KU News Release

March 29, 2011
Contact: Laura Moriarty, Department of English, 785-864-4520

Award-winning novelist A. Manette Ansay to give reading April 4

More Information

LAWRENCE — An award-winning novelist, short story writer and memoirist who discovered her writing talent when illness threatened her plans to be a concert pianist will give a reading at the University of Kansas.

A. Manette Ansay, author of six novels, including “Good Things I Wish You” (2009) and “Midnight Champagne” (1999), and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, will read at 6 p.m. Monday, April 4, at the Malott Room in the Kansas Union. The event is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Department of English.

Ansay, who had trained as a concert pianist throughout her adolescence, was a 19-year-old student at the Peabody Conservatory of Music when an undiagnosed muscle disorder left her unable to walk and — perhaps more devastatingly — unable to play the piano. In 1988, at age 23, Ansay was using a motorized wheelchair and had dedicated herself to fiction writing. Her first book, “Vinegar Hill,” was published in 1994.

Her memoir, “Limbo” (2001), recounts Ansay’s struggle to redefine herself and her ambitions in the face of a mysterious illness. Publishers Weekly called the memoir “gorgeous,” adding that Ansay “never lets this memoir devolve into one of those stories about ‘crippled children with heroic personalities.’ ” Critics praised Ansay’s memoir as an honest and candid grappling with the limitations of her new life, as a person and as an artist.

Ansay has won a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Pushcart Prize and two Great Lakes Book Awards. The title story of her short story collection, “Read This and Tell Me What It Says,” won the 1992 Nelson Algren Award.

She was the writer-in-residence at Phillips Exeter Academy and taught as a visiting writer at Warren Wilson College, the University of the South and Marquette University, where she held the Women’s Chair in Humanistic Studies.

She lives with her daughter in Florida, where she teaches in the master’s of fine arts program at the University of Miami.

More information about Ansay and her writing career can be found at www.amanetteansay.com.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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