Author Elizabeth Barks Cox for Reading Van Gogh

book cover for Elizabeth Barks Cox's Reading Van Gogh
Wednesday, April 3, 2024 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

The Athens-Clarke County Library and Avid Bookshop invite you to a literary event with author Elizabeth Barks Cox in celebration of her book Reading Van Gogh: An Amateur's Search for God. This event is on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, from 7-8pm at the Athens-Clarke County Library.

For accessibility requests, contact Please submit your request at least two weeks before the event.


Vincent Van Gogh, even with his mental illness, poverty, isolation, and persistent failure, reflected compassion remarkable for his own life of rejection. He loved God. He loved beauty. He acknowledged his own shortcomings and was never as good as he wanted to be. He might be an unlikely role model for some since he was neither saintly nor successful; but his serious attention to human suffering, as well as to beauty in the world around him, gave this author a different vision. In a nation that lives inside the politics of the day, reveling in the constant wish to be right, or for others to be wrong, these essays might prove to be an antidote. Cox writes about her own experiences, sometimes imprudent, sometimes profound: weeks spent living in a homeless shelter in New York City, a trip to the Mid-East where she visited Yasser Arafat in his compound, an unexpectedly impacting Alaskan adventure, working with abused/neglected children, and the explorations of the mind through reading. Each experience reflected and gave insight into what this author lacked, while deepening a sympathy learned from those around her, always trying to cross that bridge of understanding. One section titled "Prayer Walks" includes a more daily pursuit into a life of "paying attention." Reading Van Gogh plunges into the ideas of psychologists, artists, poets, physicists, and fiction writers who combine reason, imagination, and experience in a way that might enlarge, or even change, the definitions we live by.


Elizabeth Cox has published five novels, a collection of short stories, and a book of poetry. She has won the North Carolina Fiction Award, the Lillian Smith Award for a novel, and in 2013 she was awarded the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction. Cox taught creative writing at Duke University for seventeen years and has also taught at Bennington College, Boston College, and MIT. She resides in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Event Location

Athens-Clarke County Library
2025 Baxter Street
Athens, GA 30606
Reading Van Gogh: An Amateur's Search for God By Elizabeth Barks Cox Cover Image
ISBN: 9780881469202
Availability: May be on our shelves (or available in one month)
Published: Mercer University Press - March 1st, 2024

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