Common Reader tour to visit seven CMC campuses. Authors Schantz, Harding to give free presentations

Sarah Elizabeth Schantz is the author of “Fig,” Colorado Mountain College’s Common Reader and a national award-winning novel about a daughter coping with her mother’s mental illness. Schantz and CMC faculty Kimberly Harding, who wrote an accompanying workbook, will give free presentations at seven CMC locations during October.
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If You Go …

What: Author talks by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz, author of “Fig,” and CMC faculty Kimberly Harding, author of a workbook, “Ascend and Transcend.”

Where: Seven Colorado Mountain College campuses.


• Oct. 16, 7 p.m.: Breckenridge

• Oct. 17, 7 p.m.: Leadville

• Oct. 18, 7 p.m.: Steamboat Springs

• Oct. 23, 7 p.m.: Rifle

• Oct. 24, 10 a.m.: Aspen

• Oct. 24, 7 p.m.: Morgridge Commons in downtown Glenwood Springs

• Oct. 25, 7 p.m.: Vail Valley in Edwards

Cost: Free

Information: For more information on the Common Reader program, go to or call 800-621-8559. Copies of “Fig” and the “Ascend and Transcend” workbook are available at the front desks at CMC Breckenridge, Rifle, Vail Valley at Edwards, Leadville and Aspen; at CMC campus libraries at Spring Valley and Steamboat Springs; Garfield County libraries; and through CMC’s virtual library.

Sarah Elizabeth Schantz, author of “Fig,” a 2015 National Public Radio Best Book selection, and Colorado Mountain College faculty Kimberly Harding, author of a workbook, “Ascend and Transcend,” will give free presentations at seven CMC campuses through October.

Schantz’s book won the 2016 Colorado Book Award in the young adult category. It tells the story of Fig, and her often-painful struggles with her mother’s mental illness and the lengths to which she must go to handle the ordeals — real and imagined — thrown her way.

Harding’s accompanying workbook is among the initiatives funded by a multiyear grant from the Colorado Health Foundation. The foundation focuses on services and support for students in areas of mental health and disability services. The workbook is a hands-on tool designed to explore “Fig” at a deeper level, as well as to facilitate personal growth and success.

Harding will moderate the presentations, based on the workbook, with insights from Schantz. Support services from the college or local agencies will also be at each presentation.

According to “A Strategic Primer on College Student Mental Health,” by Louise A. Douce and Richard P. Keeling, “about 70 percent of the students who use counseling services at their college or university report that their personal problems have had an impact on their academic performance, and 20 percent have considered withdrawing from school because of those problems.”

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“We applied for this Colorado Health Foundation grant because we recognize that mental health and mental illness are critically important to our students, employees and communities,” said Lisa Doak, assistant vice president of student services at the college. “CMC contracts with local mental health agencies to provide support to our students and employees, but we want to do more. Opening that discussion is one reason our Common Reader committee chose this book last spring.”

Schantz is primarily a fiction writer living near Boulder. She teaches creative writing at Front Range Community College. Her short stories, lyric essays and poetry have been published in literary journals such as “The Los Angeles Review,” “Hunger Mountain” and “Third Coast,” among others.

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