Best-selling author Cheryl Strayed will give a free talk this Thursday, Mar. 12, at 7 p.m. in the BTC Auditorium. Strayed’s 2012 memoir “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” was adapted into the film “Wild,” released this past December. Strayed wrote The Rumpus’s “Dear Sugar” advice column from 2010 to 2012, and her first novel, “Torch,” was released in 2006 to critical acclaim. She currently cohosts the podcast “Dear Sugar Radio.”
Debby Gardner, a member of Hudson Valley’s communications and marketing staff, said, “We’ve had really big programs before. But I don’t think we’ve had a big name that we didn’t charge for.”
Gardner said that the college plans to make use of the meeting rooms near the BTC Auditorium in case of overflow. “We have almost 400 seats, so everyone will have a seat,” she said. “If we have over 240 [attendees], not everyone will be able to be in the auditorium.”
Doors for the talk will open at 6:15 p.m. Gardner said that the college will hand out 240 tickets on a first-come, first-served basis, and that if all these tickets are distributed, “We’ll switch to tickets for the meeting rooms,” which are a different color.
Gardner wasn’t sure how many people would attend the talk, which is open to the public. She said, “It’s been out there. We did do some paid advertising in Metroland.”
Gardner also said that the Albany Times Union recently conducted a Q&A with Strayed and would publish the resulting piece on Sunday, Mar. 8. “Probably my phone will start to ring on Monday [Mar. 9],” she said. “We’ll see what happens on Monday when I come in.”
Gardner said that the college plans to start handing out tickets at 5 p.m. Thursday. “We don’t know what time people are going to start to line up, but we’re going to set up some rope and stanchions. … I just want people to be happy and not frustrated,” she said.
Garder said that Maria Zemantauski, Hudson Valley’s coordinator of cultural affairs, had booked Strayed’s appearance. Zemantauski usually schedules people a semester or so in advance. Of Strayed’s talk, Gardner said, “It took a little bit of time, because there’s a contract and stuff. But I think it was firmed up before the end of the year.”
Gardner said that the timing of Strayed’s appearance at Hudson Valley was both very topical and lucky, coming as it does on the heels of the movie release and the Oscar buzz for “Wild” (Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern were both nominated for Academy Awards for their roles in the movie).
Gardner was optimistic about the event, saying, “It’s going to be a good crowd.”