Two Award-Winning Authors to present at Indiana State University this month

Indiana State University has announced that two award-winning authors will present at different speaker events hosted by the English Department during April.

The first event will see Gail Carson Levine read for the Theodore Dreiser Visiting Writers Series which aims to inspire students and local community members by enhancing Terre Haute’s vibrant literary community.

Levine is best known for her novel, Ella Enchanted which is a retelling of Cinderella featuring fairies, elves, ogres, gnomes, and giants. This fantasy won a Newbery Honor Award, which is given to authors of the most distinguished contributions to American literature for children, and was made into a major motion picture starring Academy Award-winning actress, Anne Hathaway.

The author’s bibliography includes numerous award-winning reads including Ever, a New York Times bestseller which follows a mortal girl who falls in love with the God of The Wind, and Fairest, declared Best Book of The Year by Publisher Weekly, set in the same world as Ella Enchanted.

Levine’s latest book, Sparrows in the Wind, is a retelling of the myth of the Trojan War, and she is currently working on a historical medieval murder mystery that takes place in Winchester, England, in 1277.

The Theodore Dreiser Visiting Writers Series will take place on Thursday, April 11th at 6pm in the Yang Family University Art Gallery, Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts, 300 N 7th St, Terre Haute. This event is free and open to members of the public. A question and answer session will take place after Levine’s talk.

As part of her visit, Levine will also be giving a talk on the same day titled: “Jewish History: Three Perspectives, Three Places, Three Periods.” This free event will take place from 2pm until 3.15pm in the Cunningham Memorial Library Events Area, 510 N 6th 1/2 St, Terre Haute. Both events that Levine will speak at are sponsored by Indiana State University’s Center for Community Engagement, the Multicultural Services and Programs Department, and the United Hebrew Congregation.

Karen Russell will present at Indiana State University’s Bash Lecture in Modern American Literature. The annual event, in memory of James Bash who taught in the Department of English, invites one guest lecturer to speak on a 20th and 21st century literary topic.

Russell is the author of five books of fiction, including the New York Times bestseller Swamplandia!, a humorous story about a family’s gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades, and Vampires in the Lemon Grove, a magical and uniquely daring collection of stories which was named a Best Book of The Year by Huffington Post. She is the recipient of, among other honors, the 2023 Bottari Lattes Grinzane prize for her novella Sleep Donation, which imagines a haunting world with a sudden insomnia epidemic.

Her work has been featured in leading publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s, and The New York Review of Books. Russel is also frequently recognized in The Pushcart Prize, an American literary prize that honors the best poetry, short fiction, essays, and literary pieces.

Russell will explore the topic ‘Ghost Stories’ during her lecture where she will share her favorite haunted literature, looking at a diverse group of ghosts spanning centuries, continents, cultures, and species. She will also examine the role of hauntings in her own short stories and the revelatory power of humor and horror.

The Bash Lecture in Modern American Literature will take place on Monday, April 15 at 6pm in Indiana State University’s University Hall Theater, 401 N 7th Street in Terre Haute. This event is free to attend and open to the public. A book signing and reception will take place after Russell’s talk.

Dr. Melinda Roberts, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana State University, which the Department of English is part of, said, “We are honored to be hosting not only one, but two world-renowned authors at our English department’s key events this April. Both authors showcase the power of literature and its ability to dive into the unknown where ogres, elves, vampires and alligator-wrestling theme parks are the norm.”

She added, “Welcoming Gail Carson Levine and Karen Russell to our campus is another example of why the English Department here at Indiana State University is recognized as a top program for prospective students.”