International author Per Petterson coming to CSB Sept. 18

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September 3, 2010

Per Petterson
Per Petterson

International award-winning author Per Petterson conducts a reading from his latest book, I Curse the River of Time, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18 at Gorecki Family Theater, Benedicta Arts Center of the College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is one of just five public appearances the Norwegian-born author will be making in the United States in support of his latest book.

Per PettersonI Curse the River of Time was originally published in 2008 in Norway. It captured the 2008 Norwegian Critics' Prize, the 2008 Brage Prize and the 2009 Nordic Council's Literature Prize, Norway's most prestigious literary award.

The book was translated into English earlier this year, and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. It was on the summer reading lists of the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Time and Newsday.

I Curse the River of Time is set in 1989, when Communism was crumbling across Europe. Arvid Jansen - a fictional variant of the author's younger self - is in the throes of a divorce, and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Over a few intense autumn days, the book follows Arvid as he struggles to find a new footing in his life, while all the established patterns around him are changing at a staggering speed.

The book is an honest, heartbreaking yet humorous portrayal of a complicated mother-son relationship.

Many literary fans know Petterson for his earlier work, Out Stealing Horses. It received the New York Times Best Book of the Year award and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (the world's largest monetary literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English). It also received "Book of the Year" awards from the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspapers, and Time magazine.

Petterson is a trained librarian, and worked as a bookstore clerk, translator and literary critic before becoming a full-time author.

His appearance at CSB is sponsored by the Literary Arts Institute. The LAI was founded in 1997 to foster creative writing, publishing and interaction between students and writers. The LAI brings nationally recognized authors to the college, promotes literary events, holds conferences, supports publications and encourages the artistry of fine letterpress. With its local and national partners, such as Graywolf Press, the LAI is able to bring writers and their work together with readers.

Petterson also conducts a reading at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20 at the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis. Tickets for Petterson's Guthrie reading are $8 in advance, $10 the day of the event and $5 for students. CSB is a co-sponsor of the Minneapolis event.