Connie May Fowler

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Connie May Fowler (born January 3, 1960 to parents of multi-cultural backgrounds)[citation needed] is an American novelist, essayist, memoirist, screenwriter, and poet. Her semi-autobiographical novel, Before Women had Wings, received the 1996 Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Francis Buck Award (League of American Pen Women). She adapted the novel for Oprah Winfrey and the subsequent Emmy-winning film starred Winfrey, Ellen Barkin, Julia Stiles, and Tina Majorino. Remembering Blue received the Chautauqua South Literary Award.[citation needed] Three of her novels were Dublin International Literary Award nominees. Her other novels include Sugar Cage and River of Hidden Dreams. The Problem with Murmur Lee was Redbook’s premier book club selection. Her memoir, When Katie Wakes, explores her family’s generational cycle of domestic violence. How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly, a novel oft compared to Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway in term of its structure, was published in 2010. Her books have been translated into eighteen languages.[citation needed]

Fowler’s essays, touching on a wide range of topics such as family history, Sumo wrestling, popular culture, music, personal relationships, and food have been published in a variety of publications including the New York Times, The Times, Japan Times, International Herald Tribune, Oxford American, Best Life, and Forum.[citation needed]

In 2007, Fowler performed at New York City’s The Player's Club with actresses Kathleen Chalfont, Penny Fuller, and others in a performance based on The Other Woman, an anthology that includes Fowler’s essay “The Uterine Blues.” In 2003, Fowler performed in a charity benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues with Jane Fonda and Rosie Perez.[citation needed]

Fowler’s work has been characterized as southern fiction with a post-modern sensibility. It often melds magical realism with the harsh realities of poverty. It generally focuses on working-class people of various racial backgrounds. She has been cited in sources such as Advancing Sisterhood?: Interracial Friendships in Contemporary Southern Fiction (Monteith, Sharon) and Race Mixing: Southern Fiction Since the Sixties (Jones, Suzanne) as belonging to a “fourth generation” of American writers, black and white,that explodes old notions of race, segregation, and interpersonal racial relationships.[citation needed]

Other publications her work has been cited in include Reclaiming Class: Women Poverty, And the Promise of Higher Education in America, essay by Nell Sullivan, Temple University Press, 2003; Poverty and Children's Adjustment (Developmental Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry) by Suniya Luthar, Transforming Nurses' Stress and Anger: Steps Toward Healing by Sandra P. Thomas, Ph.D., Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do by Gerald C. Gross, Reading Adoption: Family and Difference in Fiction and Drama by Marianne Novy, Secrets of the Zona Rosa: How Writing (and Sisterhood) Can Change Women's Lives by Rosemary Daniell, The Tomorrow Trap: Unlocking the Secrets of the Procrastination-Protection Syndrome by Karen Peterson, The Book Lover's Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature, and the Passages That Feature Them by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger, and Oprah Winfrey (Just the Facts Biographies) by Katherine E. Krohn.[citation needed]

Fowler has held numerous jobs including bartender, caterer, nurse, television producer[citation needed], TV show host[citation needed], antique dealer, and construction worker. From 1997-2003 she directed the Connie May Fowler Women Wings Foundation, an organization that served at risk women and children. From 2003–2007, she was the Irving Bacheller Professor of Creative Writing at Rollins College and directed their author series “Winter With the Writers.”[citation needed]

Fowler, a lifelong resident of Florida, has set all of her books, thus far, in that state. She earned a Bachelor of Arts (English Literature) from University of Tampa and a Masters of Arts (English Literature with an Emphasis in Creative Writing) from University of Kansas where she studied with the novelist Carolyn Doty.[citation needed]

Connie May Fowler (1960). Her most recent novel, How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly, was published by Grand Central/Hachette Book Group in April 2010. Her short story "Do Not Enter the Memory" was published in the fall/2010 edition of Oxford American. She is working on a novel titled STONE BY STONE and an environmental memoir titled A DIFFERENT SKY. She is currently a visiting faculty member of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing program.


Novels and memoirs[edit]

  • How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly, 2010;
  • The Problem with Murmur Lee, 2005;
  • When Katie Wakes, 2002;
  • Remembering Blue, 2000;
  • Before Women had Wings, 1996;
  • River of Hidden Dreams, 1994;
  • Sugar Cage, 1992


  • Two Thing Thing Poets: Steve Sleboda and Connie May, UT Review, Vol. 5, 1977.
  • “A Soliloquy of a Seven Year Old,” “Crowded Closets,” Ann Arbor Review, Vol. 27, Washtenaw Community College, 1977.
  • “You Have Created Me,” Goethe’s Notes: A Literary Magazine, Vol. 6, 1978.
  • “A Purity of Crabs,” “America: The Invitation and Rejection,” “A Celebration of Nothingness,” Outside the Museum: Contemporary Writings — An Anthology, Ann Arbor Review, Vol. 28, Washtenaw Community College, 1978.
  • “Genetic Lace,” “The Fear,” Open Twenty-four Hours: Collective Consciousness, Vol. 3, 1984.
  • “Kateland,” “Ybor City Number One,” The Midwest Quarterly, A Journal of Contemporary Thought, Vol. XXIX, Pittsburg State University, 1988.
  • “Homesick,” Roberts Writing Awards 1988, The H.G. Roberts Foundation, 1988.

External links[edit]