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History a part of imagination

History a part of imagination

UW-Madison professor and historical writer is the most recent author to visit campus

LAURA AYLESWORTH Special to the Royal Purple Article Date : October 18, 2006 ?id=1783&dateid=2006-10-18

“If you’re not a writer and you spend hours and hours in a room filled with imaginary people - people might think you are a little weird.” This is an serious statement given by UW-Whitewater’s most recent visiting author, Judith Claire Mitchell.

Mitchell, author of the historical novel “The Last Day of the War,” associate creative writing professor and director of the MFA Program at UW-Madison, came to campus on Tuesday, Oct. 10. She first visited professor Alison Townsend’s current writing scene class to share her insight on the writing life to eager students.

The novel took her six years to write and publish. It is based upon her friend’s great-aunt’s letters describing her work as a Young Mens Clubs of America volunteer in France in 1919, where she met an Armenian who had lost his family. The story is of a Jewish girl from St. Louis and an Armenian- American soldier at the end of World War I. Mitchell had some Armenian friends and was inspired through them to write a story about the Armenian massacres as well as the YMCA’s efforts at that time. While researching the book, she noticed there were no books on the Armenian genocide. After she realized this, she felt it was important to write a story about this particular moment in history.

At the Works in Progress Cafe, Mitchell unleashed what could be the first chapter of a novel she is working on, with the tentative title “On This Day in History.” The novel features three narrators who were all real people in history, only they are now speaking from the dead. Mitchell admits that it’s easier to “tell the story from the dead” because you can pretty much make up anything.

The next guest author, Amaud Johnson, is the assistant creative writing professor at UW-Madison and author of the book “Red Summer”. Johnson will speak at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in 214 Heide Hall. Johnson is also scheduled to speak at the Works in Progress Café at 4:30 p.m. at Bassett House located at 708 W. Main St. Jesse Lee Kercheval is the final guest lecturer and will speak Nov. 14.

jeudi 19 octobre 2006,
Stéphane ©

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