Special to the Journal
GAINESVILLE, Ga – New York Times best-selling author Mary Alice Monroe appears for a free public speaking engagement at Brenau University’s historic Pearce Auditorium on Monday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m., to discuss her book, The Butterfly’s Daughter.
Monroe, author of more than a dozen novels, non-fiction titles and children’s books, established her forte for “environmental fiction” when she located in coastal South Carolina. The already-successful writer says, she was captivated by the beauty and fragility of her new home. Her experiences living in the midst of a habitat that was quickly changing gave her a strong and important focus for her books.
The Butterfly’s Daughter, which won the International Book Award for Green Fiction in 2011, was chosen as the required “common reader” for all Brenau Women’s College.
The novel is the story of four very different women who embark on a transformational journey that follows the migrating monarch butterflies across the United States to Mexico.
Doing extensive interviews and hands-on research as part of her writing process, Monroe said that the most remarkable experience was her journey to the monarch winter sanctuaries in Michoacán, Mexico. Like Luz and Mariposa, characters in The Butterfly’s Daughter, her journey including riding skinny horses to reach the butterflies’ sanctuary in the mountains that were about 9,000 feet high.
“I traveled with monarchs across Georgia, a wonderful group. I learned not only a great deal about monarchs, but about the problems Mexico is having protecting the sanctuaries,” “When the sun broke from a cloud I witnessed millions of monarch butterflies burst into the air like orange confetti. The sky was filled with winged joy. The experience was spiritual and what I imagined heaven must be like.” Many of the characters in The Butterfly’s Daughter go through a metamorphosis, or change. “It’s easy to understand why the butterfly is a powerful symbol of transformation in many religions and cultures around the world.”
Monarchs, she said, are “the only butterfly– the only insect – that migrates like a bird or a whale. Every fall this brave, fragile creature travels thousands of miles across the country, joining millions of others, to reach their overwintering grounds in Mexico. It is a sacred journey of instinct and courage.”
Monroe is the bestselling author of Last Light over Caroling and Time is a River as well as over a dozen acclaimed novels. Reviewers credit her with an ability to celebrate both the complexities of the human psyche and the splendor of nature.
After her Brenau talk, Monroe will be available to sign books, which can be purchased on site through the Brenau campus bookstore. The Butterfly’s Daughter and other titles, including Monroe’s latest novel, The Summer Girls, will be available.
Published worldwide, she has achieved many lists, including the New York Times, USA Today and SIBA. Monroe has received numerous awards, including several Readers’ Choice Awards, RT Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing. She has been featured at the National Festival of the Book.
For more information call 770-534-6297 or email Brenau Humanities Department Chair Ken Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.