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Novelist Stewart O'Nan visits Canisius College tonight

The Canisius College Contemporary Writers Series presents a reading by and discussion with Stewart O'Nan at 7:30 tonight (Thursday) in the Grupp Fireside Lounge of the college's Richard E. Winter Student Center, located on 80 Hughes St. in Buffalo.  The event is free and open to the public.

O'Nan is the award-winning, Pittsburgh-based author of twelve novels, including “Snow Angels” (1994), “A Prayer for the Dying” (1999),  “Last Night at the Lobster” (2007), “Songs for the Missing” (2008), and, most recently, “Emily, Alone”(Viking, 2011). 

His best-known nonfiction books include “The Circus Fire” (2000) — based on the Hartford, Connecticut Circus Fire of 1944 — and “Faithful,” a book about the Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series Championship season co-authored with Stephen King.

O'Nan, who once studied to be an aerospace engineer but went on to receive his M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Cornell University, was awarded the 1993 Drue Heinz Literature Prize for his debut collection of short stories "In the Walled City" (University of Pittsburgh Press).

His second novel "Snow Angels"(Doubleday, 1994) was adapted into motion picture by the same title by director David Gordon Green.  Actors Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale starred in the film, which 
was distributed by Warner Independent Films and debuted at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

While teaching at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in the mid 1990's, he compiled extensive research on Vietnam War memoirs and oral narratives that led to his 1996 novel "The Names of Dead."

In 1996, Granta Magazine included O'Nan in its list of the top twenty young American novelists.

His 2007 novel "Last Night at the Lobster," set in a New Britain, Connecticut Red Lobster restaurant on the last day of its existence in a local strip mall, anticipated the wave of "downsizing" and "New Depression" era fiction and non-fiction writing about working class life in America.

His most recent novel, "Emily, Alone" is a sequel to his 2002 novel "Wish You Were Here."   It follows the diminishing world of 80 year old Emily Maxwell, a widow now living alone after a lifetime dedicated to family life in all its heartbreaking dignity and intimate minutia.  How Emily  reinvents her sense of identity--and finds some measure of grace--under these circumstances becomes the question that drives O'Nan's gritty domestic realism.  

--R.D. Pohl


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