Author to share ‘Survival Lessons’ at Words Alive luncheon in La Jolla

By Ashley Mackin

Alice Hoffman, author of “Survival Lessons” (among many other novels, short fiction pieces and children’s books) will be keynote speaker at the Words Alive Luncheon, noon, Nov. 12 at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, 10950 North Torrey Pines Road.

Though less than 100 pages, “Survival Lessons” is filled with insights learned from Hoffman’s battle with breast cancer ... and so much more.

“ ‘Survival Lessons’ deals with trauma in general and examines ways to find beauty in the world even in the darkest times,” Hoffman said. “When terrible things happen most of us feel like victims, but even if we can’t change the circumstances — an illness or a loss — we can choose to change the way we react and respond.”

Each chapter starts with a suggested choice — “Choose your heroes,” “Choose to enjoy yourself” and “Choose to share.”

Hoffman’s works regularly earn acclaim, “Here On Earth,” was included in Oprah’s Book Club, and “Practical Magic” was adapted into a film of the same name starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.

A fiction writer, Hoffman said she never felt the need to write nonfiction until she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998; she couldn’t find a book that spoke to her, so she wrote one.

“Books were my life raft,” she said. “A big part of survivorship for me is being a reader and a writer.” Hoffman beat cancer and has a clean bill of health today.

Patrick Stewart, executive director of Words Alive, said he is delighted to welcome Hoffman to the event.

“She is one of America’s most prolific authors, and many of our audience members can resonate with the works she’s created,” he said. “She represents longevity and talent, and we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of the luncheon and 15th year in existence.”

Words Alive, through various countywide programs, focuses on literacy in San Diego. In its Early Literacy Intervention program, for example, trained volunteers read to preschoolers from low-income communities. Words Alive also hosts Family Literacy Workshops that teach parents ways to make family reading time fun for everyone.

Hoffman said her author’s advance from “Survival Lessons” would be donated to the Hoffman Breast Cancer Center at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass.

If you go

■ What: Words Alive Authors Luncheon

■ When: 10 a.m. to noon boutique shopping; Noon, lunch and program, Tuesday, Nov. 12

■ Where: Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, 10950 North Torrey Pines Road

■ Emcee: Martha Barnette of Public Radio’s ‘A Way with Words’

■ Tickets: $100 (plus copy of ‘Survival Lessons’) at

(858) 274-9673