The Literacy Project of Eagle County brings best-selling author to Vail

Mark Sullivan, New York Times Best Selling Author hosts Annual Luncheon at Donovan Pavilion

Special to the Daily
Mark Sullivan
Courtesy photo
IF YOU GO... What: Literacy Project of Eagle County's Annual Luncheon When: Tuesday, June 21 from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Where: Donovan Pavilion in Vail More info:

Attendees at the 19th annual Literacy Project Luncheon on June 21 will be entertained with captivating excerpts from “The Last Green Valley,” Mark Sullivan’s newest historical novel, based on the untold true story of the Martels, a Ukrainian family who fled Europe during Stalin and Hitler’s terrorizing reigns and began a long, arduous migration west to freedom in Montana. This extraordinary exodus saga is as powerful and memorable as his runaway bestselling historical novel debut.

“I am honored to return to the Vail Valley to host The Literacy Project of Eagle County’s Annual Luncheon to share the emotions of The Last Green Valley, Sullivan said. “This story taught me the power of fighting to keep control of your emotions instead of panicking in the face of calamity, chaos, or tragedy. In many ways, the themes in this story relate to the challenges experienced by the students of The Literacy Project. I deeply believe in the mission of The Literacy Project and look forward to supporting the effort to fully fund their important programming at this year’s luncheon.”

Sullivan is the acclaimed author of eighteen novels, including the #1 New York Times bestselling “Private” series, which he writes with James Patterson. In 2017, Sullivan delivered one of the most talked-about — and adored — books in recent memory with “Beneath a Scarlet Sky,” firmly placing him on the path to becoming one of the biggest names in historical fiction. The No. 1 bestselling phenomenon received tens of thousands of reader reviews, nearly a quarter of a million positive ratings, and a major television deal with Pascal Pictures with Tom Holland attached to star. Following the breakout success of “Beneath a Scarlet Sky,” Sullivan was told he’d never find an untold World War II story as compelling as Pino Lella’s, the hero and real-life inspiration for the novel. While he felt confident he would, he certainly did not expect to uncover the basis for his next novel in the same town where he’d first heard Pino’s story just over a decade before. But, that is exactly what happened with “The Last Green Valley.”

“We are honored to welcome author Mark Sullivan back to the Vail Valley, to share an excerpt from ‘The Last Green Valley,’ and to host our Annual Luncheon for the second time. This event is a key success factor in equipping us to provide the important programs that bridge the literacy gap in Eagle County,” said Colleen Gray, Executive Director of The Literacy Project. “From Reading Buddies to Raising a Reader, none of our annual programming would be possible without the generous support of our Annual Luncheon sponsors, benefactors, donors and volunteers.”

The Literacy Project of Eagle County’s annual luncheon is on Tuesday, June 21.
Olga Barron/Courtesy photo

Why does this luncheon matter? The extent to which a child can read and write proficiently by the end of third grade will set the pace for his/her future academic achievement and success. Low literacy rates directly correlate to poverty, a lower quality of life and fewer employment opportunities. Students of color and those eligible for free-and-reduced cost lunch perform at a lower level than their peers. Although any child who cannot read is at-risk, The Literacy Project targets underperforming students where the need for no cost, after-school tutoring is greatest.

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Equally as important are the adult literacy programs offered by The Literacy Project. In Colorado over 300,000 adults do not have a high school credential, with 41 percent of those individuals having less than a 9th grade level of education. Of these individuals, 24 percent of them live below the poverty line. According to the 2020-21 Colorado Department of Education Adult Education Initiatives, 74 percent of all jobs in Colorado will require some level of post-secondary education or training by the year 2023, well exceeding the national average. As a critical partner in Colorado’s workforce system, The Literacy Project is committed to providing services that will increase access to meaningful employment, helping to break cycles of poverty and building stronger communities within Eagle County.

If these statistics seem staggering, there are many ways for you to get involved. Buy a ticket to the Annual Luncheon on Tuesday, June 21, from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Donovan Pavilion in Vail, where your afternoon will be equally as enjoyable as it is impactful. Treasured by reading enthusiasts and philanthropists alike, attending this event is an easy way to take the first step in helping your community members achieve new hope through literacy. Almost certain to sell out, limited tickets are currently available online at

If you can’t make the luncheon but want to help, you can donate online or volunteer with The Literacy Project. Or simply start by following The Literacy Project on Facebook or Instagram to stay informed about news, events and volunteer opportunities.

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