The Writers Institute presents two noteworthy fiction writers: Sheila Kohler, author of "Bluebird, or the Invention of Happiness" (2007), a new historical novel set in 18th century Albany, New York; and Angela Pneuman, author of "Home Remedies" (2007), a new collection of stories about Christian fundamentalists grappling with intimate longings and crises of faith.
Sheila Kohler, South Africa-born fiction writer, is known for troubling, vivid tales of people trapped in perverse and abusive relationships. Based on a true story, her new novel tells the tale of Lucy Dillon, an aristocratic Irish woman in the court of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, who flees the bloodshed of the French Revolution to set up a dairy farm in Albany, New York.
"A terrific achievement-more graceful, more searching, more truly dramatic than most current fiction." - Lyndall Gordon, author of "Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft" on "Bluebird"
"Sheila Kohler is a writer's writer....'Bluebird' is a page-turner saga." - Edmund White, author of "Fanny: A Fiction"
Four of Kohler's works have recently been reissued in 2005 and 2006 paperback editions by Other Press, including the novels, "The Perfect Place" (1989), "Cracks" (1999), "Children of Pithiviers" (2001), and "Crossways" (2004). Chosen as a Book of the Year by "Newsday" and "Library Journal," "Cracks" is the story of Fiamma, a student at an all-girls boarding school who vanishes mysteriously into the South African veld. Many years later, former members of her school swim team gather to exchange recollections and reveal personal secrets. The "San Francisco Chronicle" called "Cracks," "A disturbing note-perfect novel. Dissection of evil has rarely been so extravagantly executed."
Angela Pneuman's first book, "Home Remedies: Stories" (2007), is a startling debut collection of tales dealing with the conflicted interior lives of evangelical Christians, particularly young girls on the brink of sexual awareness. "Publishers Weekly" praised Pneuman's "fine literary writing" and said that her "knowledge of the lingo of conservative Christianity lends authenticity to her narratives."
"These amazing stories have an inviting surface and a complex core.... They possess intelligence and grace of every sort. Angela Pneuman must surely be one of the most gifted young writers around." - Lorrie Moore, author of "Birds of America"
Pneuman's fiction has appeared in "The Best American Short Stories 2004," as well as "New England Review," "The Iowa Review," "Puerto del Sol," "Ploughshares" and other literary magazines. A former Stegner Fellow and Marsh McCall Lecturer in fiction at Stanford University, Pneuman is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at the University at Albany. She is presently at work on a novel.
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.