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Author to discuss historical novel at Penn State Fayette

Marian Szczepanski
5/16/2014 —

The Coal and Coke Heritage Center (CCHC) at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, will host author Marian Szczepanski May 29 for a discussion of her book, Playing Saint Barbara, which is set in a Pennsylvania coal “patch.” She will speak about how our coal mining heritage inspired her novel as well as her use of the CCHC’s archival resources.

Stories about Ms. Szczepanski’s grandmothers’ lives in mining towns were the inspiration for Playing Saint Barbara. According to her website, “The big coal strike of 1928 ends, yet crosses still burn. Angry miners plot. Company policemen stalk and spy. Miner’s wife Clare Sweeney hides bruises inflicted by her husband — and her real name. Her three daughters harbor secrets of their own. Each knows (or guesses) only fragments of the others’ unvoiced stories. Their intertwined lives eerily mirror the 7th century legend of St. Barbara, patroness of miners, reenacted annually in the town pageant. Tested by scandal, heartbreak, and tragedy, each woman will write her own courageous ending to St. Barbara’s story.”

Ms. Szczepanski has an M.F.A. degree in creative writing from Warren Wilson College. She has received writing awards from the Clackamas Literary Review and the Houston Press Club, and has had residencies at Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and the Writer's Colony at Dairy Hollow.

The public is invited to this free event, which will take place May 29 at 6 p.m. in the Coal and Coke Heritage Center, located on the lower level of the library at Penn State Fayette.

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