Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

Many people are familiar with the book “Little Women,” but there are many things you may not know about the author, Louisa May Alcott.

Oakland University has partnered with the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen and the Rochester Hills Public Library to bring a six-part event called “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women.”

The series of events, which began on Sept. 18, include a reading, viewing and discussion about Alcott.

“We were lucky enough to be chosen, one of 30 libraries in the country and the only one in Michigan, to offer it to the Rochester community,” Sheila Konen, adult service manager at RHPL, said. “Planning the six programs took some time — but it is the fun, creative part.”

Konen, along with Jeffrey Insko, associate professor of English at OU, were involved with planning the series. Konen said that she came across a grant offered by the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities for the project about a year ago.

“(I) was interested in the idea that there was much more about Louisa May Alcott than most people, including myself, ever knew,” Konen said.

Insko is the project scholar for the event, which every library participating in the series must have.

“At the event, I’ll handle introductions and thank you’s, but I am one of the organizers for the event,” Insko said. “For the Alcott program series as a whole, I am the project scholar… that means that in addition to helping plan each of the programs, I will be leading book discussions at RHPL and a discussion of Alcott’s work as a social reformer at an event at OU.”

One of the highlighted portions of the series is the documentary film titled “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women” and co-produced by Nancy Porter. Porter will be participating in a discussion on Oct. 19 after a screening of her film.

“It’s a great movie and it’s especially cool to get to meet and talk with an award-winning director,” Insko said.

In addition to the grant for the event, the program also has had support from OU’s College of Arts and Science, the Department of English, Department of Cinema Studies, American Studies and Women and Gender Studies.

Kyle Edward, the director for cinema studies, said that his department served as a co-sponsor for the series. He believes this series will be a good opportunity for students interested in filmmaking and literature.

“OU students will have the rare opportunity to meet a successful filmmaker and, in the process, learn about the life and works of Louisa May Alcott,” Edwards said. “This is an event that should appeal to all OU students, especially those with an interest in American literature and documentary cinema.”

Louisa May Alcott: The Women Behind Little Women continues through Nov. 30. The events are open to everyone, but some require registration. To register, visit rhpl.org/events/lma