Erin Kate Ryan will be at MacDowell here in Peterborough late May and early June and we are excited that she has offered to take the time to visit our store and talk about her debut novel Quantum Girl Theory. We hope you will join us.
On December 1, 1946, Paula Jean Weldon, a Bennington College student, disappeared. She was never found. What happened to her? Where did she go, to escape society's vision of her, and who did she become? In this novel, Erin Kate Ryan springs off from that real, unsolved case of a missing girl to imagine what might have happened to Paula Jean, to girls who decide to drop out of one life and create for themselves another one. The narrator of this mesmerizing novel is Mary, a clairvoyant detective who specializes in finding missing girls. She's a missing girl herself, and she also has the gift of "the Sight," whereby she believes she receives signals from other missing girls. She--and we--learn about the lives of six or seven different versions of who Paula Jean might have become: did she become a circus performer, a McCarthy-era informer, a murderess, a murder victim? When Mary arrives in a small Southern town in the 1960s, to find a missing girl, she discovers that in fact not one but three girls in this town are missing--a white girl, and two unreported black girls the town isn't talking about - Evie and Jack, who are in a romantic relationship.
Kirkus Reviews calls it "A puzzler that is both brainy and full of satisfying narrative brawn."
Erin Kate lives in a decaying Scooby Doo mansion in the Hudson Valley, where she and her partner are working to build a small residency/refuge for queer & trans artists and scholars.
Leaning against her basement wall are degrees from Boston University School of Law and the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her fiction has been published in hundreds of real and imaginary journals, such as Glimmer Train, Conjunctions, and The Normal School. Her fiction has been honored with a Pushcart nomination, fellowships and grants from the Vermont Studio Center, Millay Colony, the Edward Albee Foundation, the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts, Hinge Springboard for the Arts, Wildacres, and the Dickinson House (Belgium). She is a James Jones First Novel Fellow, a McKnight Fellow, and recipient of a Minnesota Emerging Writers' grant, multiple Minnesota State Arts Board Artist's Initiative grants, and scholarships to the Sewanee and BreadLoaf Writers' Conferences. She was a 2019 Alumni Fiction Fellow at Bennington College.