MU grad finds success in spinning a literary fairy tale

Mar 29, 2013


Author Gennifer Albin is a self-described “recovering academic” – she got her Master’s in English from MU in 2006, then she and her husband settled down back near family in Kansas, where she was a stay- at home mom with young children. But after an unexpected lay-off she and her husband found themselves struggling to make ends meet.

Albin’s answer? Write a novel, of course. Albin went from bankruptcy filing, to living the writer’s dream … complete with agents and publishers competing  for her first novel, Crewel.

The successful young-adult literary novel “Crewel” is a revisionist fairy tale featuring the 16-year-old protagonist Adelice Lewys who navigates the dangerous world of the Spinsters, women who literally create the world through weaving.

Albin wrote the book at her local public library during the 70 minutes allowed to use the computers – and sold some of her antique books to finance the project, which was eventually the target of a bidding war between multiple agents and publishers before being released by FSG/Macmillan last Autumn.

Albin visited her old stomping grounds in Columbia recently, and came by the studio to discuss the writing life, and the inspirations behind “Crewel.”

She says the inspiration for the tale came from a painting that's referred to in Thomas Pynchon's book The Crying of Lot 49.

"It's the book that I would have liked to have read when I was a teen-ager," says Albin.