P.S. Duffy returning for ArtWorks Festival

Published 10:06 am Monday, May 26, 2014

Award-winning author P. S. Duffy is coming back to Austin this summer.

Duffy will be one of the 11 authors featured during the Austin Artworks Festival on Aug. 23 and 24. Duffy, author of “The Cartographer of No Man’s Land,” took part in the annual Page Turners event in April.

Photo by Karl Beighley

Photo by Karl Beighley

“She was very popular,” said Sue Grove, an ArtWorks author committee member. “She was extremely well received, very, very personable. She took time talking to individuals while she was signing books, and she was very interesting.”

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Grove said the audience responded well to Duffy, but Duffy’s friendly demeanor is not the only reason she is coming back. Her book has drawn a lot of attention for readers.

“It’s beautifully written,” Grove said. “I had some trouble with the World War I scenes because they’re very accurate. Her relationship stories are excellent, and she has a beautiful way of describing things.”

Grove said the committee tries to bring in authors who have some connection with Austin. Many of the Page Turners authors have been asked to return for the festival. Each author will have a slot of about 45 minutes. Authors are allowed to decide what to do with their time, whether they want to read a small excerpt from their book or talk to the audience about it.

Duffy, also known as Penelope S. Duffy, is excited to come back to Austin. She was very happy when her book was chosen by the Page Turners for the Austin citywide read.

“I loved it. I couldn’t have had a better time,” Duffy said. “There were great crowds, it was very uplifting, it was great fun. I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Duffy is a writer in the neurological sciences for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, but her background is in helping people who have adult neurologic communication disorders, whether from birth, a stroke or a head injury. It’s all about helping people tell their own stories, she said. She has been writing all her life. Though she has two previous books, this is her first novel.

“The Cartographer of No Man’s Land” has roots in Duffy’s childhood. Her family owned a summer house in Nova Scotia, where Duffy spent many summers sailing. From the first time she visited, Duffy said she felt like she’d been there before. She also remembers feeling completely at ease sailing.

The book involves a Nova Scotian man who initially wants to become a cartographer in the war, but gets drafted into the infantry. Yet despite the somewhat grizzly topic, the book isn’t just about war, according to Duffy.

“It’s really about relationships, and the relationships we have with ourselves and the relationships we have with others,” Duffy previously told the Herald.

Duffy said she is very excited to be coming back to Austin and reconnecting with the friends she made during the Page Turners event.

“I’m sure it will be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it,” Duffy said.

Milly Burroughs, an ArtWorks committee member, said she is excited for all the authors, but she’s particularly excited about mystery writer Julie Kramer.

“I’ve read all her books, which I really, really liked,” Burroughs said.

Kramer, who visited Austin a few years ago, is a bestselling author, so Burroughs is pleased to get her to come to ArtWorks.

Burroughs said in the latest book Kramer has written, Spam and other things identifying with Austin play a part, which she thought was neat.

But Burroughs is excited about all the authors coming to the festival.

Carole Hyder, who writes about Feng Shui, was a presenter at last year’s festival. Her sister, Shirley, still lives in Austin. Charlotte (Chuck) Keller, who has lived in Austin for many years, wrote a book on parenting.

 —Trey Mewes contributed to this report


Austin ArtWorks Festival authors

Saturday, Aug. 23

10 a.m. Philip Formo  

Formo writes historical fiction based on his grandfather’s memoir.

11 a.m. Randy Hilmer 

Randy writes mystery novels.

12 p.m. Julie Kramer

Kramer is a successful bestselling mystery writer who also was a presenter at the first festival in 2012.

1 p.m. Carole Hyder 

Hyder writes non-fiction on Feng Shui. She also was a presenter at last year’s festival and grew up in Austin, where her sister still lives here.

2 p.m. P.S. (Penny) Duffy 

Penny’s first novel, “The Cartographer of No Man’s Land,” was the Page Turners selection for 2014.

3 p.m. Sherrie Hansen, 

Sherrie was a presenter at the first ArtWorks Festival in 2012. She owns the Blue Belle Inn in St. Ansgar, Iowa, and writes fiction.

4 p.m. Kristy Bina   

Bina writes paranormal fiction.


Sunday, Aug. 24

12 p.m. Al Batt 

Batt is a well-known storyteller and humorist who has a weekly column in the Herald. Batt’s book is titled “A Life Gone to the Birds.”

1 p.m. Grant Blackwood 

Grant is a New York Times bestselling author of the Briggs Tanner thrillers and has collaborated with Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler and James Rollins.

2 p.m. Lydia Emma Niebuhr 

She writes young adult fiction.

3 p.m. Charlotte (Chuck) Keller 

Chuck has lived in Austin for many years and wrote a book on parenting.