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Pulitzer Prize Finalist Marianne Wiggins to Talk at East Tennessee History Center

marianne wigginsBy Jeaneane Payne

Evidence of Things Unseen (2003) by Marianne Wiggins tells a tale about three entrepreneurs in Knoxville, Tennessee who start up a business together. One is a man who falls in love with the 14-year-old daughter of a powerful politician after World War I and is jailed for violating the Mann Act. Another has a passion for science and ends up working at a secret government facility, where he and his wife contract a fatal case of radiation poisoning.

Wiggins' book includes impressive detail of locale and history. From post war life in downtown Knoxville to the rise of TVA and the build out of the Manhattan Project, Wiggins captures a backdrop that we know well. Her nuanced tale of love and science captures our hearts.

Friends of Knox County Public Library will host an Evening with Marianne Wiggins at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at the East Tennessee History Center. In honor of a shared 125 year history of the Knox County Public Library and the Knoxville News Sentinel, the public is invited to attend this rare literary event with Marianne Wiggins. Books will be available for sale at the event.

Evidence of Things Unseen (2003) won great critical acclaim as the National Book Award Finalist and a Pulitzer Prize Finalist.

Reader Review: By Brett Benner, Los Angeles CA -- "There are many book I read, and truly enjoy, and happily give them a five star review. This is the kind of book that reminds you what five stars should truly represent. A heartbreaking and beautiful love story threaded through the creation of the atomic bomb, and America's call to arms, Wiggins has a bounty of just gorgeous prose at her fingertips that she depenses like cultured pearls. Watching the lives of Fos and Opal as they navigate through major events in American history including two wars, the Scopes trial, and creation of the TVA, is both tenderly fascinating and crushing. This is what fantastic writing is all about." Buy the Book

Marianne Wiggins was born the daughter of a conservative Christian preacher in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and lived in London as a young adult, where she met and married Salman Rushdie in 1988. A year later after their wedding, they were forced to live in exile after learning that the Ayatollah Khomeini had ordered Rushdie's death. In 1993, the couple divorced.

Wiggins has written nine novels including John Dollar and The Shadow Catcher. She is the recipient of a Whiting Award, an NEA grant, and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and she was a National Book Award finalist in fiction for Evidence of Things Unseen. The scientific information that informs Evidence of Things Unseen is entirely self-taught and the result of five years of research.

She currently lives in Los Angeles, California and teaches at the University of Southern California.

Published January 7, 2012

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