LEFT COAST WRITERS BOOK PARTY: Joanna Biggar, Author of That Paris Year Saturday, March 12, 2011 || 7pm Book Passage-Corte Madera || 51 Tamal Vista Dr. Corte Madera || www.bookpassage.com Spring travel is already in the air! Allow yourself to be carried away to Paris by Joanna Biggar. We’ll supply the wine and snacks. Who has not dreamed of escaping to Paris? When wildfire ravished the landscape of Los Angeles, five young co-eds, house-mates in the rundown Maison Française, found the freedom to pursue that dream. They set sail on a rusty boat in the summer of 1962 determined to enroll in the Sorbonne. It was as if Mary McCarthy’s “Group” had landed on a mystifying Left Bank, exotic and compelling as Durrell’s Alexandria. What they lost was more than their virginity, their bad American accents, and their beloved clichés about “meaning”; what they gained, as they traded notes, clothes, dreams, loves and identities was the gift of geography — the tectonic shift that occurs upon discovering that place, native or adopted, is an integral part of who we are. Joanna Biggar turned twenty in Paris, where she was a student at the Sorbonne, and went on to earn degrees in Chinese language and French literature. Since then she has chaired a school board in Ghana, traveled solo to remote regions of China, worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and taught inner-city school students in Oakland, California, where she lives. She is married, has five adult children and six grandchildren, who love books. A member of the Society of Woman Geographers, her special places of the heart remain France and the California coast.