LACEY, Wash. – Saint Martin’s University welcomes award-winning writer Molly Gloss as the author for its annual Les Bailey Writers Series. On Oct. 5, she will meet in English classrooms with University students to discuss the craft and art of writing and to answer questions. That evening, in her public presentation, “Romancing the West: Rethinking and Rewriting the Great American Mythos,” Gloss will discuss her longtime passion with Western literature and history and how it has shaped her writing. A book-signing afterward will include an opportunity to purchase copies of some of her books, get them signed and meet the author.
Gloss’ presentation will begin at 7 p.m. at the Norman Worthington Conference Center on the Saint Martin’s University campus. The public is invited to the event, which is free. Donations to the series are most welcome.
“This is Saint Martin’s University’s third year to bring a prize-winning writer to campus for a day and evening of presentations,” said English Prof. Olivia Archibald, one of the event organizers. “Having Molly Gloss be our fall presenter this year is indeed a special treat as we continue efforts at Saint Martin’s to honor Dr. Les Bailey’s memory by affirming the spirit of creativity and imagination. To read a Molly Gloss novel or short story is to read landscape and witness anew human/animal/land interconnectedness.”
Gloss is the author of a string of best-selling novels, including “The Jump-Off Creek” a tale about a widow struggling to homestead in Oregon’s Blue Mountains, a PEN/Faulkner finalist and winner of an Oregon Book Award and a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award; “Wild Life,” winner of the James Tiptree Jr. Award; and her newest novel, “Falling Off Horses,” the story of a young ranch hand trying to break into a career as a Hollywood stunt rider during the heyday of Westerns. Her science fiction book, “The Dazzle of Day” is the winner of a Pen Center West Fiction Prize. She is a past recipient of a Whiting Award, given to emerging writers who show great promise.
Theatre Arts Professor and fellow author David Hlavsa, who will emcee the event, says of “Wild Life”: “Painstakingly researched and full of intriguing historical detail, the book is an extraordinary combination of the best of low and high literature, with an intrepid heroine, a dime-novel adventure plot and gorgeous lapidary prose.”
Gloss, a Portlander with a long Oregon pedigree, grew up reading Zane Grey and other popular Westerns. She’s called herself “a sucker for the cowboy myth and its romantic images.” Her works are about that love, but through her eyes, readers get a glimpse of the real old West – an often-harsh realm peopled by settlers and farmers living on the edge; criminals and misfits escaping society; and tenacious heroines thrown into unlikely and arduous roles. It is the West she calls “the dark underside of that myth …”
The Les Bailey Writers Series is presented by the University’s English Department, with funding from the Leslie G. Bailey Endowment. The endowment honors the gifted and inspiring Saint Martin’s University Professor of English Les Bailey, Ph.D. A 1964 Saint Martin’s alumnus, Bailey returned to his alma mater in 1975 as a faculty member and later became chair of the English Program and dean of humanities. He continued to teach until his death in 2010.
The writers series brings writers and authors of note to campus to read and discuss their books, a practice that was an especially meaningful part of Bailey’s teaching philosophy. He shared his great passion for the written word with students, inviting them over the threshold of a book to explore the deeper themes and meanings of life captured in its pages.
Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 25 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 340 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 350 more students to its extended campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at www.stmartin.edu.
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