Emory Report
February 27, 2006
Volume 58, Number 21


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February 27 , 2006
Aussie journalist-turned-novelist Brooks to visit, March 6–7

BY Paula Vitaris

When journalist Geraldine Brooks decided to start writing fiction, the reason for her switch in genres was due in part to “a flatulent sheep in New Zealand and a secret policeman in Nigeria.” The rest of the story is a long one, but Brooks undoubtedly will recount it during her visit to campus, March 6–7.

Brooks’ reading and colloquium will be presented by the Creative Writing Program Reading Series in conjunction with the Department of Women’s Studies and the Center for Women. The reading is scheduled to take place Monday, March 6, at 8:15 p.m. in Woodruff Library’s Jones Room, followed by a colloquium the next day at 2:30 p.m. in N301 Callaway Center. Both events are free and open to the public.

Brooks, an Australian author and journalist, grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney. She attended Sydney University, worked as a reporter for the city’s major newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald, and completed a master’s in journalism at Columbia University in 1983. During 11 years as a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, her beats included some of the world’s most troubled regions, including the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans.

Her first book, Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden Life of Islamic Women, based on her experiences among the Muslim women of the Middle East, was an international bestseller and was translated into 17 languages. Her second nonfiction work, Foreign Correspondence: A Penpal’s Journey from Down Under to All Over, won the Nita B. Kibble Award for women’s writing. It is a memoir and travel adventure about a childhood enriched by penpals from around the world, and Brooks’ adult quest to find them.

In 2001, Brooks published her first novel, Year of Wonders, which follows a young woman’s battle to save her family (and her soul) when the plague suddenly strikes the small Derbyshire village of Eyam in the year 1666. Her second novel, March, is about the absent father, March, of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women.

“One of the reasons we were interested in Geraldine Brooks is that she was a journalist who became a novelist, and since Emory has both journalism and creative writing programs, our students are interested in both fields,” said Lynna Williams, professor of creative writing. “Whether she’s writing fiction or nonfiction, Brooks is a writer whose work is meticulously researched and written, alive with fine detail and fully realized characters.”

Brooks’ appearance is also the first in the Feminist Founders Reading series. In honor of Women’s History Month, the event will feature a woman writer who will read from her work and talk about her craft. The series also will recognize an Emory woman who has helped improve the lives and status of women. In this inaugural year, the Department of Women’s Studies and the Center for Women will recognize Emilia Navarro, professor emerita of Spanish and Portugese.

The Brooks reading will be followed by a reception and book-signing. For more information, call 404-727-4683 or visit www.creativewriting.emory.edu/series/index.html.