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    Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. is the featured speaker for the Friends of the Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center’s 9th Annual Author Event and Library Endowment Trust Benefit on Nov. 10 at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, 1209 Hay St. Pitts writes a column that appears in newspapers across the country, including The Fayetteville Observer. His topic for the evening will be “Owning What You Know: The Decline of Reason in Politics & Public Discourse.”
    During his speech, scheduled just a few days after the presidential election, Pitts will discuss “the phenomenon we’re seeing played out in the political sphere right now where phony outrage …and intellectual dishonesty … substitute for any sort of substantive discussion of the issues before us,” Pitts said.
    “I believe part of the reason we as a nation are in the polarized state we’re in is that some seem to have decided that ideological purity is more important than making sense. And until we decide that country does, indeed, come before party, we’re going to keep going around in the same old tiresome circles.”
    When he won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, the awards committee commended Pitts for “his fresh, vibrant columns that spoke, with both passion and compassion, to ordinary people on often divisive issues.” His commentaries cover a wide range of topics, from pop culture and family life to social and political issues.
    {mosimage}Pitts began writing professionally in 1976 as an 18-year-old college student. He began doing freelance reviews and profiles for SOUL, a black entertainment tabloid, and two years later, he was its editor. In the years since then, his work has appeared in such publications as Musician, Spin, TV Guide, Reader’s Digest and Parenting.
    He joined The Miami Herald in 1991 as its pop music critic. Since 1994, he has written a syndicated column of commentary that is now read by millions of people. Pitts will sign copies of his book Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood, first published in 1999. Books will be available for purchase at the event. Born and raised in Southern California, he lives in Maryland with his wife and five children.
    A benefit reception to meet Pitts before his presentation will be held at 6 p.m. in the Glass Block Room of the theatre. Tickets are $85 for one or $150 for two. Please call 483-7727 ext. 119 for reception tickets or more details. General admission tickets are $10 and may be purchased at City Center Gallery, 112 Hay Street. All proceeds benefit the Library Endowment Trust.
    This year’s sponsors for the author event are: SYSTEL®; The Fayetteville Observer; Carlos and Terri Union Zukowski; Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville; Jim and Shirley Konneker; Lynn and Karl Legatski; Matlack Sales and Marketing, Inc.; Joyce and Ole Sorensen; Sharon Valentine; and www.OldMountainPress.com.
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