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ND Literary Festival welcomes Audrey Niffenegger

Marielle Hampe | Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Audrey Niffenegger, author of the internationally bestselling novel “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” will conclude this year’s ND Literary Festival Wednesday. A book signing will follow Niffenegger’s speech, and copies of “The Time Traveler’s Wife” will be available for purchase at the event.

“The Time Traveler’s Wife” won the 2005 Exclusive Books Boeke Prize and a 2006 British Book Award. The novel was published in 2003, and a film version starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana was released in 2009. The novel has sold over five million copies and has been translated into 33 languages.

“The Time Traveler’s Wife” is a love story about a female artist, Clare, and her husband, Henry, who has a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably. Henry first meets Clare when he is 28 and she is 20, but Clare meets Henry for the first time when she is 6 and Henry is 36. Henry is involuntarily pulled to random moments in the past, present or future, and Clare’s linear and normal adolescence is dotted with memories of Henry appearing to her from different moments in time.

Clare struggles with the turmoil of always being the one left behind to wait for Henry to reappear, and Henry’s inability to take clothing or identification with him while he time travels leaves him helpless and dependent on his survival skills. The intersection of Clare and Henry’s life is not ordinary, and Niffenegger’s edgy style complimented by themes of love, death, sex and time make “The Time Traveler’s Wife” a suspenseful and exciting read.

Audrey Niffenegger is a perfect guest for NDLF,” senior Felicia Aguirre, chair of the Literary Festival said. “She is a popular and entertaining writer, but she also has a unique and interesting writing style.

“In a world where art seems unstable, Audrey Niffenegger fights for tradition. She is both an artist and a writer, and produces hand-painted books. In fact, when Niffenegger originally got the idea for ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife,’ it came to her just as a title on her sketchpad. She soon figured out it would make a better novel than a picture book. I think students will be able to learn from Niffenegger how to participate in an ever-changing artistic world,” Aguirre said.

Niffenegger is most recognized for her novel, but has enjoyed success in other fields as well. Niffenegger is a professor and has produced numerous drawings, paintings, prints and visual books. She helped found the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, and was a professor at Columbia College’s MFA program in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts. She is now on the faculty of the Columbia College Fiction Writing Department.

Recent works by Niffenegger include the novel “Her Fearful Symmetry,” released in 2009, and “The Night Bookmobile,” a serialized graphic novel that originally appeared in the London Guardian and was published in book form in September 2010. She is currently working on her third novel, “The Chinchilla Girl in Exile.”

Niffenegger’s creativity and experience as an artist allows her to challenge the traditional bounds of fiction writing to produce exquisitely woven and original stories. Whether you are a fan of Niffenegger’s skills or want to learn more about the creation of Clare and Henry and how their entangled adventure ends, stop by Jordan Hall of Science Wednesday at 7 p.m. to enjoy Niffenegger’s speech.