New York Times Best-Selling Author Made Appearance at Westminster
New York Times best-selling author Ron Hansen gave a reading from one of his books at 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 7, in the Lecture Hall of the Coulter Science Center on the Westminster College campus.
The event was free and open to the public and was sponsored by the Westminster English Department.
“We of the English Department are very pleased with our good fortune in being able to bring such a distinguished and recognized author to campus,” said Dr. Deb Brenegan, Associate Professor & Chair of the Westminster English Department. “Ron will not only give an interesting presentation to those in attendance but as a writer well represented in the publishing world and an instructor of writing himself can offer valuable advice to those budding writers.”
The New York Times called Hansen’s work “luminous” and Chicago Tribune has hailed his writing as “brilliant.”
His book The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford became a well-received film starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck.
Kirkus Book Reviews said: “This collection of 19 stories could be roughly divided into two types: Midwest realism and noirish entertainments.”
Two of Hansen’s novels, Mariette in Ecstasy and Atticus, have made best-seller lists. Atticus was recognized as a National Book Award finalist in 1996.
Born and reared in Nebraska, Hansen graduated from a Jesuit high school and went to Creighton University where he earned an English degree.
During the Vietnam War, he served in the U.S. Army at Fort Huachuca, AZ and thanks to the G.I. Bill, was able to enroll at the Iowa Writers Workshop where he became friends with author John Irving.
While making ends meet as a traveling textbook salesman, he published his first novel, Desperadoes.
In 1977, he was awarded the Wallace Stegner Fellowship in creative writing at Stanford University, where he remained until 1981.
He worked in a series of teaching jobs until a permanent position became available at the University of California Santa Cruz in 1989.
In 1996, Santa Clara University made him an endowed chair, the first to hold the Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., Professor of Arts and Humanities position. He has completed a master’s degree in spirituality at Santa Clara, teaches writing, and serves as a lector and Eucharistic minister there.
Hansen is married to a fellow writer, Bo Caldwell, and lives in San Jose, CA.