The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 9, 2004

WSUI Features Kerry Egan's Account Of Spiritual Pilgrimage Sept. 23

Harvard Divinity School graduate Kerry Egan, who now lives in Iowa City, will read from her non-fiction book, "Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief, and Spiritual Renewal on the Camino de Santiago," at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910.

The reading, hosted by Julie Englander, will be a free event at the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen on the Internet at

Egan says, "The book is about prayer, defined simply as recognizing God."

A Publishers Weekly preview explained, "Egan found herself immobilized by grief at the death of her father. Almost on a whim, she decided to walk the Camino de Santiago, a medieval pilgrimage route through northern Spain. The narrative loosely follows the chronology of her journey, and she records many of the trip's details, such as coping with the heat, staying in crowded refugios (pilgrims' inns) and dealing with the quirks of local residents. But the book is more than mere travelogue.

"Egan uses various events on the Camino as catalysts to explore such disparate topics as the history of the cult of relics, how she accidentally discovered breathing meditation and her own feelings of anger, sadness and guilt over her father's death. . . . Egan's effective combining of historical and theological musings with personal experience makes for a satisfying account of the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of religious pilgrimage."

Kris Ohlson, author of "Stalking the Divine," wrote, "Kerry Egan's 'Fumbling' tugs the reader into the rich mystery of pilgrimage -- in her able hands, not only a physical trek to a spiritual hot spot but also a moving exploration of love, grief and wonder. This lovely book called me back every time I strayed away from it, and it will probably haunt me for years."

Egan received her bachelor's degree from Washington and Lee University and her master's of divinity from Harvard University Divinity School. While at Harvard she worked as a nursing-home ombudsman, a chaplain intern at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and a research assistant at Harvard's Center for the Study of World Religions.

Egan's husband and traveling partner, Alex Ruskell, is a graduate of the UI Writers' Workshop and is now the associate director of the Writing Center of the UI College of Law.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,

PHOTOS are available at or