Shauna Niequist Shares Community with Students

by April Overholt '11

On Friday, September 17, LAPC housed a women-only luncheon honoring Shauna Niequist, guest chapel speaker and author of the acclaimed book, Cold Tangerines. Niequist is currently on a book tour promoting her new book Bittersweet, released August 2010.

A collection of memoir essays similar to those in Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet is the second in a three-book set. Cold Tangerines focuses on the celebration of life and its everyday blessings. The second book, on the other hand, explores many of the challenges in Niequist’s own life, thereby aiming to touch and encourage readers who may be struggling in their journeys.

“The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and reweaving the way I understand life,” Niequist elaborates in the book. “Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness.”

Junior communications major Stacie Homeyer attended the luncheon to experience community with other readers who have been moved by Niequist's inspirations. “We’re all working towards celebrating together, whether it’s bittersweet or beautiful,” she said. “It’s important to do that in a fellowship with women, and many of us shared that today.”

Friday’s luncheon allowed readers to ask questions and share their own stories in person with a writer who has inspired them. Throughout the question and answer period, many women relayed intimate lessons Niequist’s words have taught them. Aspiring writers seized the opportunity to inquire about writing and publishing from an established and successful author.

“Live as simply and nimbly as you can to allow the creativity in your life now,” Niequist advised. On beginning the process of getting published, she implored simply, “Do it now.” She claims that getting your writing out there in any way possible is essential. Writing festivals, publishing your work for free, and even keeping up with a personal blog accessible to potential publishers are all excellent ways to get noticed.

Homeyer valued the practical advice from one of her role models. “I want to be a writer. I relate to Niequist’s writing style, and I aspire to live my life the way she does,” she said.

Niequist aims to release her last book of essays, Bread and Wine, early next year. She hinted that the memoir will examine the faith journey through the lens of communion—and readers can look forward to something different following this series.

For more information on Shauna Niequist, visit her website at