Dordt College News

Author Gina Ochsner at Dordt College February 19

February 13, 2009


Fiction writer Gina Ochsner, author of The Necessary Grace to Fall and People I Wanted to Be, will present a public book reading and discussion at Dordt College on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Science and Technology Center Lecture Hall S-101.

Ochsner’s visit is hosted by the Dordt College English Department. In addition to Thursday night’s public appearance, she will speak to several Dordt classes and with two area book clubs.

Ochsner is an acclaimed author whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, many other magazines, and two books of short stories, The Necessary Grace to Fall and People I Wanted to Be.

She has won more than 20 awards for her writing, including the Flannery O’Connor Award, the Oregon Book Award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association award, the Raymond Carver Prize, and the Chelsea Award for Short Fiction. She was one of 50 writers awarded a 2006 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, allowing her to do research in Latvia and Russia for two novels-in-progress, The Persuasion of Water and Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight.

A native and resident of Oregon, Ochsner graduated from George Fox College, then enrolled at Iowa State where she earned a master’s degree in English in 1994. She is a profoundly Christian writer who uses “magical realism” to tell her stories.

“It is in strange or extreme situations that our essential human nature can be revealed,” says Ochsner. “This kind of fiction is an exploration of the human heart by unconventional means.” Ochsner says that in the realm of magical realism, the plot events, the background setting, and the props may be odd or absurd, but people’s reactions to basic problems are utterly human. That gives readers an opportunity to observe human behavior in a way that delights the senses, stretching our perceptions, making us laugh, and seeing the world in a new way. The inspiration for her style, she says, comes from her childhood Bible reading, where donkeys talk and bread falls from the sky.

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