Lecturer Marian Palaia Brings Experience to Debut Novel, 'Given World'

Monday, April 27, 2015
Photo of Marian Palaia

WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL -- Marian Palaia finds it rather funny that she teaches a novel writing class.

“It’s not that long ago that I would have felt completely unqualified to do such a thing, but I don’t feel that way anymore,” she said by phone from California, where she teaches at San Francisco State University. The publication of her first novel, The Given World (Simon and Schuster, $25), has perhaps imbued her with the confidence to share her skills with her students.

In that novel, Palaia traces the story of Riley, a young girl whose brother Mick has gone missing in Vietnam in 1968. As Riley grows up, she sets off on her own adventures, encountering characters who each have some wisdom to impart. Palaia lived in Vietnam for a time, an experience that informed the landscape of her novel.

Photo: Kelly Rae Daugherty