Kate Bernheimer to read for Writing Program Reading Series Sept. 16 and 23

Visiting Hurst professor updates and expands traditional fairy tales

Novelist Kate Bernheimer, the Visiting Fannie Hurst Professor of Creative Literature in the Department of English in Arts & Sciences, will present a pair of events Sept. 16 and 23 as part of the Writing Program Reading Series.

A fishmonger’s daughter befriends a tulip bulb. A desperate wife secrets a petting zoo in her basement. Two sisters explore love and violence by enacting imaginary scenes from Star Wars.

The haunting modern fairy tales of Kate Bernheimer both echo and update stories and motifs drawn from traditional German, Russian and Yiddish folklore.

This fall, Bernheimer, the Visiting Fannie Hurst Professor of Creative Literature in Washington University’s Department of English in Arts & Sciences, will present two events as part of the Writing Program Reading Series.

At 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, Bernheimer will lead a talk on the craft of fiction. The following week, Bernheimer will read from her own work, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23.

Both events are free and open to the public and take place in Hurst Lounge, Room 201 Duncker Hall. A reception and book signing immediately will follow each.

For more information, call (314) 935-7130 or e-mail David Schuman at dschuman@wustl.edu.

Bernheimer is the author of three novels: The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold (2002), The Complete Tales of Merry Gold (2006) and The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold (forthcoming in 2011).

Centering on a trio of sisters — introverted Ketzia, obsessive Merry and blithe Lucy — these innovative, interlocking stories are at once comic, lyrical and heart-rending, a hallucinatory mixture of contemporary fable and postmodern family saga.

“Each of Kate Bernheimer’s marvelous books is precious, strange and impossible to anticipate,” says writer and former Hurst Professor Rikki Ducornet, “an oyster concealing a tiger’s eye or a child’s game of doll tea staged by Hieronymus Bosch.”

Bernheimer also is author of the collection Horse, Flower, Bird (2010) and the children’s book The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum (2008). Two additional children’s books, The Girl Who Wouldn’t Brush Her Hair and The Lonely Book, are forthcoming.

In addition, Bernheimer is editor of three anthologies centering on fairy tales: Mirror Mirror on the Wall (1998), Brothers & Beasts (2007) and the forthcoming My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me.

In 2005, she founded, and currently remains editor of Fairy Tale Review, the leading literary journal dedicated to fairy tales as a contemporary art form.

Bernheimer is associate professor and writer-in-residence at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, where she teaches each spring. She spends the rest of the year living and writing in Tucson, Ariz.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Novelist Kate Bernheimer

WHAT: Two events

WHEN: Talk on the craft of fiction: 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16; Reading from her work: 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23

WHERE: Hurst Lounge, Room 201, Duncker Hall

COST: Free

INFORMATION: (314) 935-7130 or dschuman@wustl.edu