(Posted September 26, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A Penn State expert on Hindu folklore and literature will lead discussion of the award-winning novel "Life of Pi" as part of Juniata College's summer reading program for incoming freshmen, faculty, staff and community members at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28 in Neff Auditorium in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

Suchismita Sen, lecturer in religious studies at Penn State University, will lead discussion of "Life of Pi," the award-winning novel by Yann Martel. "Pi" follows the adventures of a 16-year-old boy from Pondicherry, India, nicknamed Pi, who explores his own faith and experiences during a harrowing journey of discovery as he drifts in the Pacific Ocean after a shipwreck. His companions on the raft are a menagerie of wild animals, including a very hungry Bengal tiger.

The book taps into the magic of nature, zoology and finally, faith, while entertaining the reader with colorful storytelling and rich writing.

Sen will open the discussion by talking for about 30 minutes on how the Hindu religion influences the structure and story of "Life of Pi." After the talk, she will open the floor to a question-and answer session with the audience.

Sen's areas of research include Hindu folklore, modern Indian authors writing in English, comparative religion and the history of Indian culture and religion.

She earned a doctorate in 1991 from Penn State.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.