To Request Connie May as a speaker, please contact
Miriam Feuerle or Kate Gannon at the Lyceum Agency:
433 Northwest Fourth Avenue, 2nd Floor
Portland, Oregon 97209
Connie May is a sought after speaker who has addressed groups as diverse as the American Bar Association's book club, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's annual convention, The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society, The Joshua House Foundation, and colleges and universities nationwide.
The following is an excerpt from the Lyceum Agency website:
"When I was a small girl my parents fought every night. My sister and I would huddle together in our bedroom and I would beg her to read to me so that the sound of their voices might be drowned out. And so she would begin, reading to me from my children's books, night after night. Even then, before I had learned to read, I knew intimately the soul-saving power of literature."—Connie May Fowler
Connie May Fowler is a bestselling novelist, memoirist and screenwriter who believes in the transformative power of language. “Speak or write the words down, and the world becomes a clearer place,” she says. “Sometimes it even changes the world.” Her fiction explores the effects of poverty, child abuse and domestic violence, the lush landscape of her native Florida, the conflict between traditional cultures and the modern world, and the universal human need for relationships.
Fowler draws upon her own family’s long history of struggle and tragedy in her affecting and unvarnished storytelling. Born in North Carolina and raised in St. Augustine, Florida, she was the child of two alcoholics. She was six when her father died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving Fowler and her sister with their physically and emotionally abusive mother. Despite extreme poverty and abuse, Fowler was an excellent student and earned a scholarship to the University of Tampa. In Fowler’s freshman year, her mother died of cirrhosis, a devastating loss despite their difficult relationship. Writing became a kind of salvation for her, a way to make sense of her past hardships and to turn them into something positive and useful.
The questions Fowler asks are the ones we all ask: What is the meaning of one human life? How do we cope with loss, sorrow, or with our deepest fears? Where she takes us is not to mourning but to celebration.—Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
Her debut novel, Sugar Cage, was published in 1992 to critical acclaim. Amy Tan called Fowler “the genuine article,” adding: “She writes with tenderness of eye and an ear extraordinarily attuned to the cadence of language.” Fowler is the author of four other critically praised and widely popular novels: River of Hidden Dreams, Remembering Blue, Before Women Had Wings and her most recent, The Problem with Murmur Lee.
With River of Hidden Dreams, her second book, Fowler “established herself as a romantic dramatist of Florida’s fecund cultural blend and luxurious geography and wildlife,” wrote Joanna Duckworth in the Limited Sunday Times. Her next book, Before Women Had Wings, received the 1996 Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Francis Buck Award from the League of American Pen Women. Oprah Winfrey bought the movie rights to the book, and Fowler went on to write the screenplay for the subsequent Emmy-winning film.
Her most recent novel, The Problem with Murmur Lee, has been described by Sue Monk Kidd (bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees) as being “about all the things that matter: life, death, love, forgiveness, and the journey toward truth. Its deeply affecting story left me with an aching love for life.”
In addition to her fiction, Fowler is also the author of a bestselling memoir, When Katie Wakes, which details her descent into an abusive relationship with a charismatic older man and how she eventually gained the strength to leave. Kirkus Reviews called the book, “a searing and finely crafted memoir of youth and adulthood stunted by abuse.”
Fowler’s commitment to eradicating violence against women led her to found the Women with Wings Foundation. From 1997-2003 she was director of the nonprofit organization, which supports women and children as they attempt to leave abusive situations. In 2002 Fowler was honored with an Excellence Award for her work in this field by the Florida Coalition against Domestic Violence.
Connie May Fowler has been a professor of Creative Writing at Rollins College. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The London Times, The International Herald Tribune and elsewhere. In her presentations, she speaks with passion and candor about the power of storytelling, the craft of writing, memoir and domestic violence and women’s issues. She is at work on her seventh book which will be published in 2010.