Imagined Biographies: Gavin McCrea and Therese Anne Fowler

Tuesday October 20, 2015
07:00 pm

Tags: Event



Part 2



Photo Credit: Euene Langan (McCrea)


Presented in partnership with Irish Arts Center


We welcomed writer Gavin McCrea for the launch of his acclaimed debut novel Mrs. Engels. McCrea spoke with Therese Anne Fowler, The New York Times bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.


In a conversation moderated by writer Julie Buntin, McCrea and Fowler discussed their fictional heroines and the historical women who inspired them. The novelists also shared their approaches to research and explored the choices writers make when imagining characters who lived actual lives in the past—documented or otherwise.



About Mrs. Engels

McCrea's widely praised Mrs. Engels follows the life of Lizzie Burns, longtime lover of Communist Manifesto co-author Frederick Engels. Lizzie is known to us only through the Marx/Engels correspondence, as she was an illiterate millworker who left no historical record of her own. The Guardian raves, "McCrea’s fictional speculation makes a fine symphony out of the silence that surrounds Lizzie Burns” and Publishers Weekly calls the novel "richly imagined." Of Fowler's Z, People magazine declares, "it animates an entire era" and Booklist adds, "Fowler renders rich period detail in this portrayal of a fascination woman both blessed—and cursed— by fame.”



Gavin McCrea was born in Dublin in 1978 and holds an MA and a PhD from the University of East Anglia. He currently lives in London, England and northern Spain. Mrs. Engels is his first novel.


Therese Anne Fowler is the author of the New York Times best seller Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. Her essays have been published internationally in newspapers and magazines such as The Week, the London Telegraph and Harper's Bazaar, and her novel is available in numerous languages worldwide. She has a BA in sociology/cultural anthropology and an MFA in creative writing. A proud member of Phi Beta Kappa and PEN, she nonetheless has failed to move to Brooklyn, residing instead in Raleigh, NC, with author and professor John Kessel and their three endearing but incorrigible cats.