Leonora Obed

Born in Manila, Philippines, raised in Trenton, New Jersey, and educated in Philadelphia (Saint Joseph's University), Toronto (University of Toronto) and Scotland (University of Edinburgh), Leonora Rita V. Obed has incorporated her various cultural milieus into her writing.

Her essay, "An Ascot for Astronauts: Riding the Eternal Carousel with Gerard Manley Hopkins", exemplifies such a synthesis: the inspiration for this essay is the Warrington's Victorian carousel in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland.

In her imaginative ride, Leonora encounters the Victorian poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins and together they see the world through poetic, gypsy-scholar eyes. Just one of the many fascinating essays in an anthology inspired by the poet-priest Gerard Manley Hopkins, Leonora says that to be featured in such a collection as HOPKINS VARIATIONS: STANDING ROUND A WATERFALL (Ed. Joseph J. Feeney and Joaquin Kuhn) is a great privilege and honour, because the editor, Joseph J. Feeney was her mentor and professor at St. Joseph's University; and also, because she is in the company of several favourite writers, namely Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, Irish poet Desmond Egan (founder of the International Hopkins Summer School, Monasterevan, Ireland), Ron Hansen (novelist, author of EXILES and The Asssasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Catherine Phillips (renowned editor of Hopkins's works), Norman Mackenzie (Hopkins scholar), composer Ned Rorem (whose recent work is an operatic version of Thornton Wilder's Our Town).

Leonora would like to point out a special connection to the Hopewell-Pennington area, in regards to this book: it was her high school teacher Mr. William O'Brien (who taught her Honours English at Notre Dame, Lawrenceville and now teaches at Hopewell Valley High School), who introduced her to the works of his favourite writer, Seamus Heaney--never in her wildest dreams would she have imagined that when Mr. O'Brien taught her about Heaney that one day she'd be in the same book with him! Talk about the power of words to shape lives.

Leonora currently works as an Assistant editor to Dr. Lincoln Konkle, Executive Director of the Thornton Wilder Society and editor of Thornton Wilder FYI, at the College of New Jersey, Ewing. She is also at work on various writing projects. In 2003, Leonora's one-act play, Epitome,  was given a public reading at the Edward Albee/Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska; there she took master classes with Edward Albee, Romulus Linney, Emily Mann, Terence McNally and Paula Vogel. On 24 JUly 2002 she presented a paper on Hopkins at the International Hopkins Summer School, Monasterevan, Ireland.

On Oct. 18 2002, she presented the opening lecture at the Gerard Manley Hopkins Conference, Gregorian University, Rome, Italy. In 2001 she was short-listed for the David Wong Creative Writing Fellowship, University of East Anglia, England. Other conferences/papers include Congreso Mitos, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain (Nov. 1996), the International Conference on the Short Story, University of Iowa (1996), Shelley-Wollestonecraft Bicentenary (1997, East Anglia Polytechnic, England). Her essays on Oscar Wilde were published in The Journal of the Short Story in English (Universite d'Angers, France), and the Wild About Wilde Newsletter  (McCaffrey Publications, Maryland). Locally, she gave a reading of her poem, "Werewolf of West Trenton" at the D & R Greenaway, Princeton (Dec. 2007), a lecture on Oscar Wilde at the Ewing Library (2 January 1995) and participated in "Flemington Rocks", with her Literary Chairwoman Chair, decoupaged with her rough draft sentences.

Featured in various editions of Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World,  Leonora's hobbies include doll-collecting, belly-dancing, piano and voice. An active participant of the Jane Austen Society of America, she will be attending their Annual General Meeting in Society Hill, Philadelphia this autumn.
A featured publication at the 2006 Great Books by Great Grads Book Fair at Hart House, University of Toronto, Hopkins Variations: Standing Round a Waterfall is available for sale at Amazon.com, Saint Joseph's University Press, and Fordham University Press

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