Lynne Truss Wows Waco

Approximately 1,000 people attended the fourth annual Ferguson-Clark lecture on Nov. 3 in Waco Hall. This year's featured author was Lynne Truss, who wrote the international best-seller, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

"Although the final figures are not in, it appears that $10,000 was raised for the renovation of the Crouch Fine Arts Library Media Center. All 250 of the Apostrophe Protection Society T-shirts were also sold," said Mary Goolsby, library advancement coordinator.

"With equipment that needs updating and furniture than is vintage 1968, we'd like to improve the heavily used area of Crouch fine arts library so it can be a destination for studying, listening to operas, researching sculpture or preparing for a music appreciation exam," said John Wilson, director of library advancement. "The amount raised by this event will give us the opportunity to provide a state-of-the-art media center for our students."

The book title was based on a joke about a panda walking into a café, ordering a sandwich, eating it, then drawing a gun and firing it into the air. When the waiter asks "why," the panda gives him a badly punctuated wildlife manual which notes that a panda "eats, shoots and leaves." Lynne's point: incorrect punctuation can completely change meanings and "it really does matter."

Continuing with the panda theme, a Baylor student in a panda costume greeted guests at the Nov. 3 lecture. "Panda" also visited around campus the day before and even had a brief meeting with "Bruiser" in the Student Center.

Choosing the rallying cry, "Sticklers unite!" Truss thought she was writing a book for a small minority of British people who love punctuation. Little did she or her publisher know that Eats, Shoots & Leaves would climb to No. 1 on Britain's best-seller list and win book of the year at the 2004 British Book Awards. After its American printing, Eats, Shoots and Leaves rose to No. 1 on the New York Times' list and remained on the list for 45 weeks. It has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.

A writer and journalist who started out as a literary editor, Truss wrote three novels and numerous radio comedy dramas before taking on the challenge of a book about punctuation.

She spent six years as the television critic and four years as a sports columnist for The Times of London. She won columnist of the year for her work in Woman's Journal. A familiar voice on the BBC's Radio 4, Truss also hosted Cutting a Dash, a popular series about punctuation.

Her latest book, Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door, is now available.

Baylor alumnus Collen A. Clark established the lecture series endowment in honor of his mother, Carla Sue Ferguson Garrett, a Baylor alumna and a member of the libraries’ Board of Advisors.

For more information contact Mary Goolsby at 254-710-6735.


Managing Editors
Collen Clark
Central National Bank
Waco Tribune-Herald

Copy Editors
Ted and Sue Getterman
Bill and Kathy Wardlaw
Baylor Department of Journalism
Community Bank & Trust
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Waco Hilton