Sara Gruen at Winter Words

(February 25, 2009) Aspen, CO — A “ringmaster” of the historic novel, Sara Gruen is the author of the wildly dramatic and entertaining New York Times #1 bestseller, Water for Elephants. With a rich plot based on outrageous facts and anecdotes of the American circus during the Great Depression, it is no wonder that Water for Elephants has sold over 2.5 million copies, been translated into 38 different languages, and was nominated for Entertainment Weekly’s Best Novel of the Year in 2006! Sara Gruen will appear in Aspen as part of the 12th annual Winter Words series of author readings and talks presented by the Aspen Writers’ Foundation on Thursday, March 5th at the Wheeler Opera House at 5:30 pm. Tickets are just $10-$15, and may be purchased through Aspen Show Tickets at the Wheeler Opera House (970.920.5770).

All it took was a vintage circus photograph in a Chicago newspaper to hook Gruen’s curiosity and interest in writing a novel about Depression-era circus life. After four and a half months of research, Gruen was on her way to writing one of the most popular and best-selling sensations of our time. Along the way, Gruen became enveloped by the history of the circus and learned of stories “about a hippo pickled in formaldehyde, a deceased four-hundred-pound ‘strong lady’ who was paraded around town in an elephant cage, an elephant who repeatedly pulled up her stake and drank the lemonade intended for sale on the midway, another elephant who ran off and was retrieved from a backyard vegetable patch, and an ancient lion who got wedged beneath a sink along with a restaurant employee, rendering both of them too terrified to move.” Weaving chronicles of circus life into a classic love story, Gruen captures her audience with this under-explored part of American history and delivers a runaway bestseller. Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert Olen Butler attests for Water for Elephants and raves, “Sara Gruen has written an utterly transporting novel full of the stuff of life.”

Equally a writer and a lover of animals, Gruen is committed to animal rights awareness and her forthcoming novel due out this summer, Ape House, features language-proficient bonobo apes that star in a reality television show.

For a full Winter Words press kit, follow this link and click on ‘Media’ in the left-hand menu.


In addition to Sara Gruen, this year’s Winter Words line-up features masters of the craft Augusten Burroughs, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Andrew Sean Greer in unforgettable stand-alone events taking place in March and April, 2009. All events are held at 5:30 pm (doors open at 5 pm) and include a public reading and talk, followed by a short Q&A and a book signing. After each Winter Words event is the Author Salon, a series of receptions at a private home honoring the author of the evening. The Author Salon is available exclusively for members of the Aspen Writers’ Foundation; annual memberships, starting at $100, are accepted at any time of the year.

Ticket levels include:
·    Winter Words single tickets: $15 individual; $10 student/educator with current school I.D
·    Author Salon (includes Winter Words reading and talk plus a reception in a private home    honoring the author): $40 single ticket – for AWF members only

Event and Author Salon tickets are available through Aspen Show Tickets at the Wheeler Opera House (970.920.5770, toll-free 866.449.0464). Information and group ticket sales are available through the Aspen Writers’ Foundation at 970.925.3122.

The Aspen Writers’ Foundation, Colorado’s oldest nonprofit literary organization, has been bringing readers and writers together since 1976. The organization’s mission is to provide programs that encourage writers in their craft and readers in their appreciation of literature. Through its repertoire of ten year-round programs and projects, the Aspen Writers’ Foundation serves 20,000+ literary enthusiasts of all ages annually. More information is available at 970.925.3122.


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