Tag: novels

Faculty members, alumna among the 2017 Fox Cities Book Festival presenting authors

Lawrence University faculty members Jerald Podair and Melissa Range will be among the 50 authors who will conduct readings and talks Oct. 9-15 during the 10th annual Fox Cities Book Festival.

Author events will be held at 13 venues throughout the Fox Cities, including several at Lawrence, during the week. All are free and open to the public.

Jerald Podair
Jerald Podair

Podair, Robert S. French Professor of American Studies, professor of history and life-long baseball fan, explores one of the country’s earliest owner-city new ballpark negotiations and the subsequent economic and cultural impact in his 2017 book “City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles.”

Podair, a member of the Lawrence faculty since 1998, delivers two readings from “City of Dreams”: Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Appleton Public Library and Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Neenah Public Library.

A specialist in 20th-century history, especially presidential history and race relations, Podair also is the author of “The Strike that Changed New York” and “Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer.”

Melissa Range
Melissa Range

Range, assistant professor of English who joined the faculty in 2014, will read from her collection of poems entitled “Scriptorium” as well as more recent work Saturday, Oct. 14 at 11:30 a.m. at The Draw on S. Lawe Street in Appleton.

“Scriptorium” was selected as one of five national winners in the annual National Poetry Series’ Open Competition by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith. “Scriptorium,” which Range began writing in 2006, explores the relationship between standardized, official languages and vernacular languages, particularity as they play out in religious settings. It features poems about medieval art, poetry and theology, as well as poems about the Appalachian slang of Range’s upbringing.

Callie Bates
Callie Bates

Callie Bates, a 2009 Lawrence graduate, is the author of “The Waking Land,” which has been named both an IndieNext and LibraryReads pick. She will read from her debut fantasy novel Thursday, Oct 12 at 4:30 p.m. in Main Hall, Room 201.

Hailing from northern Wisconsin, Bates’ essays have appeared in “Shambhala Sun,” “The Best Buddhist Writing 2012,” “All Things Girl” and several online journals.

As a student English major at Lawrence, Bates was named the winner of the 2007 Nick Adams Short Story Contest sponsored by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest for “The Swans at Roxleigh,” a tale of a declining English country house in the days just after World War II.

Lawrence also will host two author visits during this year’s festival.

Will Schwalbe
Will Schwalbe

New York native Will Schwalbe returns to the festival to discuss themes from his books while encouraging audience members to talk about books that have shaped their lives Thursday, Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in Lawrence’s Warch Campus Center.

Schwalbe is the author of “The End of Your Life Book Club,” which spent 12 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was named an Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year. His most recent book, “Books for Living,” was published last December. Schwalbe has worked in publishing, digital media and as a journalist for publications ranging from The New York Times to the South China Morning Post.

Benjamin Ludwig
Benjamin Ludwig

Benjamin Ludwig will share passages from his 2017 “Ginny Moon,” Saturday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center. Ludwig’s first novel, “Ginny Moon,” a story of a teenage girl with autism, was inspired in part by his conversation with their parents at Special Olympics basketball practices.

On Sunday, Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. at Menasha’s Elisha D. Smith Public Library, Ludwig will discuss the dual aspects of Ginny Moon’s two voices: her inner voice and the voice she uses to speak with her family, friends, and classmates, and how her two voices serve as a vehicle for his  own personal beliefs.

Shortly after Ludwig, a long-time English teacher, and his wife married, they became foster parents and adopted a teenager with autism.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Appleton native, Iowa Writers’ Workshop Director named Lawrence’s 2016 commencement speaker, honorary degree recipient

It will be a homecoming of sorts for award-winning writer and Appleton native Lan Samantha Chang when she returns to the Lawrence University campus to receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree Sunday, June 12 at the college’s 167th commencement ceremony.

Chang, the director of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, also will serve as the principal commencement speaker. This will be Chang’s first honorary degree.

“An understanding of the creative process is core to the education Lawrence offers,” said President Mark Burstein. “We are very pleased that Lan Samantha Chang will join us for commencement this spring so we can honor an Appleton native who has perfected her craft and now teaches it to others as director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. From her first book, which the New York Times described as ‘a taut, incisive study of Chinese immigrants in America and their almost wordless struggle to adapt to a new life,’ to more recent work, Samantha has provided us a window into the human experience.”

Lan Samantha Chang will receive an honorary degree from Lawrence and serve as the principal speaker at the college's 167th commencement June 12. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.
Lan Samantha Chang will receive an honorary degree from Lawrence and serve as the principal speaker at the college’s 167th commencement June 12. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.

Chang, whose parents emigrated to the United States from China, graduated from Appleton West High School in 1983. Her honorary degree will further connect her to Lawrence. Her mother earned a bachelor of music degree in piano pedagogy from Lawrence, while her father was an associate professor of engineering at the former Institute of Paper Chemistry, which had a long affiliation with Lawrence.

“Receiving an honorary degree from Lawrence means a great deal to me,” said Chang, “in part because when I was growing up, Lawrence was the center of intellectual life in Appleton. It is a greatly respected university. I have vivid memories of being at the conservatory during my mother’s recitals and meeting her professors.”

Her path to award-winning writer followed a circuitous route. Chang attended Yale University intending to satisfy her parent’s wishes of pursuing a medical degree, but she soon decided becoming a doctor was not in her future. After earning a degree in East Asian Studies, she told her parents she would become a lawyer, another career option more designed to please her parents than her own interests. She eventually earned a master’s of public administration degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

“I realized that I didn’t want to pursue that direction either,” Chang explained of her second change of heart. “It was really just a question of coming to face the fact that I had never wanted to do anything else except write fiction and that it would be pointless to try to keep trying to do other things.”

Chang eventually enrolled at the University of Iowa and earned a master of fine arts in creative writing.

While she says her life has been much easier since then, “I don’t think I’ve ever circled as much as I did after college when I understood that I would have to disappoint my parents and pursue an uncertain life,” said Chang.

Before returning to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Chang taught creative writing at Stanford University as Jones Lecturer in Fiction, in Warren Wilson College’s MFA program for writers and at Harvard University as Briggs-Copland Lecturer in Creative Writing.

Since 2006, she has served as the program director of the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, where she also teaches English as the May Brodbeck Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Chang’s experiences as an Asian American inspired her to write two novels and a collection of short stories about the merging of Chinese and American culture and the dynamics of family and wealth in times of hardship or after war. Her works include 1998’s “Hunger: A Novella and Stories,” 2004’s “Inheritance: A Novel” and “All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost: A Novel” in 2010.

Chang’s work has been recognized with the 2005 PEN Open Book Award for “Inheritance,” while “Hunger” was the winner of the Southern Review Fiction Prize and named a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Award. Chang’s writing has been selected twice (1994, 1996) for inclusion in the yearly anthology “The Best American Short Stories.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.