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Faculty Author Series: Deborah Larsen Cowan

The Tulip and the Pope: A Nun's Story by Deborah Larsen Cowan

A memoir of Deborah Larsen Cowan's experience in a convent during the 1960s, The Tulip and the Pope showcases the decisions she faced in joining the convent but also her inevitable choice to leave it. After studying theology, scripture, posture, movement, and the "custody of the eyes" for several years, Cowan, who writes as Deborah Larsen, decided not to make her final vows and her outlook on Catholicism was changed forever.

"God has become for me above all a presence, not bent on touting its own rectitude nor on the certainty of conventional positions," Cowan wrote.

Published in 2005, the book was also selected as one of National Public Radio's critics "Favorite Books for 2005." The Book of the Month Club and the Quality Paperback Book Club have both purchased subsidiary rights to the work.

As the Merle S. Boyer Chair in Poetry, Cowan teaches creative writing at Gettysburg College. She has also served as a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and a Wallace Stevens Fellow at Yale University. Her collection of poetry, Stitching Porcelain, was published in 1991, and her poems and short stories have appeared in publications such as The Nation, The Yale Review, The Quarterly, Oxford Magazine, and The New Yorker. Her book, The White, was chosen as Central Pennsylvania's One Book, One Community program, which aims at uniting residents in six counties by encouraging everyone to read the selected book.

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