Alama, Pauline J. 1964-
ALAMA, Pauline J. 1964-
PERSONAL: Born May 10, 1964, in Belleville, NJ; daughter of Emil Alama (a railway clerk) and Lottie (a teacher; maiden name, Zachai) Alama; married Paul Cunneen (a teacher), August 3, 1996. Ethnicity: "Polish/Italian-American." Education: Barnard College, B.A. (English; summa cum laude), 1986; University of Rochester, M.A. (English), 1995, Ph.D., (English), 1998. Politics: Green. Religion: Catholic.
ADDRESSES: Home—71 Chestnut St., Rutherford, NJ 07070. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer. Helen Keller International, New York, NY, public relations assistant, 1986-88; New York Mission Society, New York, NY, information officer, 1988-89; New York University, New York, NY, employee development senior project analyst, 1989-91; University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, instructor in English, 1991-99; Teach for America, New York, NY, development associate, 1999-00; New York Foundling, New York, NY, associate director of development, 2000—.
MEMBER: Science Fiction Writers of America, Mythopoeic Society, Science Fiction Association of Bergen County, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Stains-Berle Memorial Prize in Anglo-Saxon, 1986; W. Cabell Greet Prize for Excellence in English, 1986; Sproull fellowship, 1991-92, 1992-93; second place, Sapphire Award for Short Fiction in Science Fiction Romance, 2001.
The Eye of the Night, Spectra (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to periodicals and collections, including Sword and Sorceress, edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley, DAW, 2001.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Ghost-Bearers, a novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Pauline J. Alama's first novel, her fantasy The Eye of the Night, was called "a beautiful epic" by Harriet Klausner, who reviewed the book for BookBrowser. Three central characters drive the story. Jereth leaves the priesthood before taking his vows after his family dies at sea. He wanders until he meets two women with whom he continues his travels as they try to escape the problems that have befallen their land. Trenara is a beautiful but simple young woman, and Hwyn is a scarred servant girl who carries with her the Eye of the Night, an object shaped like an egg that possesses the ability to bring change.
Alana "richly develops the concept" of the unlikely hero, according to Booklist contributor Roberta Johnson. Johnson also noted that the novel is "full of everyday human eccentricity" and is written in accessible language. Liz Zink wrote for All about Romance online that The Eye of the Night "revolves in some ways around the religion of the land—the worship of the two gods and two goddesses, each with its counterpoint on the Wheel of the years, or corresponding season of the year. This aspect of the plot was well written and descriptive as the companions' journey takes them through all the seasons." Locus reviewer Carolyn Cushman said Alama's debut novel is "a little uneven, but is ultimately an enjoyable and pleasantly different fantasy."
Alama told CA: "Readers often remark on the religion of the four gods of the World-Wheel in The Eye of the Night, and may be surprised to see me identified as Catholic. I think fantasy gives writers and readers a wonderful workshop or play space in which to explore spirituality and discover at a deeper level what we truly believe. That is one of the greatest strengths of the genre."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, July, 2002, Roberta Johnson, review of TheEye of the Night, p. 1831.
Locus, June, 2002, Carolyn Cushman, review of TheEye of the Night, p. 35.
All about Romance,http://www.likesbooks.com/ (August 27, 2002), Liz Zink, review of The Eye of the Night.
BookBrowser,http://www.bookbrowser.com/ (May 20, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of The Eye of the Night.