Chatham News

Author, Margot Livesey, Visits Chatham as 2017 Melanie Brown Lecturer

PITTSBURGH: On Wednesday, September 20, at 8 p.m. in the Welker Room of James Laughlin Music Hall, on Chatham University’s Shadyside campus, the Chatham University MFA in Creative Writing Program will welcome Margot Livesey as the Melanie Brown Lecturer. Melanie and Fred R. Brown established the Melanie Brown Lecture Series in 2008 to support a two-day campus visit by an established author whose fiction writing is guided by a strong sense of place.

The event is free and open to the public. Contact MFA Program Assistant, Kelly Kepner, at k.kepner@chatham.edu for more information.

Margot Livesey
Margot Livesey

Margot Livesey grew up in a boys’ private school in the Scottish Highlands where her father taught, and her mother, Eva, was the school nurse. After taking a B.A. in English and philosophy at the University of York in England she spent most of her twenties working in shops and restaurants and learning to write. Her first book, a collection of stories called Learning By Heart, was published by Penguin Canada in 1986. Since then Margot has published seven novels: Homework, Criminals, The Missing World, Eva Moves the Furniture, Banishing Verona, The House on Fortune Street, and The Flight of Gemma Hardy. Her eighth novel, Mercury, was published in September 2016 by HarperCollins.

Margot has taught at Boston University, Bowdoin College, Brandeis University, Carnegie Mellon, Cleveland State, Emerson College, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Tufts University, the University of California at Irvine, the Warren Wilson College MFA program for writers, and Williams College. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the N.E.A., the Massachusetts Artists’ Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts. Margot is currently teaching at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives with her husband, a painter, in Cambridge, MA, and goes back to London and Scotland whenever she can.

Praise for Margot Livesey:

“Every novel of Margot Livesey’s is, for her readers, a joyous discovery. Her work radiates with compassion and intelligence and always, deliciously, mystery.” – Alice Sebold, author of Lucky, The Lovely Bones, and Almost the Moon

“In Mercury, as in her previous work, Livesey’s prose has a brusque sensuality: It reads lucid and forthright and lean.”  – Leah Hager Cohen, Boston Globe

“Livesey’s latest (following The Flight of Gemma Hardy) is a fiercely intelligent exploration of the ways blindness—to ourselves, others, and the power of passion and grief—can divide and transform us.” – Publishers Weekly, on Mercury

 About The Melanie Brown Lecture Series and Melanie and Fred Brown:
Melanie and Fred R. Brown are life-long residents of western Pennsylvania. Avid readers, the Browns began collecting contemporary American and international literary fiction and mysteries in the early 1980s. In February 2010 they generously donated the collection to Chatham University. The Melanie and Fred R. Brown Special Collection of Literary Fiction is permanently housed in the Jennie King Mellon Library, the primary research, study, and resource center for the Chatham community. The donation of their treasured book collection only enhanced the Browns’ relationship with Chatham, which began with the establishment of the Melanie Brown Lecturer in 2008. Each year the endowed fund supports a two-day campus visit by an established author whose fiction writing is guided by a strong sense of place.

About Chatham’s MFA in Creative Writing Program:
Chatham’s MFA in Creative Writing program consists of both an on-the-ground full-residency program and a low-residency, online program with concentrations in travel writing, teaching, publishing, or nature writing in addition to a primary genre focus (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or children’s writing).  The program offers innovative field seminars that include travel to such places as Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, and Germany. The Words Without Walls program, in which MFA students go into the Allegheny County Jail to teach inmates creative writing, is one of several social outreach programs developed and run by Chatham MFA students that offer transformative experiences for both students and an underserved population. In 2007 Poets & Writers named the MFA one of “Nine Distinctive Programs” and The Atlantic Monthly named it one of five innovative/unique programs in the country in its “Best of the Best” graduate program listings. In 2009, The Writer named it one of ten programs that offer a specialty focus. For more information, visit www.chatham.edu/mfa.

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