Pulitzer-winning author Russo to visit pair of area colleges

Friday, September 13, 2013
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— Gloversville native and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo will make two Capital Region stops this fall.

As part of Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s 50th anniversary celebration, Russo will speak at the school’s physical education building at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 9.

The event will include a question-and-answer session, a book signing and a raffle to win an autographed copy of each of Russo’s books. It’s free, but seating is limited; to make reservations, call 736-3622, ext. 8020.

Russo will also speak at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26 in the Filene Music Building at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. The event, which costs $20, is sponsored by the Skidmore College English Department. Tickets are available through Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs.

All of Russo’s novels are set in Gloversville, though the city is always rechristened. In his debut novel, 1986’s “Mohawk,” it was called “Mohawk”; in his breakthrough novel, 1994’s “Nobody’s Fool,” it was called Bath.

Russo’s most recent book, 2012’s “Elsewhere,” is a memoir about his relationship with his mother, Jean.

In “Elsewhere,” Russo discusses growing up in Gloversville, the rise and fall of the city’s glove industry, his writing career and his mother’s tenuous mental health.

In an article printed in the Gazette earlier this year, Russo’s aunt, Phyllis Gottung, and cousin, Greg Gottung, who both still live in the area, said that one of Russo’s goals in writing “Elsewhere” was to raise awareness of mental illness.

Gloversville was once known as the hub of glove-making in America. At one point, roughly 90 percent of men’s fine dress gloves in the U.S. were made in Fulton County. By the time Russo was a teenager in the 1960s, the industry was in decline.

Today, Russo lives in Camden, Maine.

His 2001 novel, “Empire Falls,” won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

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