SOU alumna and current best-selling author Abbigail Rosewood will return to her alma mater on Friday (May 24) as part of a cross-country book tour for her novel, “If I Had Two Lives.”
She will discuss and read from her book at 5 p.m. in the SOU Art Building’s Meese Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
Rosewood received her bachelor’s degree at SOU in 2013, focusing on creative writing, then earned her master of fine arts degree in fiction from Columbia University in 2017. She won the Michael Baughman Fiction Award while at SOU.
“At the time, I was still finding my voice,” Rosewood said in a 2017 interview with the SOU alumni magazine. “In this nascent stage as a writer when you are vulnerable, doubtful of your abilities, it’s very easy for your flame to get snuffed out by an unkind comment, a skeptical glance. Writers are sensitive.
“Words such as ‘have faith’ and ‘believe’ are often so overused that they can lose their meaning, but that’s what the SOU community gave me,” she said. “They had faith and they believed in me.”
Rosewood’s “If I Had Two Lives” was published in April by Europa Editions, an independent publisher in New York. The novel has since been reviewed by publications ranging from the Hungry Reader and Foreword Reviews to The New Yorker and the Los Angeles Review of Books. The book quickly became the No. 1 bestseller in its genre at Kinokuniya USA, a Japan-based bookseller with retail stores across the U.S.
Her book tour is taking Rosewood to New York, Miami, Washington, D.C., Portland, Ashland and other locations.
“If I Had Two Lives” centers on the daughter of a political dissident growing up in a Vietnam military camp during the 1990s and the girl’s adulthood as an immigrant in New York, where she deals with issues from her youth. Trauma prompts her return to Vietnam, where she comes to grips with her identity.
Rosewood was born in Vietnam and lived there until age 12.
In an interview with SOU English Professor Ed Battistella for the “Literary Ashland” website, she said the novel is only indirectly about her life.
“My work is autobiographical in the sense that it is blanketed with emotional truths and emblemed with personal ‘objects,’” Rosewood said. “My writing will always be honest in this way and autobiographical even if I were writing about dragons.”
She told Battistella she has a second novel, “which is still looking for a home.”
Rosewood has also written several essays, reviews, articles and creative works for various online and print publications.