Novelist Patricia Powell will read from a new work at Fairfield University


Patricia Powell, a Harvard University fellow and author of "A Small Gathering of Bones," "The Pagoda" and "Me Dying Trial," will read from and discuss her new work on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at Fairfield University. The lecture, an early kickoff of March's Women's History Month celebrations, will take place in the multimedia room of the DiMenna-Nyselius Library.

Born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Ms. Powell often weaves gender, race and sexuality into her work. Her most recent novel, 1998's "The Pagoda," considers the politics of all three in 19th-century Jamaican society. Published in 1993, "Me Dying Trial" explores the lives of Caribbean women in rural Jamaica and North America, while 1994's "A Small Gathering of Bones" is a powerful examination of male sexuality and AIDS.

"She is one of the most exciting younger writers coming out of the Caribbean tradition. She's working with language and culture to really create a new voice," said Johanna Garvey, Ph.D., chair of the English Department, who will introduce Ms. Powell.

A 1993 finalist for the Granta/Best of Young American Novelists Award, Ms. Powell holds a bachelor's degree from Wellesley College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Brown University. She has been a Briggs-Copeland Fellow in fiction at Harvard since 1997.

Ms. Powell has received many awards for her three novels, including, most recently, The Lila-Wallace Readers Digest Writers Award.

Dr. Garvey said she admires Ms. Powell for tackling complex issues, such as gender identity, colonialism and race, from unexpected viewpoints. In "The Pagoda," for instance, her protagonist is a Chinese woman forced to dress and act as a man for 30 years after she is brought to Jamaica on what amounts to a slave ship.

"She's working with very complex voices and perspectives and it gets the reader thinking about race, gender and intersection of cultures," Garvey said.

Ms. Powell's reading is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Women's Studies Center at 203-254-4000, ext. 2320.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 5, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 189