Northwest author Diane Hammond poses this question in her bestselling novel, HANNAH'S DREAM, the charming and captivating story of an aging caretaker and his beloved elephant. The author brings her story to Seaside on April 4th when she will autograph copies of her book during First Saturday Art Walk at Tenth Muse Books.

Following the signing, the author will give a multi-media presentation where she will read excerpts from her novel as well as discuss the hot-button issues surrounding appropriate captivity for some of the world's largest, most charismatic mammals. Diane will talk about the love affair between zoo keepers and the animals in their care, and how she turned her own life-changing experience with Keiko, the famous killer whale who was rehabilitated in Newport, into her third and bestselling novel about a captive Asian elephant and the people who love her. Diane's presentation will include slides and video of some touching elephant stories as well as "Free Willy" star, Keiko. The event is free and open to the public.

Diane Hammond's latest book, HANNAH'S DREAM (Harper, 2008, ISBN-13: 9780061568251), is a charming and captivating story of an aging caretaker and his beloved elephant. In the tradition of Water for Elephants and Modoc, Hammond brings her "clean prose, pitch-perfect dialogue, and keen eye for social detail" (Boston Globe) to the page once again in an honest and emotional new novel.

Should killer whales, elephants, and other members of the world's largest mammal species be held in captivity? If so, do today's zoos, animal parks and sanctuaries meet the unique needs of these so-called charismatic mega-vertebrates? Hammond offers an exciting and thought provoking multi-media presentation about the hot-button issues surrounding appropriate captivity for some of the world's largest, most charismatic mammals. She will also talk about the love affair between zoo keepers and the animals in their care, and how she turned her own life-changing experience with Keiko, the killer whale star of the movie Free Willy, into her third and bestselling novel, HANNAH's DREAM, about a captive Asian elephant and the people who love her.

"Irresistibly touching, delectably uplifting, Hammond's understated yet gargantuan tale of devotion and commitment poignantly proves that love does indeed come in all shapes and sizes."

- Booklist (starred review)

"Sweet . . .[T]he moments of genuine emotion will charm readers in search of a happy ending."

- Publishers Weekly

For 41 years, Samson Brown has been taking care of Hannah, the lone elephant at the dilapidated Max L. Biedelman Zoo. He has vowed that he will not retire until he has found someone who will care for Hannah with equal devotion. When the zoo hires smart and sharp Neva Wilson to be the new elephant keeper, Sam thinks he's finally found an appropriate guardian. But Neva, who has worked with elephants for years, quickly understands what Sam already knows: Hannah's feet are ruined from standing on hard concrete all day and she needs the company of other elephants. Neva forms a plan to send Hannah to an elephant sanctuary - only to discover that the zoo's angry and unhappy director, Harriet Saul, has a scheme of her own: to launch an aggressive revitalization campaign, using Hannah as the star attraction. Soon, everyone surrounding Hannah - not only Sam, Neva and Harriet Saul, but also mild-mannered business manager Truman Levy, his quiet son Winslow, and ambitious beat reporter Martin Choi - will become inextricably intertwined with Hannah's future and the fate of the zoo.

Brimming with vivid and quirky characters and beautiful writing, HANNAH'S DREAM will remind readers why The Seattle Times raved that "Hammond's language is spare and beautiful" and Kirkus Reviews called Hammond's debut, Going to Bend "exceptional. . . refreshingly unsentimental . . .moving and deftly told." But HANNAH'S DREAM also sheds light on a very real, very troubling issue: that of our human ability to properly care for our elephant friends - whether it be in zoos, in sanctuaries, or in the wild. Provocative, thoughtful, and skillfully done, HANNAH'S DREAM is a novel that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.

About the Author

Diane Hammond is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Going to Bend and Homesick Creek. She has worked as both a writer and an editor, and is the recipient of an Oregon Arts Commission literary fellowship. She served as a spokesperson for the Free Willy Keiko Foundation and the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and currently lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband and daughter.

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