Author Lois Leveen: The Secrets of Mary Bowser

February 12, 2013

Time: 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Location: Commerce & Finance Building, room 209

Mary Bowser book and author Leveen

Lois Leveen, author of the novel The Secrets of Mary Bowser will speak at UDM on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 12 in the Commerce & Finance Building, room 209, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Leveen's award-winning novel is based on the true story of an African American woman who sacrificed her own freedom to change the course of history. Mary Bowser was born a slave in Richmond, Virginia. Freed and educated in the North, she returned to the South and spied for the Union, by posing as a slave to the family of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The novel interweaves historical events and real people to introduce readers to little known aspects of American history, including the lives of free and enslaved blacks in industrialized, antebellum Richmond; the vibrant African American community in antebellum Philadelphia; the conflicts that arose among abolitionists of both races; and the Union underground that operated in the Confederate capital throughout the war.

Leveen's talk will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a book signing. Barnes & Noble at UDM will have copies of The Secrets of Mary Bowser available for purchase.

The event is free and open to the public. It is being co-sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts & Education, Departments of English and History, as well as the African American Studies and Women's and Gender Studies Programs. This event was funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from Poets & Writers Inc. Detroit.

More information about the book and author can be found below. You can also hear two radio interviews with Leveen, via the UDM news release. Additional information and an instructor's guide can be found at Furthermore, video clips from Leveen's previous talks are available at

If you have any questions, or wish to reserve space for your class, please contact Rosemary Weatherston (see contact information below).

We hope to see you there!

About the Author

Lois Leveen earned degrees in history and literature from Harvard, the University of Southern California, and UCLA, and taught at UCLA and at Reed College. She is a regular contributor to Disunion, the New York Times coverage of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and her poetry and essays have appeared in numerous books, literary journals, and on NPR. She gives talks about American history and literature at libraries, bookstores, universities, museums, teacher training programs, and conferences throughout the country.


"Deftly integrating historical research into this gripping tale of adventure, love, and national conflict, Leveen brings Mary to life and evenhandedly reveals the humanity on both sides of America's deadliest war."
Publishers Weekly

Selected for Nine Notable Debut Novels

Selected for Top Ten Books of 2012 by Northwest Authors
The Oregonian

"A brilliant historical novel . . . The Secrets of Mary Bowser is a rich, layered story of slavery, of the South and
of what it means to fight for what we believe in, no matter the cost."
Shelf Awareness

"Beautifully written . . . a gripping book."
The Toronto Star

RSVP: Unnecessary

Contact: Rosemary Weatherston, associate professor of English
Phone: 313-993-1083