Murray to discuss engaging history in fiction writing
While in her 20s, Murray began research on the short story collection “The Caprices” as a way of understanding her mother, who — as a child — experienced the Japanese invasion of Manila. Winner of the 2002 PEN/Faulkner award, the stories tell of the Pacific campaign of the Second World War. “The experience of creating something both large and historical, but that had something personal at stake,” she says, has influenced all her subsequent books.
Murray is currently at work on a novel, “Valiant Gentlemen,” that explores the relationship between Herbert Ward, artist and adventurer, and Roger Casement, humanitarian and revolutionary. Her talk explains the draw of writing about these two men, whose personal dramas played out against the backdrop of the Belgian Congo, the Irish Uprising of 1916, the Parisian modernist art scene and the First World War. Murray will present her approach to her own work and demonstrate how histories—public and private—continue to be a constant source of inspiration.
Commonwealth Honors College introduced its Faculty Lecture Series in 2011 in recognition of university faculty who have made significant contributions to research or creative activity. Through lectures that highlight academic excellence and scholarship, these faculty share their ideas and insight with honors students in sessions open to the campus community.
Many of the talks in the faculty lecture series relate to themes in "Ideas that Changed the World," the seminar in which honors students examine books and other works that have profoundly shaped the world. The texts in this class and the related faculty lectures are meant to be exemplary for students who have the potential themselves to achieve outstanding things.