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A Historical Novel Concerning the Shakers: "The Visionist"

Aired on Tuesday, June 17th.

On this installment of ST, we speak with Rachel Urquhart, a writer whose work has been published in The New Yorker, Tin House, Elle, The New York Times, Vogue, and Spy, among other publications. Urquhart has recently published her first novel, "The Visionist," which is a widely acclaimed historical drama about a teenage girl who finds refuge --- or perhaps does not find refuge --- in an 1840s Shaker community. As was noted of this novel is a starred review in Shelf Awareness: "Rich with history and mystical intrigue, Urquhart's American gothic is capable of sending chills across your skin one moment, then warming your heart the next.... The story is as eerie as it is heartrending, weighing miracle against coincidence, deviation against sincerity, with the remnants of one rural family hanging in the balance. 'The Visionist' will have you holding your breath until the final, magnificent revelation." And further, as The San Francisco Chronicle observed: "Urquhart's shatteringly original debut transports readers.... 'The Visionist' is told in three eloquent voices, Polly, Sister Charity, and Simon Pryor, all blazingly alive, each walking a high-wire act of moral choices.... [This book offers] writing so rich, so detailed, that you not only come to care for all the characters deeply, you also become so immersed in the world of the Shakers, you can almost feel the floor moving as they stomp in ecstatic dance. Part mystery and part thriller, 'The Visionist' is also a shimmering exploration of identity."

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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