University of Rochester

Reading, Exhibit Examine Heroine in Joanna Scott's New Work

September 27, 2005

Readers will get a sneak peak at Joanna Scott's forthcoming novel when the award-winning author gives a reading on the University of Rochester campus next month.

Liberation (Little, Brown, $23.95), Scott's follow-up to her 2003 novel Tourmaline, will appear in bookstores in November. She will read from the new work and discuss how she develops characters at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, in the Welles-Brown Room in Rush Rhees Library on the River Campus.

In addition, an exhibition based on both works will open that evening in the Rare Books and Special Collections Library in Rush Rhees. Titled "Celebrating Tourmaline and Introducing Liberation: Bringing Fiction's Characters to Life," the exhibit includes printed, typed, and manuscript pages from the novels; photographs of the Italian island of Elba, the setting for both works; and gemstones typical of those mined on Elba. The evening's events, including a reception, are free and open to the public.

Scott, who is the Roswell S. Burrows Professor of English at the University, has consistently earned critical acclaim for her vivid prose, multi-faceted narration, insights into human behavior and relationships, and lush descriptions of settings. A member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, popularly known as the "genius award," a Guggenheim fellowship, and the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction.

In Liberation, Scott traces the story of Adriana Nardi, who played a pivotal role in Tourmaline. Now a 70-year-old woman, married and living in the United States, Adriana loses herself in memories of her girlhood on Elba and her attachment to an AWOL African soldier.

Tourmaline was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in the fiction category. Scott's other novels are The Manikin, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1997; Arrogance, which received the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award, the Lillian Fairchild Award, and a nomination for the PEN/Faulkner Award; Make Believe; The Closest Possible Union; and Fading, My Parmacheene Belle. In addition, she has published a collection of short stories, Various Antidotes, which was also a PEN/Faulkner Award nominee.

Locally, Scott was named a recipient of the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester's Literary Artist of the Year Award and will be honored with other award winners at the group's annual luncheon on Oct. 25.

"Celebrating Tourmaline and Introducing Liberation: Bringing Fiction's Characters to Life" will be on exhibit through Feb. 25, 2006. Hours for the Rare Books Library are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (585) 275-4477.