Joan Diver will be at the South End library on Tuesday, January 15 at 6:30 PM to talk about her debut memoir, When Spirit Calls: A Healing Odyssey. It describes the voyage by Diver, a former South End resident, from nationally recognized foundation executive and social-justice advocate to spiritual healer through times of family crisis and confrontation with the challenges of urban life, while managing intense physical pain resulting from back injuries and, finally, her spiritual awakening after exploring healing traditions in East and West.
Diver and her husband, Colin, lived a few steps from the South End library on West Newton Street in Boston in the 1970s and 1980s when gentrification and the busing crisis made a roller-coaster out of the daily lives of many Bostonians. Struggling to raise their family in the South End and navigating the school system, the Divers finally moved with their children to suburban Newton to provide a better education for their children than seemed possible in Boston at the time. “You’ve heard the expression, ‘A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged,’ ” Colin Diver told Yvonne Abraham in an interview with the Boston Globe in 2014. “I guess I was thinking, ‘A suburbanite is an urbanite who has had his kid’s reading scores decline.’ ”
The Divers agreed to be one of the three families profiled by J. Anthony Lukas for what became his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Common Ground, which chronicled the heart-wrenching changes resulting from court-ordered busing. After the Divers left the South End, Joan Diver became the executive director of Boston’s Hyams Foundation. Colin Diver was appointed dean of Penn Law School in Philadelphia and, subsequently, became president of Reed College, in Portland, OR. The Divers returned to Boston in 2012 when Colin retired, and currently live in the Back Bay.
The event is free. Seating is limited.