Book-signing event celebrates Ochsner’s latest work
April 9, 2010
April 7, members of the Salem business community were hosted by Dick and Gayle Withnell to an evening with author Gina Ochsner, whose recent release, The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight, has gained international attention.
One hundred eighty guests gathered in Corban University’s Psalm Performing Arts Center. After being greeted by their hosts and introduced to Ochsner family members present, they were treated to a light dinner.
A brief program then honored Ochsner, who is an English adjunct instructor at Corban. She teaches creative writing at the University and leads by example, as demonstrated by her dream-book debut. Members of the Corban English department read excerpts from the novel, and Ochsner was interviewed by Corban Provost Matt Lucas, whose questions helped the audience understand the author’s process in writing.
“Gina has the gift for turning ordinary experiences and words into revelatory and transcendent ones,” said Lucas. “What the audience caught a glimpse of Wednesday night was the process by which she does this and the experiences she has had that color her writing.”
As a special highlight of the program, Lucas announced that Ochsner will be taking on a full-time role with Corban’s faculty, as she will become the University’s Writer In Residence, beginning July 1.
Lucas stated, “The addition of Gina Ochsner to the English faculty enhances Corban’s already strong writing program. Our students will have the opportunity to study with a gifted fictional writer as they explore the writing process, develop their own fictional voices and examine the role of narrative in the 21st century.”
Ochsner has won two prior Oregon Book Awards for her collections of short stories: The Necessary Grace to Fall, which also won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and People I Wanted to Be. Her most recent tale — with its cast of neighbors from a haunted, Siberian apartment block; whom character Tanya has co-opted into wooing potential benefactors for their city’s museum — is a finalist for the Ken Kesey Award for the Novel.
All three of Ochsner’s books were made available for purchase following the program. Emcee and Corban Vice President for Advancement Mike Bates invited guests to enjoy an informal dessert time and directed them to the book table where Ochsner personalized copies for guests.
By Jenny Hirschfelder, Staff Writer, Office of Marketing & Communications
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