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Ars Poetica series brings novelist to campus

Nationally recognized novelist visits EOUSharma Shields author

Oct. 7, 2019 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Author and novelist, Sharma Shields, presents her new novel, “The Cassandra” in the first installation of the Carl and Sandra Ellston Ars Poetica Literary Lecture Series this year. Shields is set to read from her work at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 14 at Art Center East.

“The Cassandra” follows the life of a young woman who runs away and becomes a secretary at the Hanford Research Center in the early 1940s. She foresees a dire future, but those in power ignore her warnings. Though a historical novel, “The Cassandra”is noted for its critique of patriarchy, militancy and the cultural preference for destruction.

Kirkus Review commented that the novel is, “rooted in the geography and culture of the communities Hanford displaced, Shields’ reworking of the classic myth…is filled with grotesque and violent images and episodes of keen sorrow. Shields delivers what her heroine cannot: a warning, impossible to ignore, about the costs of blind adherence to ideology.”

Novelist Shawn Vestal praised Shields as “one of our finest literary fabulists and ‘The Cassandra’ is further proof – a brilliantly tightening knot of dread, a phantasmagoria of nightmares and daytime horrors that glows with powerful insights about the nation’s reckless nuclear history and its corrosive chauvinism.”

Shields also authored a short story collection, “Favorite Monster” and another novel, “The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac.” Her short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Kenyon Review and the Iowa Review. Her pieces have garnered such awards as the 2016 Washington State Book Award, the Autumn House Fiction Prize, the Tim McGinnis Award for Humor, a Grant for Artist Projects from Artist Trust, and the A.B. Guthrie Award for Outstanding Prose.

Shield’s reading is free and open to the public. Copies of her novels will be available for purchase and signing will occur after the reading. To view one of her pieces featured in the New York Times, visit nytimes.com/2019/02/09/opinion/sunday/mythology-rape.html.

For more information about this and other visiting writer events, contact David Axelrod at daxelrod@eou.edu.

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz.


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