This Thursday, April 3 at 8 p.m. in Taylor Little Theatre, Mercyhurst University will welcome acclaimed novelist and short story author Karen Joy Fowler to kick-start the first of four creative writing centered events that will make up this year’s Literary Festival.
Fowler has authored a total of six novels and three short story collections, first making a splash onto the literary scene in 1986 with her publication of short stories, Artificial Things.
Since then, most of her writing has been sprinkled with a combination of both historical and science fiction, often containing a feminist overtone.
Fowler has won a considerable amount of awards and recognition for her writing throughout her career, including having her first two novels (Sarah Canary and The Sweetheart Season) listed as “New York Times Notable Books.” She would go on to win the World Fantasy Award for two of her short story collections, first for “Black Glass” in 1999 and then for “What I Didn’t See” in 2011.
She is best known today for “The Jane Austen Book Club,” a best-selling novel published in 2004 that focuses on the members of a book club in Davis, California.
The novel, which spent a total of 13 weeks on the New York Times bestseller’s list, dedicates one chapter to each of the six book club members, and relates each of their individual lives and experiences directly to one of Jane Austen’s six novels.
The book was adapted into a film of the same name by Robin Swicord in 2007, which distinguished film critic Roger Ebert awarded three and one half out of four stars and hailed as “a celebration of reading.”
Her most recent novel, “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves,” was released in 2013 and contains much of Fowler’s signature wit and creativity, but was referred to as “emotionally and intellectually riskier, and more indebted to Fowler’s other books that toy with the sci-fi genre” by National Public Radio. It has been considered one of the top works of fiction of 2013.
When not writing and winning awards, Fowler works with writers and co-creates awards.
She helped to co-create the James Tiptree, Jr. Award with fellow author, Pat Murphy, in 1991. The award is a literary prize that seeks to recognize “science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender,” according to the award’s website.
Fowler is also the president of the Clarion Foundation, a nonprofit literary organization founded in 2005 that supports the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, a workshop established in 1968 in which the website describes to provide “an intensive six-week education in the basics of creating speculative fiction.”
She will be leading a workshop on campus with Mercyhurst English majors and minors earlier in the day during her visit to the Mercyhurst this Thursday, for a hands-on learning experience with a professional who has found success in her field.
Fowler’s evening presentation is free and open to the public and will be followed by a brief question-and-answer period with students.
For more information about Karen Joy Fowler, visit her website at karenjoyfowler.com
For more information regarding the Literary Festival, contact Ken Schiff, Ph.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org.