Author and philanthropist John Wood, who left an executive career at Microsoft to promote literacy and education, will speak Tuesday evening, Feb. 12, at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts.

Wood at 7 p.m. will present the lecture "Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy."

The program is free and open to the public and is sponsored by several university programs and the Fairfield Public Library.

In 1999, the then-35-year-old Wood left his career as a Microsoft marketing executive to found Room to Read, which the library said is one of the fastest-growing charities founded in the 20th century.

The nonprofit group has opened more than 1,500 schools and 14,600 libraries and distributed more than 12 million books for an estimated six million children in 10 countries across Asia and Africa, the library said in a news release. It has also provided educational scholarships for more than 19,000 girls.

Based in San Francisco, the organization has regional offices around the world and a goal of promoting education, gender equality and literacy worldwide.

His latest book, "Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy," (Viking, 2012) details the building of Room To Read. It dovetails with his first book, "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World."

Barron's magazine has twice named him one of the world's 25 Most Effective Philanthropists, and the San Francisco Chronicle described him as the "Andrew Carnegie of the developing world."