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Author of the runaway bestseller, “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter,” about a down syndrome baby abandoned at birth

NYS Writers Institute, September 27, 2007

4:15 p.m. Seminar | Assembly Hall, Campus Center
8:00 p.m. Reading | Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., Downtown Campus


Kim Edwards, author of the runaway bestseller, “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” (2005), about a Down Syndrome baby abandoned at birth, will read from and discuss her work on Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. in Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, on the University at Albany’s downtown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. the author will present an informal seminar in the Assembly Hall, Campus Center, on the uptown campus. Sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, the events are free and open to the public.

Kim Edwards is the author of the runaway bestseller, “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” (2005), a novel that explores the consequences of a troubling family secret:  a daughter with Down Syndrome who is abandoned at birth and raised in a different city by another family. Writing in the “Washington Post,”Ron Charles praised the book for its “extraordinary power and sympathy.” The “Chicago Tribune” reviewer said, “Edwards is a born novelist.... ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter’ is rich with psychological detail and the nuances of human connection.” The “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” called it, “[A] masterfully written debut novel…a compelling story that explores universal themes: the secrets we harbor, even from those we love; our ability to rationalize all manner of lies; and our fear that there will always be something unknowable about the people we love most.”

“The Memory Keeper’s Daughter”sold modestly well in hardcover, but became a major publishing phenomenon in paperback in the summer of 2006, ultimately spending more than a year on the “New York Times”Paperback Bestseller List (as of June 2007). Regarding the novel’s unexpected word-of-mouth success, Susan Petersen Kennedy, president of Penguin Group USA, said, “something mysterious about this book is really seeping into people’s hearts and minds....”

Edwards is also the author of a short story collection, “The Secrets of a Fire King”(1997), a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, which is being re-released in 2007. The collection features the Nelson Algren Award-winning short story “Sky Juice,” the tale of a Malaysian woman who escapes prostitution by becoming a mail order bride. It also features the Pushcart Prize-winning story, “The Way It Felt to Be Falling,” about a 19-year-old girl with a depressed father and unstable boyfriend who copes with her own fear of madness by taking skydiving lessons. Other stories include “Gold,” about an impoverished Malaysian rubber tapper’s self-destructive quest for wealth; and “Spring, Mountain, Sea,” about an American serviceman who brings home a Korean bride after the war, only to discover that he, too, is culturally isolated—an immigrant in his own country.

The “New York Times Book Review” praised the collection for giving “eloquence to an astonishing range of discoveries” that “leaves the reader entranced.” Fiction writer Andrea Barrett said that Edwards’s “sinuous prose and endless empathy work their spell.... Radiant, original, and passionate, these are memorable stories.” “Publishers Weekly” said the “tales read like the work of a wise traveler who returns home with uncommon souvenirs from other lands.”

Edwards received the prestigious Whiting Writers Award in 2002. She teaches creative writing at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.