Best-selling author Lamb to headline Feb. 29 conference at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee

Focus of event will be self-care in stressful environments

Wally Lamb. Photo courtesy of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee

Best-selling author Wally Lamb will headline the Feb. 29 Duvall Family Studies Conference, whose theme will be Hidden Heroes: Helping Helpers Get from Empty to Plenty, at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, the university has announced.

The event is planned from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the campus’ Selby Auditorium, which is located at 8350 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, a news release says.

“The annual conference showcases clinical work and research with an emphasis on self-care in stressful environments,” the release explains.

Lamb will address attendees at 9 a.m., the release adds. A separate, catered reception and book-signing event with the author has been scheduled after the conference; it will be held in the courtyard outside the auditorium, the release notes.

For more information about conference, including attendance and reception fees, visit

“In my two decades as a prison writing teacher, I experienced the joys and challenges of helping incarcerated women find their voices, explore their truths and become published writers,” said Lamb in the release. “Why, then, in my 20th year of volunteering, did I burn out and resign my position? With conference attendees, I’ll explore the emotional highs and lows of volunteering at a maximum security prison,” he added in the release.

Lamb, who frequently lectures at colleges and universities, is the author of six New York Times best-selling novels: I’ll Take You ThereWe Are WaterWishin’ and Hopin’, The Hour I First BelievedI Know This Much is True and She’s Come Undone, the release continues. His work twice has been selected for Oprah’s Book Club, the release adds.

He has said of his fiction, “Although my characters’ lives don’t much resemble my own, what we share is that we are imperfect people seeking to become better people. I write fiction so that I can move beyond the boundaries and limitations of my own experiences and better understand the lives of others. That’s also why I teach. As challenging as it sometimes is to balance the two vocations, writing and teaching are, for me, intertwined.”

The event will mark the 10th anniversary of the Duvall Family Studies Conference, named for American author and teacher Evelyn Millis Duvall (1909-1998), whose work focused primarily on marriage, parenting and family life, the release explains.

Duvall directed the Association for Family Living (1940-1945), served as executive secretary of the National Council on Family Relations (1945-1951), and was program director for the Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning, the release adds.

The conference provides four continuing education units to Florida Section 591 mental health professionals at no additional charge, the release notes.

To register, or for more information, including conference fees, visit