Book discussions on Diane Foley’s ‘American Mother,’ April 5 and 15 

The Arrupe Center for Community Service and Social Responsibility will host two discussions in April on “American Mother,” the recently released book by Colum McCann with Diane Foley which details the Foley family’s experience during and after the capture and murder of Marquette alumnus James Foley. 

These discussions will take place in the Arrupe Center for Community Service (AMU 137) on: 

McCann and Foley will join the April 5 session virtually to discuss their book. The conversation will be led by Dr. Leah Flack, professor of English and scholar-in-residence for the Arrupe Center. It was Flack’s book club during the pandemic that introduced Foley and McCann and led to their collaboration.

“American Mother” is the heart-rending story of a mother who, in the course of confronting her son’s killer, gets to the elemental heart of violence and forgiveness. James Foley, a 1996 Marquette graduate and freelance journalist, was captured by ISIS in 2012, tortured, and then beheaded by the group in Syria in 2014. Seven years later, his mother Diane had the chance to spend three days with the murderer of her son in a Virginia courthouse, inspiring her to tell her life story. 

McCann, born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, has won multiple awards and honors for his seven novels and three collections of short stories. “Apeirogon,” his most recent novel, published in 2020, became an international best-seller on four continents. McCann serves as president and co-founder of Narrative 4, a non-profit storytelling organization which helps build empathy in young people, encouraging them to improve their communities. 

Diane Foley speaks during Marquette’s 2024 Mission Week.

Diane Foley founded the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation to advocate for freedom for innocent Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad and for journalist safety. Foley has raised awareness about international hostage taking through her government advocacy, the documentary, “Jim: the James Foley Story,” and opinion pieces in The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today. She recently visited Marquette as part of Mission Week.