Jane Hamilton coming to Catawba in March

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 24, 2012

Catawba College News Service
SALISBURY — Author Jane Hamilton, cited by the Chicago Tribune as “one of our most magnetic and provocative novelists,” will be the featured speaker at Catawba College’s 26th annual Brady Author’s Symposium scheduled Thursday, March 29, in the Robertson College-Community Center on campus.
Hamilton, a native of the Midwest, writes with authority her novels that are based on life in a Midwestern family. Her writing venue is her orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin where she and her husband, Robert Willard, are parents of son, Ben, and daughter, Hannah.
The youngest of five children, Hamilton grew up in Oak Park, Ill. Her father was an engineer and her mother a theater critic. Described as quiet and introspective in childhood, Hamilton says she “spent much of my childhood without speaking.”
She graduated from Carleton College in 1979 as an English major. Her short stories, “My Own Earth” and “Aunt Marj’s Happy Ending,” were her first published works, accepted by Harper’s Magazine in 1983.
Published in 1988, “The Book of Ruth,” her first novel, won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel and was a selection of the Oprah Book Club in 1996. “The Book of Ruth” was also the basis for a 2004 television film of the same title.
Her second novel, “A Map of the World,” was published in 1994 and was an international bestseller. It was adapted for film in 1999 and that same year was also an Oprah’s Book Club selection. The San Francisco Chronicle” said of Hamilton with the publication of this novel, “Jane Hamilton has removed all doubts that she belongs among the major writers of our time.”
Hamilton’s other novels include “The Short History of a Prince,” published in 1998 and shortlisted for the 1999 Orange Prize; “Disobedience,” published in 2000; her 2006 novel, “When Madeline Was Young;” and her 2009 “Laura Rider’s Masterpiece.” Some refer to “Laura Rider’s Masterpiece,” as a dark comedy, but Hamilton refers to it in a July 2010 interview with Cheryl Reed of “Tri-Quarterly Online,” as “a social satire … about reading and writing.”
Her fiction features rural and small town families living amid backdrops of orchards, fields and farmhouses. Her themes are broad — forgiveness, acceptance, compassion and reconciliation. Her characters exhibit fundamental human values that allow her readers to explore their own.
Hamilton will join an impressive group of authors who have spoken at previous Brady events, including Reynolds Price, Doris Betts, Lee Smith, Kay Gibbons, Fred Chappell, Robert Inman, Jan Karon, John Berendt, Pat Conroy, Terry Kay, Gail Godwin, Ann Hood, Tim McLaurin, Frances Mayes, Rick Bragg, Susan Vreeland, Jodi Picoult, Gish Jen, Joanne Harris, Chris Bohjalian, Elizabeth Berg and Colum McCann.
Tickets for the Brady Author’s Symposium are now available through the Catawba College Public Relations Office at 704-637-4393. Symposium events include a lecture ($20), luncheon ($20), book signing (free), and an exclusive writing question and answer session ($10), all of which will take place in the Robertson College-Community Center on campus.
Schedule of events
• Lecture, 11 a.m., Robertson College-Community Center.
• Seated luncheon, 12:15 p.m., Peeler Crystal Lounge. Reservations are limited and will be taken in the order in which they are received.
• Book signing, 1:15 p.m., lobby of Keppel Auditorium.
• Exclusive Writing Q&A, 2 p.m., Hedrick Little Theatre.