Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
March 10, 2009 Issue
National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
Established 1891
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Contributed Photo | Copyright Sally Davies


Author, actress, local: meet Debra Winger

By Dan Hust
LIVINGSTON MANOR — Most of America will see Debra Winger’s new book, “Undiscovered,” and recall an actress they’ve enjoyed since “Terms of Endearment” and “An Officer and a Gentleman.”
But for many a Sullivan County resident, they’ll see a friend and neighbor.
They may even see a bit of themselves in her book.
“I’ve given it to people who are in it,” Winger confirmed late last week while enjoying a perfect August afternoon.
While the essays within “Undiscovered” never reveal full identities or locations, it’s clear by the familiarly autumnal image on its cover that the book is largely focused on the area.
“I call this my home,” said the Town of Fremont author. “I intend to end up here.”
But “Undiscovered” is not about death – it’s about life, a life often lived in a strangely isolated spotlight.
“... It’s a very insular world as a celebrity,” she related. “... You can’t possibly describe it until somebody has even experienced a little of it.”
But here, in what would seem to be the equally isolated world of the Catskill Mountains, Winger has found her soul.
“The Catskills are inside of me,” she said. “I live in metaphor, and I would say most of my metaphors are born here.”
Even after two decades amidst the pastoral farm she shares with her sons and husband, she’s not so sure she is considered a local – “it’s a pretty tough club to get into” – but that uncertainty may finally be put to rest this Saturday.
Starting at 5 p.m., she’ll make a rare public appearance at Hamish & Henry Booksellers on Main Street in Livingston Manor.
Those who trek to the county’s favorite bookstore will find her reading selected portions of “Undiscovered,” followed by a book-signing.
Winger will find, as she long has, a community of people eager to know her not for her star status but to share common bonds of friendship, struggle, happiness, sorrow, spirituality and laughter – themes running through “Undiscovered.”
It’s not purely an autobiography, focusing mostly on the past decade of her life, but it is her gift – her way to connect – to those who truly care about the life she has lived and the lessons she has learned.
“For me, I was making something that will be here,” she remarked, as opposed to what she considers her “ephemeral” films.
“If somebody can find something in there that shines a light or opens a door, I’ve done everything I can do.”
Saturday’s book-signing at Hamish & Henry is free and open to the public. Copies of “Undiscovered” (Simon and Schuster, 2008) will be available for $23 and include illustrations by Philippe Petit, the aerialist who walked from one tower of the former World Trade Center to the other. For more information, call the bookstore at 439-8029 or visit

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