EVENT: The Harry Ransom Center presents novelist Jayne Anne Phillips for a Harry Ransom Lecture as she reads from “Quiet Dell” (Scribner), a novel based on the true story of a murderous West Virginia con man who preyed on widows. A reception and book signing follow.
WHEN: 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 23
WHERE: Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin, 21st and Guadalupe streets.
BACKGROUND: Phillips, whose papers reside at the Ransom Center, is the author of “Lark and Termite,” a National Book Award finalist. Known for her poetic prose and in-depth study of family dynamics, Phillips has received critical acclaim and major literary prizes, including a Guggenheim fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Phillips is a professor of English and director of the Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing at Rutgers University, Newark.
Stephen King said of “Quiet Dell”: “In a brilliant fusion of fact and fiction, Jayne Anne Phillips has written the novel of the year. It’s the story of a 1931 serial killer’s crime and capture, yes, but it’s also a compulsively readable story of how one brave woman faces up to acts of terrible violence in order to create something good and strong in the aftermath. ‘Quiet Dell’ will be compared to ‘In Cold Blood,’ but Phillips offers soothing Capote could not: a heroine who lights up the dark places and gives us hope in our humanity.”
View a trailer for the book, or read a QandA with Phillips about her archive and writing habits.
Ransom Center members receive priority entry. Doors open at 6:20 p.m. for members and at 6:30 p.m. for the general public. Members must present their membership cards for priority entrance, one seat per membership card. Members arriving after 6:30 p.m. will join the general queue.