Robin Hemley, author of NOLA: A MEMOIR OF FAITH, ART, AND MADNESS, gives a lecture in this event sponsored by the Sacred Arts Festival.
Thursday, April 11, 2013 - Thursday, April 11, 2013
7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
St. Paul Campus Map
Free and Open to the Public
Each year the Sacred Arts Festival celebrates a specific theme by exploring it through several artistic forms including music, dance, literature, and the visual arts. Together the festival events offer opportunities to consider and articulate humanity's understanding of the divine. The festival’s 2013 theme is Passages: exploring transition, liminality, and pilgrimage as spiritual journey.
Robin Hemley is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on Do-Over! He has published seven books, and his stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and many literary magazines and anthologies. He is the editor of Defunct magazine. Robin received his MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop; he currently directs the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa and lives in Iowa City, IA.
Nola: A Memoir of Faith, Art, and Madness
The evidence at hand: an autobiography—complete with their mother's edits—written by his brilliant and disturbingly religious sister; a story featuring actual childhood events, but published as fiction; perjured court documents hidden in a drawer for decades. These are the clues Robin Hemley gathers when he sets out to reconstruct the life of his sister Nola, who died at the age of twenty-five after several years of treatment for schizophrenia. But Hemley, hampered by a "larcenous heart" that covets his sister's story for himself, discovers that finding the truth in any life—even one's own—is a fragmented and complex task. Nola: A Memoir of Faith, Art, and Madness is much more than a remembrance of a young woman who was consumed her entire life by a passion for God. It is also a look at what people choose to reveal and conceal, and an examination of the enormous toll mental illness takes on a family. Finally, it is a revelation of the alchemy that creates a writer: confidence in the unknowable, distrust of the proven, tortuous devotion to the fine print in life, and the sacrifice to writing itself as it plays the roles of confessor, scourge, and creator.