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Words to Live By

State of the Arts

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The University of Vermont uses its annual academic convocation to set the tone for the upcoming year. But this Sunday, townies might want to attend just to hear the keynote speaker, renowned nonfiction author Tracy Kidder. Among his books are House, The Soul of a New Machine, Among Schoolchildren and Mountains Beyond Mountains, the story of Dr. Paul Farmer and his struggle against third-world disease, which this year’s crop of UVM freshmen has been assigned to read before arriving on campus.

Kidder’s newest book, Strength in What Remains, explores the incredible journey of a refugee from Burundi who went from sleeping in Central Park to graduating from medical school — and eventually used his skills to found a free clinic in his impoverished home country. The convocation is the Pulitzer winner’s only stop in northern Vermont on a national book tour that also includes Northshire Bookstore in Manchester; look for him there on September 26 at 7 p.m.