Novelist Nancy Rawles to Speak at CWU Feb. 23

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Award-winning novelist and playwright Nancy Rawles will visit Central Washington University Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the SURC Theatre. Rawles, who makes her home in Seattle, will talk to students and members of the Ellensburg community about her latest novel, “About Jim.”

Rawels’ visit is free and open to the public and is part of the Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series, which brings dynamic literary writers from the region to campus to meet with students and give public readings.

According to series committee member and Associate Professor of English Katharine Whitcomb,  “The novel is written from a creative perspective: a re-visioning of the character Jim from Mark Twain’s ‘Huckleberry Finn.’”

Set in 19th century Missouri and Louisiana, “My Jim” is about the awe-inspiring power of love. The book follows the story of Sadie as she struggles to cope with the loss of her husband, Jim, after his escape down the Mississippi River.

According to Rawles’ Web site, the book was, “…inspired in part by the truth at the center of Victor Frankl’s memoir, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning.’”

A New York Times’ review about the book states it is “…as heart-wrenching a personal history as any recorded in American literature.”

Rawles briefly worked as a journalist before moving to theatre, where she studied playwriting in Chicago and Los Angeles. She is the author of three critically acclaimed and award-winning novels: “Love Like Gumbo,” which won an American Book Award, “Crawfish Dreams,” which was selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Program, and “My Jim,” the winner of an American Library Association’s Alex Award and the Legacy Award in Fiction from the Hurston/Wright Foundation. Visit to read more about the author.

The Wildcat Shop will provide books by Rawles for sale at the reading.

The CWU English department and the dean of the College of Arts and Humanities sponsor the Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series, which has hosted many critically acclaimed and award-winning writers including poet Lucia Perillo, creative nonfiction and fiction writer Kim Barnes and novelist David Guterson. The series allows community members and CWU students an opportunity to experience the work of up-and-coming writers. To get more information about the series, visit, or contact Ashley Dykes at Persons with disabilities may request reasonable accommodation by calling the Center for Disability Services at 509‑963‑2171 or TDD 509‑963‑2143.


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