"The Forgotten Female in Beowulf: Giving Voice to Freawaru"

Presented by Donnita Rogers

Author of Faces in the Fire, Book One of the "Women of Beowulf" Series

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 7:00pm

Co-sponsored by Women and Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation and Project Humanities at Arizona State University

Author Donnita Rogers will present a program in the ACMRS Fearless Females series, speaking on "The Forgotten Female in Beowulf: Giving Voice to Freawaru." Based on her research for a trilogy of novels focused on the women of the Beowulf epic, Rogers will talk about roles played by women in sixth century Scandinavia and the imagined life of her heroine, Freawaru, illustrating her talk with photos of the Danish locations used in her first book, Faces in the Fire.

About the Program
Donnita Rogers' Faces in the Fire is the first book in a trilogy based on the women of Beowulf. Women are largely ignored in this masculine epic. Queen Wealhtheow gets a few speeches, but that's it. Even the genealogies of the time often omit the names of women, merely listing "daughter" or "wife". In Faces in the Fire Donnita brings to life a woman buried in the pages of Beowulf, a woman mentioned only once: the king's daughter, Freawaru. The reader meets Freawaru as a young girl, coming of age in a harsh world of men and monsters. Like all Scandinavian women of her day, she enjoys rights and privileges largely unknown to women of Western Europe, but these freedoms bring challenge. First, Freawaru must master use of the strange 'sight" she has been given. She must also survive the terror of nightly attacks by a swamp monster. Then she is challenged to become a "peace-weaver",using her courage, wit and special skills to end an ancient feud between rival tribes..

Sixth century Denmark is pre-Christian, totally pagan; it falls within the time period often called the "Dark Ages," due to the lack of detailed information available about its history. Donnita shines a light on this period, re-creating the daily life of Scandinavian women as well as providing plausible motivation for specific, often puzzling events in Beowulf.

This event gives readers an opportunity to meet Donnita, have their books signed, and hear Donnita speak of her adventures during the five years she spent researching the historical background - which included crewing on a replica of a Viking ship in the harbor of Roskilde, Denmark, and climbing the royal burial mounds at Old Uppsala, Sweden.

About Donnita Rogers
Donnita Rogers, former teacher and current author, earned her Master's degree and PhD in English at the University of Minnesota. Rogers taught Beowulf in high school and college for many years before tackling the women's side of the story. Now retired, she travels abroad researching background for her historical fiction. She and her partner, Don, divide their time among an island cabin in Canada, a farmhouse in Minnesota and a river home in Texas.