Prize-winning Author and UMass Amherst Alumnus Peter Manseau to Speak on 'Collecting Gods' April 27

April 24, 2009

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AMHERST, Mass. – Peter Manseau, a prize-winning novelist, religious scholar and alumnus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst will give a talk titled, “Collecting Gods: Why Telling Stories About Other People’s Beliefs Might Just Save the World” on Monday, April 27, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the room 604 of Goodell Hall, the Oasis seminar room. The event is free and open to the public.

Manseau’s first book, Vows, is a personal memoir about his parents, a former nun and a former priest. His first novel, Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter, won the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction in 2008. His latest book is Rag and Bone: A Journey Among the World’s Holy Relics.

Critics have praised Manseau’s work. “Peter Manseau’s Rag and Bone reads like a novel, entertains like a television docudrama, and educates like the best college professor you ever had,” says Michael Shermer, columnist for Scientific American, and author of Why People Believe Weird Things and Why Darwin Matters.

“Huge in scope and soul, Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter is a sweeping, lyrical, utterly consuming epic. Peter Manseau is a writer with the heart of a mystic, and his novel is an extraordinary gift, says Elisa Albert, author of The Book of Dahlia and How This Night Is Different.

Manseau graduated from UMass Amherst in 1996. He designed his own major, “Literature and Religious Thought,” through the Bachelor’s Degree With Individual Concentration program and the department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies. He was also enrolled in Commonwealth College, the university’s honors college. He studied closely with Julius Lester, now an emeritus professor of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies.

This event is sponsored by the Bachelor''s Degree With Individual Concentration program and the department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies.