NEPA Scene Staff

Bestselling author Mitch Albom speaks and signs books at Theater at North in Scranton on Nov. 12

Bestselling author Mitch Albom speaks and signs books at Theater at North in Scranton on Nov. 12
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From a press release:

Hospice of the Sacred Heart will present an evening with bestselling author and sports journalist Mitch Albom at The Theater at North in Scranton. The speaking event and book signing will be held on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.

Albom’s books have sold over 39 million copies and have been translated into over 45 languages. The author, philanthropist, columnist, and reporter is best known for his books “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” though he is also well-known for his writings about hope and kindness, which are themes that weave through his books, plays, and films.

In his talks and presentations, Albom brings the same inspiring messages of community building, giving, and purpose. Albom has founded 10 charities, is a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, and is the author of eight bestselling books, with five debuting at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller List.

His new bestseller, “Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family,” is the true story of Chika, a young Haitian orphan whose short life would forever change Albom’s heart. Books will be available for sale after Albom’s speech. A book signing will follow.

This special event is presented by Hospice of the Sacred Heart, a not-for-profit, free-standing hospice program serving Northeastern Pennsylvania since 2004. To date, Hospice has provided care to over 14,000 patients.

Doors at The Theater at North (1539 N. Main Ave., Scranton) open at 6:30 p.m., and the all-ages event begins at 7 p.m.

Tickets, which are $55, can be purchased in advance via Eventbrite and, in person at the box office (Mondays 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Thursdays 3 p.m.-6 p.m., and Fridays 11 a.m.-1 p.m.), and on the night of the event at 5 p.m.

Mitch Albom was born on May 23, 1958 in Passaic, New Jersey, the middle of three children to Rhoda and Ira Albom. The family moved to the Buffalo, New York area briefly before settling in Oaklyn, New Jersey, not far from Philadelphia. He grew up wanting to be a cartoonist before switching to music. He taught himself to play piano and played in bands, including the Lucky Tiger Grease Stick Band, throughout his adolescence. After attending high schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, he left for college after his junior year. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1979 at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, majoring in sociology, but stayed true to his dream of a life in music and, upon graduation, he worked for several years as a performer, both in Europe and America. One of his engagements during this time included a taverna on the Greek island of Crete, in which he was a featured American performer who sang Elvis Presley and Ray Charles songs. He also wrote and produced the recording of several songs.

In his early 20s, while living in New York, he took an interest in journalism and volunteered to work for a local weekly paper, the Queens Tribune. He eventually returned to graduate school, earning a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, followed by an MBA from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. During this time, he paid his tuition partly through work as a piano player.

Albom eventually turned full-time to his writing, working as a freelance sports journalist in New York for publications such as Sports Illustrated, GEO, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. His first full-time newspaper job was as a feature writer and eventual sports columnist for the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun Sentinel in Florida. He moved to Detroit in 1985, where he became a nationally-acclaimed sports journalist at the Detroit Free Press and one of the best-known media figures in that city’s history, working in newspapers, radio, and television. He currently hosts a daily talk show on WJR radio and appears regularly on ESPN’s “Sports Reporters” and “SportsCenter.”

In 1995, he married Janine Sabino. That same year, he re-encountered Morrie Schwartz, a former college professor who was dying of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. His visits with Schwartz would lead to the book “Tuesdays with Morrie,” which moved Albom away from sports and began his career as an internationally recognized author.

“Tuesdays with Morrie” is the chronicle of Albom’s time spent with his beloved professor. As a labor of love, he wrote the book to help pay Morrie’s medical bills. It spent four years on the New York Times Best Seller list and is now the most successful memoir ever published. His first novel, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” is the most successful U.S. hardcover first adult novel ever. “For One More Day” debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller List and spent nine months on the list. In October of 2006, “For One More Day” was the first book chosen by Starbucks in the newly launched Book Break Program, which also helped fight illiteracy by donating one dollar from every book sold to Jumpstart.

“Have a Little Faith” was released in September of 2009 and selected by as the best nonfiction book of 2009. His following titles, “The Time Keeper” and “The First Phone Call from Heaven,” both debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller List. Bestselling “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” (2015) was the first book to be published in tandem with a soundtrack of original songs and covers, released by Republic Records. Debuting as No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List, “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven,” a sequel to “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” follows the life of the little girl after being saved by the first book’s lead character. His most recent book is “Finding Chika,” his first nonfiction title in over a decade.

Four of Albom’s bestsellers have been turned into successful TV movies. Oprah Winfrey produced the film version of “Tuesdays with Morrie” in December of 1999, starring Jack Lemmon and Hank Azaria. The film garnered four Emmy awards, including best TV film, director, actor, and supporting actor. The critically acclaimed “Five People You Meet in Heaven” aired on ABC in winter of 2004. Directed by Lloyd Kramer, the film was the most-watched TV movie of the year, with 19 million viewers. Oprah Winfrey Presents Mitch Albom’s “For One More Day” aired on ABC in December of 2007 and earned Ellen Burstyn a Screen Actors Guild nomination. Most recently, Hallmark Hall of Fame produced the film adaptation of “Have a Little Faith,” which aired on ABC in November of 2011. It starred Laurence Fishburne, Bradley Whitford, Martin Landau, and Anika Noni Rose. In 2013, Warner Bros. optioned the film rights to “The First Phone Call from Heaven” for a feature film release.

An award-winning journalist and radio host, Albom wrote the screenplay for “For One More Day,” “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” and “Have a Little Faith” and is an established playwright, having authored numerous pieces for the theater, including the off-Broadway version of “Tuesdays with Morrie” (co-written with Jeffrey Hatcher), which has seen over 100 productions across the U.S. and Canada.

Albom is also an accomplished songwriter and lyricist. Later in his life, when music had become a sideline, he would see several of his songs recorded, including the song “Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song),” which he wrote for rock singer Warren Zevon. Albom also wrote and performed songs for several TV movies, including “Cookin’ for Two” for “Christmas in Connecticut,” the 1992 remake directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Albom has founded several charities in the metropolitan Detroit area. He also raises money for literacy projects through a variety of means, including his performances with the Rock Bottom Remainders, a band made up of writers which includes Stephen King, Dave Barry, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, and Ridley Pearson. He serves on the boards of various charities and, in 1999, was named National Hospice Organization’s Man of the Year.

In 2010, Albom was named the recipient of the Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement by the Associated Press Sports Editors. In 2013, he was inducted into the National Sports Media Association’s Hall of Fame, followed by the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. He lives with his wife, Janine, in Detroit, Michigan.