Author bio

Katherine Towler

Katherine Towler - book author

Katherine Towler is author of The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship and the novels Snow Island, Evening Ferry,and Island Light. This literary trilogy is set on a fictional New England island and takes place between the early 1940s and early 1990s, chronicling the lives of two generations in two island families and the impact of war on the island community. Katherine is also co-editor with Ilya Kaminsky of A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith, a collection of conversations with poets. All three of her novels were Indiebound selected titles. Snow Island was also chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers title. Katherine grew up in New York City and attended the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins, and the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. She teaches in the MFA Program in Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. She is happy to hear from book groups and to arrange Skype visits.

Katherine Towler is the author of books: Snow Island (Snow Island, #1), The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship, A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith, Evening Ferry (Snow Island, #2), Island Light (Snow Island, #3), Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion


Author books

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Title
Description
01
What is life like for a girl coming of age in the shadow of World War II, a girl who lives on a small, isolated island populated by quahoggers and eccentrics?

This tender first novel follows the fate of sixteen-year-old Alice Daggett, who still feels the presence of her father who died six years earlier, and of George Tibbit, a reclusive loner who returns to the island each year in an excessive act of homage to the two women who raised him there.

Snow Island tells of their isolated lives and the impact that WWII has on all of their worlds. Both Alice and George find their lives linked, and changed, forever by the events that happen far from the small New England community that defines them.
02
Around town, it was said that he lived on air, though he really lived on coffee and cigarettes. He was a union of unlikely opposites – one of the strangest and loveliest of people, one of the poorest and richest, one of the most sardonic and serious. He could be brilliant and intentionally obtuse, or quietly contained and defiant, all in the same moment.

The Penny Poet of Portsmouth is a memoir of the author’s friendship with Robert Dunn, a brilliant poet who spent most of his life off the grid in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, renting a room in a house without owning a phone, car, computer, or television. The book is as well an elegy for a time and place – the New England seaport city of the early 1990s that has been lost to development and gentrification, capturing the life Robert was able to make in a place rougher around the edges than it is today. It is a meditation on what writing asks of those who practice it and on the nature of solitude in a culture filled with noise and clutter. And it is, finally, the story of a rare individual who charted an entirely unorthodox life that challenged the status quo in every way.
03
Ilya Kaminsky and Katherine Towler have gathered conversations with nineteen of America's leading poets, reflecting upon their diverse experiences with spirituality and the craft of writing. Bringing together writers of tremendously various family backgrounds and religious orientations, this book offers frank, thoughtful consideration of themes too often polarized and politicized in our society. Participants include Li-Young Lee, Jane Hirshfield, Carolyn Forche, Gerald Stern, Christian Wiman, Joy Harjo, and Gregory Orr, with twelve others, all wrestling with difficult questions of human existence and the sources of art."
04
Following on from the success of Snow Island, Katherine Towler returns to the fictional island with the second installment of this trilogy. Thirty-two year old Rachel Shattuck has not returned to Snow Island since she attended her mother's funeral. A year later, in the summer of 1965, she remains frightened of what she will confront at home: her mother's absence, her father's stern nature, and the unrealized promise of her own life now that she is divorced. When she returns to Snow Island to care for her father after he is injured in an accident, she discovers her mother's diaries, hidden in the house where she died a year earlier. What Rachel learns through reading her mother's diary and becoming an islander once again reveals the truth about her family's history and sets her own troubled life on a new course.
05
Ruth Lambert left Snow Island when she was a teenager, but returns in the Fall of 1990 after her aunt's death, when she and her sister inherit the old Snow Inn. Nick McGarrell, a Vietnam veteran, has quit his job on the mainland as an engineer and retreated to his island birthplace to work as a carpenter. Nora Venable, an aging lesbian and owner of the island's abandoned mansion, moves into the caretaker's cottage on a whim. From the confines of their small New England community, the trio watch as the United States prepares to go to war once again, this time in the Persian Gulf. When the mansion burns down one night in a mysterious fire, the lives of Nora, Nick, and Ruth unexpectedly intersect, tearing them from their private—but determined–battles with the past, and propelling them into the unknown future of loss, love, and redemption.
06
A moving collection of personal essays about the real, human experiences behind the highly politicized issue of reproductive choice.

At a time when a woman’s most complex decisions have been reduced to political rhetoric and impersonal theory, and political debate has been hijacked by pundits and name-callers, Choice joins the discourse with an assortment of candid voices in an effort to humanize the debate about reproductive rights. In addressing a wide range of women’s choices—from using birth control to taking the morning-after pill, from adopting a child to putting a child up for adoption, from having an abortion to bringing a pregnancy to full term—Choice explores the complexities inherent in every reproductive decision.

Including twenty-four honest, heartrending essays from established writers such as Francine Prose, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Pam Houston, Ann Hood, and Sarah Messer and emerging talents such as Kimi Faxon Hemingway, Stephanie Anderson, and Ashley Talley, Choice will allow you to truly understand the meaning of the word “choice”—regardless of what side of the debate you stand on.