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MSC-Norwich Campus to Host Writers’ Event Commemorating 100-Year Anniversary of Famous Murder Case

NORWICH, N.Y.--A special event at Morrisville State College’s Norwich Campus will examine a famous local murder case and its effects on rural society in Upstate New York.

“An American Tragedy:” The Grace Brown Murder Authors’ Retrospective, commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the Chester Gillette-Grace Brown murder trial, the event that inspired Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, the 1951 film, “A Place in the Sun” and other important works. The event will be held April 12 from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. in the Follett Hall Atrium. The event is free and open to the public.

Authors Joseph Brownell, Craig Brandon and Jennifer Donnelly will share their knowledge about the case, the writing process and implications of the case for contemporary rural America, especially Upstate New York. Following their presentations, there will be a panel discussion and question and answer period.

Brownell wrote Adirondack Tragedy: The Gillette Murder Case of 1906, a day-to-day account of the trial. He will speak about Grace Brown’s life in South Otselic at the turn of the century. Brandon, author of Murder in the Adirondacks: A Tragedy Revisited and Grace Brown’s Love Letters, will give a multimedia presentation of the facts surrounding the Brown-Gillette case. Donnelly will discuss how history is interpreted by artists and transformed into historical fiction, and will read from her novel, A Northern Light, which weaves a fictional story into the true-life facts of the murder.

“This is a unique opportunity for members of the community to delve into their local history and understand one of America’s most mysterious murder cases,” Michael Foor-Pessin, Norwich Campus faculty member and event coordinator, said.

The panelists’ books will be available for purchase at the Norwich Campus Store in Follett Hall before the event. The authors will be available to sign books from 6:30-7 p.m.

For more information about this event, call the Norwich Campus at 607-334-5144.

Morrisville State College offers 12 bachelor degrees and a wide variety of associate degrees and options. Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine. The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus also offers programs in business, technologies, liberal arts/education transfer, and nursing to Chenango County area residents and employers.