Bestselling Author Rūta Šepetys to Visit VMU

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On 29 March, Friday, 11 a.m. at VMU Small Hall, the university community will meet with The New York Times bestselling author Rūta Šepetys, a popular writer of Lithuanian descent.

Rūta Šepetys’ debut novel Between Shades of Gray chronicles Stalin’s reign of terror in the Baltics and was inspired by Šepetys’ family history. In her novel, Rūta Šepetys undertakes a significant task of telling the story of Soviet genocide in the Baltic countries which began in the very wake of the German-Soviet War – in June 1941. In one of her interviews, she admitted that the topic of the mass deportations of the 1940s and the 1950s is still a non-commercial one, which represents a period of history that is very often dismissed or simply disregarded. The story, as told from the point of view of a fifteen-year-old girl named Lina, illustrates the horror of mass deportations: Lina’s family is deported in a cattle-car train from Lithuania to Soviet gulags (forced-labour camps). Only she and her brother survive the twelve-year period in extremely harsh and cruel conditions; her father (a former university professor) dies in prison and her mother dies of starvation and illness.

The novel was very well-received in many countries: immediately after publication, it was selected by The New York Times as one of the ten best-sellers. The novel has been translated into 27 languages and published in 41 countries.

Rūta Šepetys is coming to Lithuania to introduce her latest novel Out of the Easy. The novel tells the story of Josie Moraine, a 17-year-old girl who is the daughter of a prostitute. The girl longs to escape New Orleans and her circumstances.

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