Bernheimer to speak for Writing Program

Fiction writer Kate Bernheimer will read from her work at 8 p.m. Feb. 26 in Duncker Hall, Room 201, Hurst Lounge for the Writing Program in Arts & Sciences’ spring Reading Series.

She is the author of a trilogy of novels: “The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold” (2001); “The Complete Tales of Merry Gold” (2006) and the forthcoming “The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold,” based on themes found in German, Russian and Yiddish folklore.

She also is the editor of two essay collections: “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales” (1998) and “Brothers & Beasts: An Anthology of Men on Fairy Tales” (2007).

Bernheimer is editor and founder of the journal Fairy Tale Review, the leading literary journal devoted to fairy tales as an art form.

“For Kate Bernheimer, fairy tales — the ones that inform her fiction, in any case — are as visceral a part of her as her blood and bones, an apparatus of her memory, a grammar of her nervous system, an x-ray of her psyche,” said Kathryn Davis, Hurst senior writer in residence in WUSTL’s Department of English in Arts & Sciences.

“To read Kate’s fiction is to find yourself in the presence of what feels like utterly ruthless and breathtaking realism, despite the fact that a dead child returns in the form of two pennies hidden under the floor boards, or an old beggar woman burns to a “black smudge” after getting too close to a suburban fireplace,” Davis added.

In 2008, Bernheimer wrote her first children’s book, “The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum,” recently named one of the Best Books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly.

Bernheimer is an assistant professor in the MFA Program of Creative Writing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

When asked why she writes about, studies and supports the fairy tale genre, Bernheimer said, “I consider fairy tales to be of tantamount literary importance — perhaps the single most influential body of work on hundreds of years of literature.

“I also think fairy tales contain the secret of the world, which is that it is violent, insane, beautiful, transient, fated and almost gone and so ever-after,” Bernheimer said.

Bernheimer’s talk is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will follow.

For more information, call 935-7130 or e-mail David Schuman at