ABERDEEN, S.D. – Northern State University’s Dr. Pen Pearson will release her debut novel on Sept. 1.
“Bloomsbury's Late Rose” will be published by Brooklyn publisher Chickadee Prince Books. It’s currently available for pre-order in paperback from your favorite local independent bookstore, Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as on Kindle.
Pearson, professor of English at Northern, will officially launch her book with a reading, Q&A and signing on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the rotunda of NSU Williams Library.
“Bloomsbury’s Late Rose” dramatizes the remarkable life of poet Charlotte Mew, who lived in London at the turn of the 20th century and whose poignant verse won the hearts of both British and American readers. To achieve fame, Charlotte’s one childhood ambition besides motherhood, she would have to face genteel poverty, religious doubt, mental illness, obsessive love and personal betrayal.
Pearson said the idea for the novel came from a couple of places.
“First, when I wrote my master’s thesis on Mew’s poetry, I became intrigued by her unusual life,” she said. “Second, the growing popularity of biographical novels led me to think Mew would be a perfect subject and that a novel would be a great way to introduce prose readers to Mew’s poetry.”
After a lot of research and two trips to London, Pearson drafted and revised the novel. Now, she’s gratified at the critical response to the book. She was interviewed by Audere Magazine, and this fall she will appear on Patzi Gil's syndicated radio show and Cyrus Webb's podcast.
Kirkus Reviews writes, “In its pacing and style, the novel earnestly evokes the works of Edith Wharton and other writers from the period without ever stumbling into parody or awkward pastiche. In Mew’s story, Pearson not only uncovers central questions of first-wave feminism, but also finds an opportunity to resurrect an intriguing and worthwhile real-life poet for posterity. A rich, enjoyable historical novel with compelling themes.”
Susan Breen, author of the Penguin Random House novel, “Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency,” says, “This beautiful story transported me to a different era. Charlotte Mew is a haunting heroine: brave, talented and tormented. I loved her, and I loved this novel.” Tracey Iceton, author of “Herself Alone in Orange Rain,” calls the book “truly vivid and wonderfully insightful… written with such skill that I found myself walking the Edwardian London streets alongside Mew.”
Pearson, also the author of the two books of poetry, teaches creative writing and American literature at Northern. She has lived in South Dakota her entire adult life, earning an M.A. in English from SDSU and a Ph.D. in English from USD before taking her position at NSU in 2002. Pearson is the founder and director of “A Writer Reads,” a series that brings at least two visiting writers to Northern’s campus annually, and an advisor to “Northern Lights,” NSU’s student literary magazine. She has received two artist grants from the South Dakota Arts Council.
About Northern State University
Northern State University is a regional university that offers outstanding academics and exceptional extracurricular activities at an affordable price on a safe, welcoming campus. Northern State recently announced its Educational Impact Campaign, with a goal of raising $55 million for a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, new athletic and recreation fields, and an on-campus regional sports complex. Once the campaign is complete, NSU will be the recipient of more than $100 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions.