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Pamela Schoenewaldt to Read from Historical Novel of the Immigrant Experience

schoenewaldtPamela Schoenewaldt opens the spring Writers in the Library series on January 23 with a reading from her historical novel, When We Were Strangers. The novel follows a young needleworker in the 1880s, forced to leave her mountain village in Southern Italy, who endures a rough passage through American cities to a very different life and work in San Francisco.

The public is invited to the reading at 7:00 pm, Monday, January 23, in UT’s Hodges Library auditorium.

At a question-and-answer session following the reading, the audience can learn about the research process for historical fiction. Dr. Marina Maccari-Clayton of the UT history department will be present to address questions about immigration. Dr. Maccari-Clayton is a specialist on migration history, globalization, and modern Europe.

When We Were Strangers (HarperCollins, 2011), Schoenewaldt’s first novel, is in its fourth printing, with Dutch, Polish and Russian translations in process. When We Were Strangers was a Book of the Month Club and Doubleday alternate, a Barnes & Noble Great New Writers Discovery, and is short-listed for the Langum Prize in American Historical Novel. Schoenewaldt is under contract with HarperCollins for a second novel, also historical fiction on the theme of immigration, set in Naples, Italy and Cleveland from 1906 to 1911, culminating in the 1911 Cleveland Garment Workers Strike.

Schoenewaldt lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she is a writer for FMB Advertising. Previously she taught creative writing at the University of Tennessee and served as Writer in Residence at the UT Libraries from 2001 to 2002. She lived in Naples, Italy from 1990 to 2000, translating and teaching writing at the University of Maryland, European Division.

Her fiction has appeared in Belletrist Review, Bianco su Nero, Carve, Cascando (U.K.), Crescent Review (winning the Chekhov Prize for Short Fiction), Fiction Attic, Iron Horse Literary Review, Mediphors, Knoxville MetroPulse, Mondogreco, New Letters, New Millennium Writing, Literary Lunch, New Letters, Paris Transcontinental, Pinehurst Journal, Potomac Review, Square Lake, The Sun, and Women’s Words. Her one-act play in Italian, “Espresso con Mia Madre,” (Espresso with My Mother) was produced at Teatro Cilea, Naples.

Visit her website at

Read a review of When We Were Strangers on Chapter 16: a community of Tennessee writers, readers and passersby (brought to you by Humanities Tennessee).

Writers in the Library is sponsored by the University of Tennessee Libraries and the UT Department of English. For further information contact Marilyn Kallet, Director, UT Creative Writing Program (, or Jeff Daniel Marion, Writer in Residence, UT Libraries (

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