The Wesswick Foundation, the Wyoming Humanities Council and the WWCC History Program are pleased to invite the community to campus on Thursday, April 28, for a reading and presentation by writer and Wyoming native Karen Wamhoff Schutte, author of the historical novels The Ticket, Seed of the Volga, and Flesh on the Bone. The evening program will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Room 1302 and is free and open to the public.
Schutte will also present a lecture on gender as it relates to her written works at 10 a.m. in Room 1306 and will conduct a workshop on writing historical fiction as part of a brown bag lunch session at 1 p.m. in Room 1309. Students and community members are invited to attend these free daytime events, as well.
Schutte’s first novel, The Ticket, was awarded 1st Place for Historical Fiction in 2013 by the Wyoming State Historical Society. In 2014, her work received the PEN AWARD from the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Seed of the Volga was a finalist at the 9th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards in 2015.
Students in the Community Education class/book club Rocky Road Café: Readings in Wyoming History, taught by Assistant Professor of History Jessica Clark, Ph.D., are reading The Ticket, Seed of the Volga, and Schutte’s most recent novel, Flesh on the Bone, this semester. Schutte’s visit will complement the previous weeks’ discussions about the Wyoming-based texts.
Schutte was born and raised on a farm/ranch in the Big Horn Basin. The oldest of four daughters, she attended her first eight grades in a two-room schoolhouse before riding a bus to her high school in Greybull. Schutte earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Design Marketing from the University of Wyoming; later, she owned and operated Interiors by Karen for 25 years. She and her husband, Michael, have four grown sons and numerous grandchildren.
After retirement, Schutte, the oldest grandchild and great-grandchild on her mother’s side, embarked upon a writing project that would become an unexpected second career. She began to record her German-Russian family’s history of immigration, diving into the historical research armed with many family stories. The result was her first novel, The Ticket, and its positive reception inspired her to write her second novel, Seed of the Volga. Schutte’s historical research into her family background revealed several surprises, including the fact that the family carries Far Eastern blood markers.
The saga’s third installment, Flesh on the Bone, follows the lives of the children introduced in the first two books as they navigate a path through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, and America’s World War II era. The manuscript for Schutte’s fourth novel, The Tank Commander, has been completed, and she has at least three more novels planned.
“When I sit down to write, I visualize the characters, the story, the setting, and then I paint a picture for the reader with my carefully chosen words,” Schutte states on her website. “Writing, to me, is an unintended, emotional release, an emotional journey, and a cherished gift that I have discovered at this late date in my life. I hope I have enough years left to accomplish all that I have planned.”
Western is pleased to join the Arlene and Louise Wesswick Foundation and the Wyoming Humanities Council in welcoming author Karen Schutte to campus on Thursday, April 28, for a series of readings and lectures. Refreshments will be served at the evening program. These events are free and open to the public.