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EXCLUSIVE: Oprah Winfrey makes surprise appearance for author Abraham Verghese at Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Thousands of guests rushed to the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara Wednesday evening. 

They couldn’t wait to hear a lecture with bestselling author Abraham Verghese. 

"I think I was really impressed by how he integrated interesting and unusual medical knowledge, and the history of in India. It was just a great historical read," said guest Denise Jessup of the Arlington Theatre.

 Verghese’s instant New York Times bestseller, The Covenant of Water, was released in May to widespread critical acclaim and was named Oprah’s Book Club pick.

"I liked it because it was. We learned so much about lots of different diseases, and I loved it was well written, and I loved learning about that area where it took place," said guest Linda Boyd of the Arlington Theatre.

But little did the sold out crowd know Oprah Winfrey herself would make a surprise appearance to introduce the author.

"I really am … happy … to be near tonight! It’s true!," exclaimed Oprah as she greeted the audience onto the stage.

Oprah says his book was, “One of the best books I’ve read in my entire life.”

"I heard Abraham Verghese was going to be in Santa Barbara tonight … so so I said I’m gonna make sure I’m in town and mark my calendar," said Oprah.

The book is being adapted for film and was named one of Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. 

At the end of the lecture, fans lined up for a book signing with the author. 

The literary novel is the long-awaited follow-up to Verghese’s previous novel, Cutting for Stone, which topped the New York Times bestseller list for more than two years.

A distinguished Stanford professor and a prominent voice in medicine, Verghese received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama. 

This event is part of the UCSB Arts and Lectures Pico Iyer speaker series.

For more information on the UCSB Arts and Lectures series, visit:

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
arlington theatre
Oprah Winfrey
Santa Barbara

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Patricia Martellotti

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