best Story.
She has garnered a variety of accolades for her work, including a Lowell Thomas Award, and her stories have been noted in three editions of The Best American Travel Writing (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). In 2013, she was awarded a N.C. Arts Council Fellowship to support work on the book.
“Phenomenal” explores natural phenomena, such as Sweden’s aurora borealis, Tanzania’s wildebeest migration, Venezuela’s Catatumbo lightning and Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays –all of which she has witnessed firsthand as part of her global travels.
Her book also introduces the reader to individuals she meets along her journey – modern-day shamans, reindeer herders and astrophysicists – who have also traveled great lengths “to chase migrations, auroras, eclipses, and other phenomena” and who “trust their instincts, follow their passions, shape their days into the lives they most want to lead,” according to Henion’s editor.
Penguin Press editors wrote, “Heartfelt and awe inspiring, Leigh Ann Henion’s ‘Phenomenal’ is a moving tale of physical grandeur and emotional transformation, a journey around the world that ultimately explores the depths of the human heart. A journalist and young mother, Henion combines her own conflicted but joyful experiences as a parent with a panoramic tour of the world’s most extraordinary natural wonders.”
About Appalachian State University
As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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