Burning Coal Theatre's Lobby Lectures Series Continues with Churchill Biographer Paul Reid Tonight

Paul Reid, author of the just released conclusion to "The Last Lion" trilogy begun by William Manchester, will speak at Burning Coal Theatre Company tonight, January 31st at 6 pm.

Tickets are $10 or free with anyone holding a ticket to that night's performance of Burning Coal Theatre Company's Good by CP Taylor. The lecture will last about 50 minutes and will be held at Burning Coal's Murphey School auditorium, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh, NC. Tickets are available for the lecture at the door. More information may be obtained by calling 919-834-4001 or visiting us online at www.burningcoal.org.

After stints in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a worker in a cat-food factory, blue-grass guitarist, cab driver, bartender, and counselor at a home for emotionally disturbed children, Paul Reid and his brother bought a small steam-valve manufacturing business in Newtonville, Mass. In the early 1990s, after selling his share of the company, Reid began writing political commentary for local Massachusetts newspapers, which led to a regular op-ed column at the Boston Globe. As a free-lance writer he covered the Yugoslav civil war, narco-terrorism in Colombia, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. He graduated from Harvard University Extension School in 1990 with a bachelor of Liberal Arts cum laude. In 1996 Reid joined The Palm Beach Post, a Cox newspaper, as a features writer.

Reid was named 1998 Cox Newspapers writer of the year and won the 1998 Paul Hansell award, given by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, for reporting and writing. In 2003 he was embedded with United States Marines at the start of the Iraq War. In 2004 he left the Post to complete THE LAST LION: Defender of the Realm.

Paul lives in western North Carolina.

A popular novelist, historian, and biographer who, according to the New York Times, "used his novelist's eye to fashion meticulously researched portraits of power," William Manchester (1922-2004) was also the adjunct professor of history and writer-in-residence at Wesleyan University. "Power is the one thing that has fascinated me ever since I was a kid in Springfield, Mass.," he told People magazine. "What exactly is power? Where are its roots? How do some people get it and others miss it entirely? How do they hold it or lose it?"

Manchester's attention to detail was what made his works so successful. Many of his eighteen books of fiction and nonfiction were bestsellers, including The Arms of Krupp (about the German family that fed the Nazi War Machine), American Caesar (his biography of Gen. Douglas MacArthur), The Death of a President (on the assassination of John F. Kennedy), Goodbye Darkness (his memoir of his World War II experiences as a Marine in the Pacific), A World Lit Only by Fire (an exploration of the sordidness and the splendor of the Middle Ages), and the first two volumes of his Winston Churchill trilogy, The Last Lion. The final volume was published by Little, Brown on November 6, 2012 and written by Manchester and Paul Reid.

Manchester was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, in 1922, and he joined the Marines in 1942. For wounds received on Okinawa, he was given the Purple Heart. After the war, he graduated first in his class from the University of Massachusetts, and received a master's degree from the University of Missouri. Manchester's thesis was on H. L. Mencken, and it became the basis of his first biography, Disturber of the Peace, published while he was a local reporter and foreign correspondent for the Baltimore Sun.

Manchester received the Prix Dag Hammarskjöld du mérite littéraire, James L. McConaughy Jr. Memorial Award for distinguished writing, the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award, the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence, and the National Humanities Medal for his distinguished career.

With each of its mainstage productions, Burning Coal presents a speaker or other presenter on a topic related to the production currently running at Burning Coal. Sometimes the topic is the play itself, sometimes it relates to the author, sometimes it deals with an issue about which the play is concerned. Past Lobby Lectures have includes Gerald Freedman, original director of Hair (at our 2009 production of Hair), a gospel choir (at our 2010 production of Crowns) and the author of several books on Poker (at our 2010 production of The Seafarer).

For further information about the Lobby Lecture series or about Burning Coal Theatre Company, please contact managing director Simmie Kastner at 919.834.4001 or visit online at www.burningcoal.org.

Burning Coal Theatre Company is one of Raleigh's intimate, professional theatres. Burning Coal is an incorporated, non-profit [501 (c) (3)] organization. Burning Coal's mission is to produce literate, visceral, affecting theatre that is experienced, not simply seen. Burning Coal produces explosive reexaminations of overlooked classic and modern plays, as well as new plays, whose themes and issues are of immediate concern to our audience, using the best local, national and International Artists available. We work toward a theatre of high-energy performances and minimalist production values. The emphasis is on literate works that are felt and experienced viscerally, unlike more traditional linear plays, at which audiences are most often asked to observe without participating. Race and gender non-specific casting is an integral component of our perspective, as well as an international viewpoint.

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