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From My Side of the Table

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Hatch Learning Commons, Longmeadow Campus
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Our speakers: Suzanne Strempek Shea, author, and Tommy Shea, author

A joint talk in which celebrated local authors who are spouses will share what they've learned from 35 years of writing at the same desk.

About Our Speakers:

Suzanne Strempek Shea

Suzanne Strempek Shea is the author of five novels: Selling the Lite of Heaven, Hoopi Shoopi Donna, Lily of the Valley, Around Again, Becoming Finola, and Make a Wish But Not For Money. She has also written three memoirs, Songs From a Lead-lined Room: Notes - High and Low - From My Journey Through Breast Cancer and Radiation; Shelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama and Other Page-Turning Adventures From a Year in a Bookstore; and Sundays in America: A Yearlong Road Trip in Search of Christian Faith.

She co-wrote 140 Years of Providential Care: The Sisters of Providence of Holyoke, Massachusetts with her husband, Tom Shea, and with author/historian Michele P. Barker. This is Paradise: An Irish Mother's Grief, an African Village's Plight and the Medical Clinic That Brought Fresh Hope to Both, a book about Mags Riordan, founder of the Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic in the African nation of Malawi, is her most recent nonfiction book.

Winner of the 2000 New England Book Award, which recognizes a literary body of work's contribution to the region, Suzanne began writing fiction in her spare time while working as a reporter for the Springfield (Massachusetts) Newspapers and The Providence (Rhode Island) Journal.

Her freelance journalism and fiction have appeared in magazines and newspapers including Yankee, The Bark, Golf World, The Boston Globe, The Irish Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Organic Style, and ESPN the Magazine. She was a regular contributor to Obit magazine.

Suzanne is a member of the faculty at the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast MFA program in creative writing and is writer-in-residence and director of the creative writing program at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Mass. She has taught in the MFA program at Emerson College and in the creative writing program at the University of South Florida. She also has taught in Ireland, through Bay Path University’s annual summer field seminar in Dingle; at the Curlew Writers Conferences in Howth and Dingle; and in Dingle via the Stonecoast Ireland residency.

She lives in Bondsville, Mass., with Tommy Shea and their dogs, Tiny and Bisquick. 

photo of author and writer Tom SheaTom Shea spent 40 years working at the Springfield Newspapers, starting as a sportswriter. He finished his sports career covering the Boston Red Sox. After leaving sports in 1985, he worked as a general assignment reporter for ten years before being given his own column in The Republican. It ran for 17 years and was noted by the Boston Globe as a column that chronicled “little-noticed acts of kindness and grace perpetrated by everyday people.’’ Most recently, he was a senior foreign editor at The National, a newspaper in Abu Dhabi.

He is now an author, freelance writer, and writing coach. Dingers: The 101 Most Memorable Home Runs in Baseball History, which he co-wrote with Joshua Shifrin, will be published in April by Skyhorse Press. In 2013, he co-wrote 140 Years of Providential Care: The Sisters of Providence of Holyoke, Massachusetts, with his wife, Suzanne Strempek Shea, and author/historian Michele P. Barker.

Tom has taught journalism and communications at Bay Path University, as well as Springfield, Holyoke Community, and Elms Colleges. His writing has appeared in USA Today, Sports Illustrated, New England Monthly, and Baseball America. He was also a long-time host of the Town and Country program on radio station WRNX-FM in Holyoke. His awards and recognitions include the New England Associated Press News Executive Award for best local New England column, a Pulitzer Prize nomination, and an honorary doctorate from Western New England University.

Post talk books for sale and signings.

Co-sponsored by the Friends of Hatch Learning Commons and Bay Path University's MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing