It was 6:45 p.m., and a gentleman came over the microphone to break the news everyone feared.
“Folks, I’m sorry. But it’s going to be standing room only.”
The SMU Authors Live lecture featuring Jodi Picoult drew a crowd overflowing the Hughes-Trigg Theater. People continued to pour in nearly ten minutes after Picoult’s lecture on her new novel, Leaving Time.
The crowd’s attention was not on her book, however. It was on the misprint in The Dallas Morning News about the location of Picoult’s lecture.
Usually, authors’ live lectures are held at the Highland Park United Methodist Church. Picoult’s was not.
Pressure from Highland Park parents led to the removal of Picoult’s novel, Nineteen Minutes, from Highland Park schools. The lecture was not held at Highland Park United Methodist Church because of the book’s ban. However, The Dallas Morning News printed that it would still be held there.
Since the theater holds less people, attendees struggled to find seats. Some resorted to sitting in the aisles or standing outside the theater to listen to the lecture. One woman, who was forced to stand, pointed out with disgust that too many people in one room would be a fire hazard.
The tension in the room subsided when Picoult hit the stage. People forgot about the stifling heat and how hard they were sweating in the overcrowded theater. Picoult entertained the crowd with a passage reading from her novel and facts about elephants.