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English professor discusses novel writing process

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Posted on Monday, March 15, 2021

Dr. Trisha Cowen, assistant professor of English at Westminster College, will present “Balancing Imagination, Historical Research, and Identity Politics: Writing a Novel about a WWII Japanese Sex Slave” at the Faires Faculty Forum at 11:40 a.m. Wednesday, March 17, via Zoom.

Cowen will discuss the research, drafting and writing process of her novel manuscript, “Five Thousand Days of Autumn,” which focuses on a Japanese woman forced by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II to serve as a sex slave and later becomes a war bride to an American soldier. The presentation will explore ways to balance imagination and research to build dynamic worlds and characters without engaging in cultural appropriation. During the presentation, Cowen will read an excerpt from the novel.

Cowen, who joined the Westminster faculty in 2018, earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in writing, literature and publishing from Emerson College and a doctorate in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University. She specializes in creative writing, American multicultural literature and transnational literature.

The Faires Faculty Forum was established in 1990 by Dr. Barbara Faires, Westminster professor of mathematics emerita, during her term as dean of the College and vice president for academic affairs.  Faculty members from all disciplines volunteer to present lectures on their current research, artistic productions, and scholarship of teaching and learning.  Each forum presents new ideas with innovative lecture techniques.

Contact Cowen at 724-946-6341 or for more information about her novel manuscript.

Zoom links will be emailed to current and emeritus faculty prior to the forum. For others who wish to attend, please contact Dr. Erin Wilson, faculty development officer, at to obtain a link.

For more information about Westminster’s English major, please visit