Author Tracy Kidder to Speak on Global Health on October 6

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder can count the band Arcade Fire as readers and fans.

The Montreal based-band helped get his best-selling book about Dr. Paul Farmer and his work in Haiti, “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” translated into French. Coinciding with the September release of the French edition, Arcade Fire held a free concert in Montreal to raise money and awareness for Haiti.

“I met Régine Chassagne before the concert,” says Kidder. “He’s quite extraordinary.”

Kidder has written about global health problems for the last decade of his career. His latest book, “Strength in What Remains,” follows the amazing journey of Burundi-born Deo, who escapes civil war and genocide, travels to New York, and eventually returns to his native country to build a health care clinic.

“It’s the only one of its kind,” says Kidder, talking about Village Health Works. The clinic has served more than 50,000 patients since opening in December 2007, and provides extraordinary health care to impoverished people.

Kidder is coming to Chicago to speak about sustainable philanthropy on October 6, at a benefit for Global Health Initiative (GHI), which promotes global health education, provides medical aid to resource-limited countries, and encourages interest in primary care medicine. At the benefit, Kidder plans to talk about the global health care crisis and what’s working, but personally, he’s starting to think about what’s next for his career.

“I’ve had the same editor for the past 40 years, and we’re working together on a book about writing non-fiction,” he says. “But I’m looking now for my next long-term project.”

And for Kidder, whose books take years to research and write, it’s not a small commitment. “I’m not an advocate as a writer, but I’m moved by what I’ve encountered, so personally I want to stay involved,” he says.

To learn more about GHI or to attend the benefit, visit

Photo courtesy of Gabriel Amadeus Cooney.

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