OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Visiting Writer Series Brings Scottish-born Novelist to OSU

05/04/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Scottish-born novelist Margot Livesey will visit the Oregon State University campus on Friday, May 15,. to read from her most recent work, the award-winning novel “The House on Fortune Street.”

A question-and-answer session and a book-signing will follow the reading, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley Library’s first floor rotunda. The event is free and open to the public.

Livesey was raised in a boys’ school in the Scottish Highlands where her father taught and her mother was the school nurse. After getting her bachelor’s degree at the University of York, Livesey worked in shops and restaurants while honing her craft as a fiction writer. Her efforts began to pay off in 1986, with the publication of her short story collection, “Learning by Heart,” published by Penguin/Canada.

Since the mid-1980s, she has published six novels, each of which has received consistent raves from critics both here and abroad. Los Angeles Times critic Richard Eder, in writing about “The House on Fortune Street,” described Livesey as “a shrewd diagnostician of Western mini-maladies…acutely observant; her psychological algebra is admirable and sometimes astonishing.” Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly called her writing “melodic, intimate, and perfectly calibrated.”

Livesey’s novels and stories revolve around trust and intimacy in human relationships, uncovering in understated prose shocking truths about parents and children, friends and lovers. Her earlier novels include “Eva Moves the Furniture,” a tribute to her own mother’s upbringing in Scotland, and “Homework,” in which a young woman is at the mercy of a small child’s dark domestic plot.

She has taught writing in a number of prestigious programs in the United States, including the Iowa Writers Workshop and the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She is a distinguished visiting writer at both Emerson College and Bowdoin College. Among her awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts.

“The House on Fortune Street,” published in 2008, won the 2009 L.L. Winship/Pen New England Award for Fiction.

Livesey’s visit to Corvallis is the final event in this year’s OSU Visiting Writers Series, and is supported by the Valley Library, the Office of the Provost, and the OSU Department of English.