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Kathleen Rooney visits ECC

Author+Kathleen+Rooney+speaks+Thursday+night+in+H142.+She+read+from+her+book+entitled+%22Lillian+Boxfish+takes+a+Walk%22.+After%2C+she+discussed+the+book+and+answered+student+questions+about+writing+and+publishing.
Author Kathleen Rooney speaks Thursday night in H142. She read from her book entitled

Author Kathleen Rooney speaks Thursday night in H142. She read from her book entitled "Lillian Boxfish takes a Walk". After, she discussed the book and answered student questions about writing and publishing.

Lance Lagoni

Lance Lagoni

Author Kathleen Rooney speaks Thursday night in H142. She read from her book entitled "Lillian Boxfish takes a Walk". After, she discussed the book and answered student questions about writing and publishing.

Elizabeth Anton, Staff Writer

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A little girl sits with her mother, a smile of wonderment on her face and a light shining in her eyes. They are reading a classic together; Mother Goose Rhymes. Neither would have ever guessed at the time that this moment is what helped shape this little girl’s future. To this day, she recalls “Poetry was my first love.” and continues to love poetry and rhymes as it shapes her writing.

On Thursday, Sept. 21, the Elgin Community College Coffee House hosted a reading event with special guest and author, Kathleen Rooney, who read aloud a section of her latest book. Rooney is a literary artist, a teacher at DePaul University, and editor and co-founder of the publishing company Rose Metal Press. She has published a total of eight books, six of them being of poetry, with the remaining being fiction novels.

“…even before I could write, and even before I could read, I was obsessed with stories. And my parents–luckily for me–would read to me a ton and encouraged that impulse [to write].” Rooney traveled a lot as a child due to her father’s career and grew up in the 80’s when tape recorders for books were more common. When her parents weren’t reading to her, she was listening to a recording, fueling even more literary inspiration into her mind. When asked what her inspiration behind writing is, she says that “curiosity” was her drive and that “being a writer is like being a detective. You’re always solving a mystery.”

Grown up, Rooney headed to George Washington University in D.C. where she went into politics and earned her B.A. She then fell back to her passion for writing and attended Emerson College in Massachusetts where she earned her M.F.A in Writing, Literature, and Publishing.

“Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk” is the name of the novel Rooney read from during the ECC event. The book follows a woman in her 80’s named Lillian who is recounting her past as she walks through New York City. Each chapter bounces between a flashback and the present time of the novel, offering the natural flow of which most people recount their past. Rooney read aloud chapters four and seven from this novel, but also told of an interesting background of how this novel came to be. Lillian Boxfish is based on and heavily inspired by a real woman named Margaret Fishback. In the 20’s, Fishback grew to be the highest paid woman in the advertising industry for Macy’s. She was a poet and what would’ve been known as a feminist back then, these two aspects being what Rooney feels most connected to. Rooney was the first nonarchivist to view Fishback’s archives and wanted to write this novel in honor of her accomplishments.

Want to learn more about Kathleen Rooney? Check out her website KathleenRooney.com. Contacting her through this website is easy and your response is guaranteed to be directly from Rooney herself. If you missed your chance to meet with Rooney, there is still a chance to meet ECC’s future guests. The Coffee House will hold their next reading with Deb Brod on Oct. 19.

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Kathleen Rooney visits ECC