New York Times best selling author Ira Wagler to speak at VU

New York Times best selling author Ira Wagler to speak at VU

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April 02, 2018

April 2, 2018 / New York Times best selling author Ira Wagler to speak at VU

VINCENNES, Ind. - Ira Wagler, author of The New York Times bester seller “Growing Up Amish: A Memoir” (Tyndale House Publishers, 2011), will be featured in two presentations offered through the Vincennes University Humanities Films and Lecture Series. The Series is sponsored by the VU College of Humanities. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Wagler’s first presentation, on April 2 at 3 p.m. (EDT), will offer a glimpse into his writing process. The session will take place at the Shircliff Humanities Center, Room 229, 130 E. Harrison St.

On April 3, Wagler will discuss his personal experiences of ‘growing up Amish’ in two sessions - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. - at VU’s Shircliff Auditorium, also located in the Shircliff Humanities Center.

Also on April 3, the Humanities Films and Lecture Series will offer a screening of the documentary “Devil’s Playground,” which explores the role of Rumspringa in the Amish community. Rumspringa is a rite of passage that takes place during adolescence and ends when a youth chooses either to leave the community or to be baptized within the Amish church. The screening will take place at Jefferson Union, 1379 N. Chestnut St.


Ira Wagler describes his memoir - “Growing Up Amish: A Memoir” (Tyndale House Publishers, 2011) - as a “journey at its core no different than many coming-of-age journeys.” Inspired by his favorite writer, Thomas Wolfe, Wagler’s book is a true story of self-discovery and seeking where he belongs. The epilogue to his book concludes, “I have no regrets for the road I chose. And I rarely wonder how life would have been on the road not taken.”

Born in 1961 in the small Old Order Amish community of Aylmer, Ontario, Wagler’s book creates a vivid portrait of Amish life from childhood to his decision to leave the Amish community for good at age 26. In between, beginning at age 17, Ira left and then returned to the community numerous times over five years, torn between his heritage and the freedom and possibilities of the outside world. The book describes a difficult path with “years of turmoil, rage, and anguish.” The 9th child out of 11 children, Wagler dedicated his book to his mother, Ida Mae, who “never wavered in her deep love for all her children, even - and maybe especially - for her wayward sons.”

Wagler is a 1991 Vincennes University alumnus who holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Bob Jones University (1993) and a law degree from Dickinson School of Law (1997). VU awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in 2012.


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