Karen Joy Fowler talks through her “provocative take on family love”

Tuesday 29 September 2015


“I wanted you to have an extraordinary life,” confesses Rosemary’s mother in Karen Joy Fowler’s Man Booker Prize nominated, swirling family drama: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Should she have been careful what she wished for?

Karen Joy Fowler will deliver a free public lecture examining her fictional tale of a psychologist father’s animal-human behaviour experiment on his children, and the repercussions in terms of grief, guilt and identity.

Fowler will appear at the Byre Theatre on Tuesday 6 October, 2015, 5.30pm as part of a collaborative venture with The Booker Prize Foundation.

Copies of her novel were gifted to every entrant undergraduate student joining the University this year as part of an ongoing scheme to spark the kind of debate and discussion on which universities thrive.

Fowler was shortlisted for the Booker Prize last year, the first year that US authors, and those from other non-Commonwealth countries, have been eligible for the prize. Since then We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves has sold more than three times the rest of the Booker shortlist combined.

2015-09-29T14:00 Booker-Karen-Fowler-mainbody-2Ursula Le Guin, author of The Earthsea Cycle, described it as: “the book she [Karen Joy Flowler]’s always had in her to write. She has told the story of an American family. An unusual family—but aren’t all families unusual? A very American, an only-in-America family—and yet an everywhere family, whose children, parents, siblings, love one another very much, and damage one another badly. Does the love survive the damage? Will human beings survive the damage they do to the world they love so much? A strong, deep, sweet novel.”

The visit is the seventh in an annual initiative designed to offer new students a common topic for discussion.

Launched in 2009, the St Andrews Man Booker Prize Project involves entrant undergraduate students being sent a copy of a Man Booker Prize shortlisted book, distributed by Wardens and their teams through Halls of Residence.

Conceived by University Principal Professor Louise Richardson and the chairman of the Booker Prize Foundation, it is hoped that the project will engage entrant students in intellectual debate.

Students, staff and the public are all welcome to attend. There will be a limited supply of copies of the book for sale on the night.

Notes to news editors

Karen Joy Fowler is the author of six novels and three short story collections. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014, won the PEN/Faulkner Prize and has sold over half a million copies.

For more info see: www.karenjoyfowler.com

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