Janne E. Irvine at Barnes and Noble tonight

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Local author Janne E. Irvine wears many hats. She is a pianist, piano teacher, composer/arranger, Austen scholar, singer and actress.

Irvine also wears a scholar's cap. She has a Bachelors from Sarah Lawrence College, a Masters from Yale University School of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the UA.

But what's even more impressive is that Irvine accomplished all of these things with severely impaired vision. At the age of 13, her eyesight failed so that she could no longer see well enough to read printed words.

Irvine tells her story in her first book, Making Friends With Other Trees and Flowers: A Story of Low Vision and High Expectations. (October 2011, Wheatmark, $22.95).

Here's a summary from local publisher Wheatmark:

Janne E. Irvine's vision was damaged after birth, and grew worse over time. Even so, her parents provided her with an environment that enabled her to thrive. In Making Friends with Other Trees and Flowers, Janne relates with humor and honesty how a vivid imagination made it possible for her to understand the blurred images of her world. She shows how disability, when coupled with creativity, can provide chances for boundless fulfillment.

Meet Irvine tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, 5130 E. Broadway Blvd., when she signs copies of her book. The Greenwood Groubadours will also perform.

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