Virginia Stem Owens

Memoir, Spirituality, Theology

As a writer and thinker, Virginia Stem Owens is a combination of Texan toughness (a la Ann Richards and Molly Ivins), intellectual curiosity (think Annie Dillard and Stephen Hawking), and literary grace (part Studs Terkel, part Graham Greene). Her writing spans the gamut, from explorations of the meaning of the “new physics,” to meditations on women of the Bible, to mystery novels, to a meticulously researched work (co-authored with her husband David Clinton Owens) on the prison in her hometown of Huntsville, which has become known as the death penalty capital of the world. She has also written several memoirs about family, including If You Do Love Old Men, a memoir of her grandfather’s last years, and Caring for Mother: A Daughter's Long Goodbye, an extended reflection on her experience of caring for a parent afflicted with Alzheimer's. Owens' writing confronts dark and painful realities at the same time that it celebrates ordinary gifts and graces.

Festival Years: 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002