Author, NASA Engineer Homer Hickam to Speak on St. John

The Friends of the Elaine I. Sprauve Library invite you to its speaker’s series with author and NASA engineer Homer Hickam on Friday, December 7, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the library. Copies of Hickam’s books will be available for signing and purchase.

Hickam has been a writer since 1969, when he returned from serving in Vietnam with the U.S. Army. At first, he mostly wrote about his scuba diving adventures for a variety of magazines. Then, after diving on many of the wrecks involved, he branched off into writing about the battle against the U-boats along the American east coast during World War II. This resulted in his first book, Torpedo Junction, a military best-seller published in 1989 by the Naval Institute Press.

In 1998, Delacorte Press published Hickam’s second book, Rocket Boys: A Memoir, the story of his life in the little town of Coalwood, West Virginia. It became an instant classic, and in February 1999, Universal Studios released its critically-acclaimed film October Sky, based on Rocket Boys. Hickam’s latest work is The Ambassador’s Son, published in 2005 by St. Martin’s Press. It is the second of his series of popular novels about Josh Thurlow, a Coast Guard officer during World War II. The series began with The Keeper’s Son in 2003, and will continue with The Far Reaches in 2007.

In 1984, Hickam was presented with Alabama’s Distinguished Service Award for heroism shown during a rescue effort of the crew and passengers of a sunken paddleboat in the Tennessee River. Because of this award, Hickam was honored in 1996 by the United States Olympic Committee to carry the Olympic Torch through Huntsville, Alabama, on its way to Atlanta. In 1999, the governor of West Virginia issued a proclamation in honor of Hickam for his support of his home state and his distinguished career as both an engineer and author and declared an annual “Rocket Boys Day.”

Hickam and his wife, Linda Terry Hickam, split their time between homes in Alabama and St. John.


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