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Novelist Ann Patchett speaks at Union

JACKSON, Tenn.March 5, 2002 – Union University students as well as students from area high schools gathered to hear acclaimed novelist Ann Patchett speak at the English Department’s annual Creative Writing Workshop and Competition. Patchett was the guest speaker for the day-long event.

Entertaining the group with delightful stories and an inviting smile, the award-winning novelist shared the experiences that led her to write her most recent novel Bel Canto, which was just awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award, a book that she describes as a "feel good book about terrorists."

According to Patchett, the book is loosely based on the takeover of the Japanese embassy, which she describes as "an unterrifying terrorist takeover."

Challenging each member of the audience to put themselves in the place of someone directly affected by a tragedy in the world, Patchett said to do so allows that person to have a greater impact on one's life.

Patchett also read a passage from Bel Canto. Noting the musicality in her writing, Bobby Rogers, professor of English at Union, described Patchett’s work as "lyrical, forceful, controlled, and beautiful."

When asked by one of the audience member at the end of the session why she has chosen to write, she jokingly replied, "I can't do anything else" which caused a chuckle from the audience.

"Seriously,” Patchett answered. “I know what I want – I have always known, and it is an incredible gift to know what you want.

“I just want to write."

By Gina Gallion,
Class of 2003

Media contact: Sara B. Horn, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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