Alice Bingham Gorman's Valeria Vose 

Alice Bingham Gorman knows a thing or two about taking risks and figuring out who you are on the fly. The late '70s found her in her late 30s and in need of an occupation. Freshly divorced, with no college degree or evidently marketable skills, she opened an art gallery on Overton Square and set about the business of professionalizing Memphis' art market. Forty years later, with a pioneering gallery career in her past, an earned MFA and honorary PhD to her credit, and at an age she describes as "horrifying," Bingham is about to embark on a book tour and her new career as a novelist.

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  • By the book

"It's about a 1970s Southern woman who's thrust out of her marriage and, shall we say, her programmed expectations," Gorman says of Valeria Vose, a debut novel published by She Writes press. "She has to find her way to become her own personal, creative, and spiritual identity.

"I know the landscape. I know the traditions, and I know the expectations. A lot of the book is autobiographical, though it is definitely fiction," she says.

Gorman had been thinking about creating a memoir when she went back to school to study creative writing in the early 2000s. Creative nonfiction was appealing, and she published work in Vogue, O, the Oprah Magazine, and other periodicals. But she fell in love with fiction and, over time, the memoir evolved into something that gave an emerging artist a little more room to work.

"The character, Valeria Vose, is not me," Gorman says. "But she knows a lot of what I know and went through a lot of the experiences I went through."

Gorman celebrates the launch of Valeria Vose at Novel Thursday, October 4th at 6 p.m.

Book launch for "Valeria Vose" by Alice Bingham Gorman at Novel, October 4th, 6-7:30 p.m. Free

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