WNIJâs new âCommunity Read Projectâ delves deeper into this culture through an upcoming radio feature and interactive discussion online.
In the NPR story, Preacher Coots says, âWe sing, we preach, we testify, take up offerings, pray for the sick, everything like everybody else does. … Just, every once in a while, snakes are handled.â
Knox College professor and novelist Robert Hellenga paints a similar scene in his most recent book, set in southern Illinois.
âSnakewoman of Little Egyptâ puts religious snake handling at the center of a story about love, death and the search for freedom.Â Hellengaâs book also happens to be one of five works selected for local radio features this December as part of WNIJâs âWinter Book Series.â
Morning EditionÂŽ host and book series editor Dan Klefstad was so taken with âSnakewoman of Little Egypt,â he decided to involve listeners and other local readers in a broader conversation about it through social media. Interested participants are urged to Tweet questions and comments using the hash tag #readwithWNIJ, post them to WNIJ’s Facebook page or email them to ReadWithWNIJ@gmail.com.
âAs you read,â Klefstad says, âuse #readwithWNIJ to engage in conversation with WNIJ staff and fellow readers.â
At 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, WNIJ will host a virtual book discussion with author Hellenga, drawing from questions and comments collected through WNIJâs email and social media platforms.
WNIJ is this areaâs NPR News station, a broadcast service of Northern Illinois University.