2010-11 Wittenberg Series Concludes With Presentation By Novelist Sara Gruen April 7
Published Mar. 23, 2011
Springfield, Ohio — Bestselling novelist Sara Gruen will speak at the Wittenberg Series-sponsored Dr. Allen J. Koppenhaver Literary Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in Wittenberg University’s historic Weaver Chapel.
A book signing will immediately follow Gruen’s presentation, which is open to the public free of charge. The Dr. Allen J. Koppenhaver Literary Lecture, named for the longtime Wittenberg professor of English who passed away in 1993, is presented through the support of the Ellen, Lloyd, Margaret and Lanty Smith Endowed Fund for Wittenberg.
Recipient of the 2007 Book Sense Book of the Year Award and numerous other recognitions, Sara Gruen has penned several acclaimed novels, including Water for Elephants, an instant #1 New York Times bestseller with more than three million copies in print. Partially based on real circus stories, the novel chronicles the harsh and sleazy underside of a Depression-era circus as it tells the story of its star-crossed lovers. A movie version of the book will debut in April 2011.
Released in 2010, her latest novel, Ape House, was inspired by the bonobos and scientific research at Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa. Thriller, satire, morality tale, Ape House — like all three of her previous books — explores human-animal relations and the capacity of animals to think and communicate.
A former technical writer, Gruen published her first book, Riding Lessons, in 2004. She lives with her husband, three children, two dogs, four cats, two horses and a goat in North Carolina.
Prior to her lecture, Gruen will participate in an English department colloquium at 4 p.m. in Ness Family Auditorium in Hollenbeck Hall.
A distinguished professor, musician, author and critic, Koppenhaver joined Wittenberg’s faculty in 1961. Recipient of Wittenberg’s top faculty prize, the Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching, and a Fulbright Scholar, Koppenhaver was also a noted tuba player, having played with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus Band in the early 1950s. In addition, Koppenhaver earned an international reputation as a librettist following several collaborations with composer Robert J. Haskins, Wittenberg class of 1961. Together the two partnered on numerous critically acclaimed musical and dramatic projects, including The Masque of Red Death, A Piano Comes to Arkansas, and The Night Luther Died.
An expert on the music of American composer Charles Ives and British poet T.S. Eliot, Koppenhaver also drew high praise for his play Transparent Morning, which premiered in 1975. He was eventually named an Honorary Alumnus of Wittenberg University, where he taught until his passing in 1993 at the age of 61. Koppenhaver earned his Ph.D. from Duke University, his M.A. from Ohio University, and his B.A. from Lebanon Valley College.
Written By: Gabrielle Antoniadis