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Tickets on Sale Now for 23rd Annual Brady Author's Symposium at Catawba College

February 9, 2009

Category: Events

Chris Bohjalian

New York Times bestsellers list author Chris Bohjalian will be keynote speaker at Catawba College's 23rd annual Brady Author's Symposium on Thursday, March 26. Bohjalian's newest novel, "Skeletons at the Feast," comes out in paperback this month.

Tickets are on sale now for symposiumEvents which include an 11 a.m. lecture with Bohjalian discussing "Skeletons at the Feast," followed by seated luncheon and book signing.  New to the symposium this year is a second evening lecture, "Reading in a Digital Age," which Bohjalian will offer at 7 p.m. Tickets for either of Bohjalian's March 26th lectures are $15 each, with a limited number of luncheon tickets available for $15 each. AllEvents associated with his visit to Catawba will take place in the Robertson College-Community Center on campus.

Bohjalian's "Skeletons at the Feast" is a World War II love story set in Poland and Germany during the last six months of the war. It was inspired in part by a diary that had been kept by his friend's East Prussian grandmother between 1920 and 1945. Bohjalian's friend asked him to read the diary in 1998 and the storyline of his novel, "Skeletons" began to take shape.

"Skeletons" follows the evacuation of the aristocratic Emmerich family from their estate in East Prussia to points west of Berlin, Germany. The family's retreat is hasty and fraught with problems as they make an effort to stay ahead of the Soviet army. The story is told by different narrators who each experience their own variety of fear and loss during their retreat. The novel's title is taken from a statement made by the Emmerichs' Uncle Karl, a man who is unwilling to leave his home even when everyone else is fleeing. He says, "These days, you and I — our families, our world — are nothing more than skeletons at the feast anyway." This statement seems to encapsulate the situation encountered by many during World War II — they are helpless in a world beyond their control.

PosterIn addition to "Skeletons," Bohjalian is the author of 11 novels, including "The Double Bind," "Before You Know Kindness," "Law of Similars," and "Midwives," all of which were included on the New York Times bestsellers list. He won the New England Book  Award in 2002 with "The Double Bind," and his novel, "Midwives," was a selection of Oprah's Book Club, a Publishers Weekly "Best Book," and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery selection. His work has been translated into 25 languages and has sold over three and a half million copies. Twice, his books have been made into movies ("Midwives" in 2001 starring Sissy Spacek and "Past the Bleachers" in 1995).

The focus of Bohjalian's novels tends to be ordinary people who find themselves trapped in extremely difficult situations due to circumstances triggered by outside forces.

He has written for a wide variety of magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. He is intrigued with the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald and owns more than 40 different editions of books by or about F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald's work, in fact, was a prominent influence on Bohjalian's "The Double Bind," which the L.A. Times called "a literary thriller."

A summa cum laude graduate of Amherst College (where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society), Bohjalian and his wife lived in Brooklyn, New York until 1986, when they decided to move to Vermont in order to retreat from city life. Here in 1992, Bohjalian began a weekly newspaper column entitled "Idyll Banter," in which he chronicled his everyday experiences. The column can be read online at or on his web site. Bohjalian still lives in Lincoln, Vermont, with his wife and daughter where he bikes, gardens and is active in both the local church and behind-the-scenes in the Vermont theater community.

Bohjalian joins an impressive group of authors who have spoken at previous Brady Author's Symposia, including Reynolds Price, Doris Betts, Lee Smith, Anne Rivers Siddons, Angela Davis-Gardner, Dannye Romine Powell, Josephine Humphries, Betty Adcock, Kay Gibbons, Fred Chappell, Robert Inman, John Berendt, Pat Conroy, Terry Kay, Jan Karon, Gail Godwin, Ann Hood, Tim McLaurin, Frances Mayes, Rick Bragg, Susan Vreeland, Jodi Picoult, Gish Jen and Joanne Harris. For more details or tickets, contact the Catawba College Public Relations Office at (704) 637-4393.




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