25th Annual Key West Literary Seminar - January 11-14, 2007

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"Wondrous Strange: Mystery, Intrigue, and Psychological Drama"
January 11-14, 2007

Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb's first novel, She's Come Undone (Simon and Schuster/Pocket, 1992), was a # 1 New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and a featured title of Oprah's Book Club. Lamb's second novel, I Know This Much Is True (HarperCollins/ ReganBooks, 1998), was also a # 1 New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and a featured title of Oprah's Book Club. It was a Book of the Month Club main selection and the June 1999 featured selection of the Bertelsman Book Club, the national book club of Germany. Between them, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True have been translated into sixteen languages. Both are in development as major motion pictures.

Lamb is the editor of two books of nonfiction, a poetry text titled Always Begin Where You Are (McGraw-Hill, 1979) and Couldn't Keep It to Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters (HarperCollins/ReganBooks, 2003). The latter is an anthology of autobiographical essays which emerged from a writing workshop Lamb facilitates at Connecticut's York Correctional Institute, a maximum-security prison for women. Couldn't Keep It To Myself became the focus of controversy when the State of Connecticut, in response to the book's publication, sued the incarcerated writers for the cost of their imprisonment. The following year, after one of the book's contributors, Barbara Parsons Lane, received the 2004 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her published essay, the Connecticut Department of Correction closed down the writing program and ordered the destruction of the students' computer files. The story received national attention and, following an investigation by CBS's Sixty Minutes, the state's lawsuit against the incarcerated writers was settled, the program was reinstated, and the law was changed. The State of Connecticut can no longer sue inmates as punishment for their participation in rehabilitative programs. In December of 2004, SeniorNet, an international online service, chose Couldn't Keep It To Myself as its December 2004 book club selection. The online discussion that followed triggered an initiative. To date, SeniorNet members have collected and shipped thousands of books to American prison libraries.

Wally Lamb is a native of Norwich, Connecticut. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in teaching from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing degree from Vermont College. Lamb was in the ninth year of his twenty-five year career as a high school English teacher at his alma mater, the Norwich Free Academy, when he began to write fiction in 1981. He resigned from NFA in 1997 and, from 1997 to 1999, taught writing at the University of Connecticut, where he directed the English Department's creative writing program. He has served as a teaching volunteer at York Correctional Institution from 1999 to the present.

Wally Lamb has said of his fiction, "Although my characters' lives don't much resemble my own, what we share is that we are imperfect people seeking to become better people. I write fiction so that I can move beyond the boundaries and limitations of my own experiences and better understand the lives of others. That's also why I teach. As challenging as it sometimes is to balance the two vocations, writing and teaching are, for me, intertwined."

Honors for Wally Lamb include the Connecticut Center for the Book's Lifetime Achievement Award (2005), the Connecticut Bar Association's Distinguished Public Servive Award (2004), the Barnes and Noble "Writers for Writers" Award (2002), the Connecticut Governor's Arts Award (1998), The National Institute of Business/Apple Computers "Thanks To Teachers" award, and Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degrees from Eastern Connecticut State University (2002) and Connecticut College (2003). Lamb has received Distinguished Alumni awards from Vermont College and the University of Connecticut's School of Education. He was the 1999 recipient of the New England Book Award for fiction. I Know This Much Is True won the Friends of the Library USA Readers' Choice Award for best novel of 1998, the result of a national poll, and the Kenneth Johnson Memorial Book Award, which honored the novel's contribution to the anti-stigmatization of mental illness. She's Come Undone was a 1992 "Top Ten" Book of the Year selection in People magazine and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Best First Novel of 1992.

Wally and Christine Lamb are the parents of three sons. Jared Lamb, 24, is a Teach for America-trained educator currently working in Houston, Texas with Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Justin Lamb, 20, is a journalism major at Boston University and a slam poet. Teddy Lamb, 15, is a high school freshman who has earned his black belt in karate. The Lambs are residents of eastern Connecticut.

Wally Lamb is currently at work on his third novel, The Hour I First Believed, which explores chaos theory by interfacing several generations of a fictional Connecticut family with such nonfictional American events as the Civil War, Boston's 1942 Coconut Grove nightclub fire, and the Columbine High School shootings of 1999.

More (with audio link): www.oprah.com/obc/pastbooks/wally_lamb/obc_pb_19980618_abio.jhtml
More (with audio link): http://www.eyeonbooks.com/ibp.php?ISBN=006053429X

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