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Sci-fi writers' series returns to Otis Library in Norwich

Norwich - An award-winning science fiction poet, author and community theater actor will be the keynote speaker at the sixth annual Jim Lafayette Memorial Series of Writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy Wednesday at Otis Library.

Claire S.E. Cooney of Westerly will speak at 6:30 p.m. about her work and style of writing and how she has learned by "following in the footsteps of giants and hopping on their shoulders for a view."

Cooney said other writers are usually generous and willing to help young authors just getting started.

"There's an image of writers being lone wolves, always," Cooney said. "But I've found peers, mentors, patronesses, and whetstones during my last decade of open mics and workshops and writers' groups and conventions to be just as valuable to me as a writer as those 10-hour stretches of good, lonely writing time are. I don't think one is better than the other. I just think both are necessary."

The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Cooney is an emerging writer of the fantastic and will talk about her career as a writer, poet, and performer. She starred in the Flock Theatre's recent production of Shakespeare's "As You Like It" and is the author of the poetry collection "How To Flirt in Faerieland and Other Wild Rhymes" and the novella-in-stories, "Jack o' the Hills."

Cooney won the 2011 Rhysling Award from The Science Fiction Poetry Association for her poem "The Sea King's Second Bride." Her three most recent novellas were published online at Black Gate Magazine and GigaNotoSaurus.

She also blogs at

Cooney said it's an honor to be invited to speak at the annual Otis science fiction/fantasy author series. She attended last year's program that featured author Theodora Goss.

"Those are some mighty big footsteps to follow," Cooney said.

Faye Ringel of Norwich, retired humanities professor at the Coast Guard Academy and coordinator of the annual series, said she invited Cooney to bring different perspectives to the now well-established author series. Cooney's experience as a young writer of both fiction and poetry and as an actor could inspire other local youths interested in the genre, Ringel said.

"We wanted to give a chance to a writer at the beginning of her career rather than one established," Ringel said, "and she is such a good performer, singing, acting and writing. She should appeal to singers, actors, readers and writers of fantasy."

The Jim Lafayette Memorial Series of Writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy was founded by Pat and Ann Lafayette and named after their deceased son, who was an avid reader and aspiring writer of science fiction and fantasy. The Lafayettes donated his extensive collection of books to the library and fund the annual author series.

For information about the series or Wednesday's program, call Otis Library at (860) 889-2365, ext. 128.


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