Edward Hower, a member of the ICOA board, published his latest book, What Can You Do: Personal Essays and Travel Writing, in October. A witch-haunted temple in India; carrying a spear in New York City operas; witnessing a revolution in Guatemala; mediums, spiritual seekers, and frauds; teaching at a maximum security prison; and how love rides the rails are but a few of the subjects in this lively and eloquent collection of essays about inner quests and journeys of discovery to out-of-the-way destinations.
Hower previously published eight novels and two books of stories, including The Pomegranate Princess and Other Tales from India (Wayne State University Press, 1991), a collection of folk tales. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Smithsonian, American Scholar, Epoch, Southern Review, and elsewhere. Hower has been awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two Fulbright grants to India.
After Hower graduated from Cornell University in 1963, he lived in East Africa for three years, where he taught high school, sang in local nightclubs, and wrote his first novel, The New Life Hotel. Later, he earned a masters degree in Anthropology from the University of California, doing fieldwork among Los Angeles street gangs.
Like many writers, Hower has held a variety of jobs: a salesman, a counselor at girls’ reformatory (the subject of his second novel, Wolf Tickets), and a general of the Egyptian army (a non-singing role he performed in the New York City Opera Company production of Handel’s Julius Caesar). More recently, he has taught at several American universities and has given writing workshops in Tobago, Greece, Sri Lanka, Britain, Nepal, and Key West, Florida. Many of these classes he has co-taught with his wife, the novelist Alison Lurie. He has lived in Ithaca, New York since 1975, and has two grown children, Dan and Lana.
An interview with the author about this book is available at The Five Points website, a journal of literature and art. Barbara Adams, another ICOA board member, wrote a review of this book that recently appeared in the Ithaca Times. What Can You Do: Personal Essays and Travel Writing, is now available at local bookstores and via the web at Cayuga Lake Books and Amazon.com.