Best-selling author Rita Mae Brown will hold a book signing Friday for her latest mystery, which is set on the William Woods University campus. She will sign “Cat of the Century” at 1:30 p.m. in the lobby of WWU’s Gladys Woods Kemper Center for the Arts.
Brown will be in Fulton to be the guest speaker at WWU’s commencement Saturday morning. She also was the commencement speaker 10 years ago and has visited campus on other occasions since then.
“I really adore giving commencement speeches, but this one was to stay with me forever, not because of anything I said, but because of the magic of this community,” Brown said at the end of her new book, in a section she titled, “How I Came to Love William Woods University.”
“The faculty that I met were down-to-earth, yet very accomplished. . .And so I came to love this place far more than my own alma mater. . .Here in central Missouri exists an institution that puts the student first. I’m not saying they coddle the students nor do not demand intellectual rigor, but they actually care and the faculty knows those students. The president knows the students.”
Published by Random House and part of the Mrs. Murphy series, “Cat of the Century” tells about a fictional William Woods alumna, Talley Urquhart, who returns to campus to celebrate her 100th birthday. The party ceases to be a celebration when alumni start dying.
Although the names of the alumni have been changed to protect the innocent, WWU President Jahnae H. Barnett; her husband, Eddie Barnett; her assistant, Kenda Shindler, and several of Barnett’s friends, along with equestrian professor Gayle Lampe, are all identified in the book by name.
Author of the groundbreaking best seller “Rubyfruit Jungle” in 1973, Brown has written about 40 books since then, including several mysteries “co-authored” with her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown. She is also an Emmy-nominated screenwriter and poet.