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NY Times best-selling author to visit Gainesville
Author Mary Alice Monroe established her forte for “environmental fiction” while residing in coastal South Carolina. The author of "The Butterfly's Daughter" will speak at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, at Brenau University.

Author Mary Alice Monroe

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday

Where: Pearce Auditorium at Brenau University

Cost: Free

Contact: 770-534-6297 or


New York Times best-selling author Mary Alice Monroe became captivated by the beauty and fragility of her new home in the South. In fact, she established her forte for “environmental fiction” when residing in coastal South Carolina.

Her experiences living in the midst of a habitat that was quickly changing inspired her and gave her a strong and important focus for her books. Her book, “The Butterfly’s Daughter,” was chosen as the required “common reader” for all Brenau Women’s College. Now the author will discuss its impact at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, in Brenau University’s historic Pearce Auditorium.

After her talk, Monroe will sign books, which can be purchased on site through the Brenau campus bookstore. “The Butterfly’s Daughter” and other titles such as “The Summer Girls,” “Last Light over Caroling” and “Time is a River” will be available.

“The Butterfly’s Daughter,” winner of the International Book Award for Green Fiction in 2011, is the story of four very different women who embark on a transformational journey that follows the migrating monarch butterflies across the United States to Mexico.

Doing extensive interviews and hands-on research as part of her writing process, Monroe said the most remarkable experience was her journey to the monarch winter sanctuaries in Michoacán, Mexico.

Like Luz and Mariposa, characters in “The Butterfly’s Daughter,” her journey included riding skinny horses to reach the butterflies’ sanctuary in the mountains that were about 9,000 feet high.

“I traveled with monarchs across Georgia, a wonderful group,” said the author of more than a dozen novels, nonfiction titles and children’s books. “I learned not only a great deal about monarchs, but about the problems Mexico is having protecting the sanctuaries.

“When the sun broke from a cloud, I witnessed millions of monarch butterflies burst into the air like orange confetti,” she continued. “The sky was filled with winged joy. The experience was spiritual and what I imagined heaven must be like.”

Many characters in “The Butterfly’s Daughter” go through a metamorphosis, or change.

“It’s easy to understand why the butterfly is a powerful symbol of transformation in many religions and cultures around the world,” Monroe said.

She explained monarchs are “the only butterfly — the only insect — that migrates like a bird or a whale.”

“Every fall this brave, fragile creature travels thousands of miles across the country, joining millions of others, to reach their overwintering grounds in Mexico,” Monroe said. “It is a sacred journey of instinct and courage.”

For more information, call 770-534-6297 or email Brenau Humanities Department Chair Ken Frank at