Novel Mélange

with Mojgan Ghazirad, Kathleen Rooney, and Laura Sims

Saturday, October 14, 2023
Fine Arts Stage, 3:00-3:45pm
*This event is ASL interpreted!

Is there anything the novel can’t do? New books by Mojgan Ghazarad, Kathleen Rooney, and Laura Sims suggest the answer is no, as they offer a panoramic view of the practices of literary fiction today:

Mojgan Ghazirad’s meditative debut The House on Sun Street, rooted in the author’s own experiences and evocatively arguing for the rights of young women everywhere,follows young Moji and her family in Tehran as she comes of age during the 1979 Iranian revolution and deals with intense upheavals, both on a national scale and in her own life.

Kathleen Rooney, author of everything from bestselling fiction to award-winning poetry to memoir and book reviews, now offers readers From Dust to Stardust. Based on an extraordinary true story and rooted in Hollywood’s silent film era, the book follows a fictional flapper as she becomes devoted to creating a one-ton miniature fairy castle, a fitting set piece for Rooney’s deft ability to narrate anything.

Laura Sims wrote critically acclaimed volumes of poetry before finding her second voice as novelist of psychological suspense with Looker, memorably described by Vogue as possessing “prose that moves between lyrical and caterwauling” and now in development for television. In her new book, How Can I Help You, two librarians get caught up in a web of mysterious (and potentially murderous) obsession, earning Sims her growing reputation as an heir to Shirley Jackson and Patricia Highsmith.

Any fiction reader will find something to love in this wide-ranging afternoon panel—come and be spellbound! 

About the Authors

Mojgan Ghazirad is a medical doctor and currently works as an assistant professor of pediatrics at The George Washington University. She holds an MFA in creative writing and has published three collections of short stories in Farsi in Iran and Europe: A Lover in White Jacket in 2012 in Iran, Turquoise Dream in 2014 in Germany, and her last collection In the Solitude of Suitcases in 2016 in the UK. Her essays have appeared in Michigan Quarterly ReviewIdaho ReviewLongreadsThe CommonBombay Review, and Assignment. She lives with her family in Great Falls, Virginia.

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a nonprofit publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait, a collective of poets and their vintage typewriters who compose poetry on demand. Her most recent books include the novels Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk and Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey. Her poetry collection Where Are the Snows won the 2021 X. J. Kennedy Prize and was published by Texas Review Press in fall of 2022. She is a winner of the Ruth Lilly Prize from Poetry magazine and the Adam Morgan Literary Citizen Award from the Chicago Review of Books, and her criticism appears in the New York TimesMinneapolis Star TribuneBrooklyn RailChicago magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago with her spouse, the writer Martin Seay, and teaches English and creative writing at DePaul University.

Laura Sims is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Looker, now in development for television with eOne and Emily Mortimer’s King Bee Productions. An award-winning poet, Sims has published four poetry collections; her essays and poems have appeared in The New RepublicBoston ReviewConjunctionsElectric LitGulf Coast, and more. She and her family live in New Jersey, where she works part-time as a reference librarian and hosts the library’s lecture series.