Before becoming an award-winning author and the recipient of the fourth annual VCU First Novelist Award, Karen Fisher was a wrangler, trail guide, farmer, carpenter, tree trimmer, teacher, sailor and mother of three. Her historical novel, "A Sudden Country," published by Random House in 2005, is about the Oregon Trail, adulterous love and all the wonder of the American West in the 1840s.
"The prose is unique, distinct and beautiful with an economical presentation" says Andrew Blossom, this year's contest coordinator and a senior in VCU's graduate fiction writing program. "A Sudden Country" was chosen from more than 100 first-time novels by a reading committee of VCU alumni, upper-level undergraduates, English faculty and affiliated staff. Created to honor VCU's yearlong novel-writing course (the first in the country), the First Novelist Award serves to expose both students and writers in the community to the book and the author's journey from blank page to publication. Fisher will discuss her book on a panel about the literature of the American West with her agent Christina Ward, humanities professor Catherine Ingrassia and author/professor Susann Cokal at the VCU Commons, 907 Floyd Ave., at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10. The event will be followed by a reception. Admission is free and open to the public. S