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September 26, 2013

Dubus draws Streep to UMass Lowell event

School thrilled to host star, thanks Newbury author for his help

Author Andre Dubus III has done it again.

Not only does he write best-selling books, but as a teacher at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, he is drawing big-name celebrities there for events to help the school and its students.

He persuaded horror author Stephen King to appear at Tsongas Arena in January. The sold-out event raised more than $100,000 for scholarships at the university.

Now, Dubus has arranged for acting star Meryl Streep to visit the arena next year for another event to raise scholarship money for UMass Lowell students.

Streep, a three-time Academy Award winner, will appear at the Tsongas Arena on Feb. 5. Details on the program and tickets, which will be available to the public, will be announced at a later date.

Streep, considered by many to be the greatest actress of this generation, will speak in the latest installment of the Chancellor’s Speaker Series. Her acting career has spanned five decades and more than 100 roles. She has been nominated for an Academy Award 17 times.

Like many things in life, drawing Streep and King to these events was all about connections, said Dubus, who grew up in Haverhill and now lives in Newbury. He has written several best-selling books, including his memoir, “Townie,’’ about growing up in Haverhill in the 1970s and “House of Sand and Fog,’’ which was made into a successful movie.

When Dubus’ father, the late Andre Dubus, was suffering physically and professionally after a car crash robbed him of the use of his legs in the mid-1980s, King and other big-name authors raised money to help their fellow writer.

The younger Dubus reached out to King last year to help beef up UMass Lowell Chancellor Martin Meehan’s speaker series. The series is designed to bring culture and fine arts to the Tsongas Arena, in addition to sports.

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