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Sena Jeter Naslund

Author of Ahab's Wife or, The Star-Gazer

16+ Works 6,205 Members 254 Reviews 8 Favorited

About the Author

Sena Jeter Naslund was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1942. She received a Bachelor's degree from Birmingham Southern College, where she received the B.B. Comer Medal in English, and a Master's degree and a doctorate from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. She has taught at the University of show more Louisville, the University of Montana, Indiana University (Bloomington), Vermont College, and the University of Montevallo. She has written several books including The Disobedience of Water, Ahab's Wife, Four Spirits, Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette, and Adam and Eve. She has won numerous awards including the Harper Lee Award, the Hall-Waters Southern Prize, the Southeastern Library Association Award, and the Alabama Library Association Award. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Library of Congress

Works by Sena Jeter Naslund

Associated Works

Crossroads: Tales of the Southern Literary Fantastic (2004) — Contributor — 52 copies
The Remembered Gate: Memoirs by Alabama Writers (2002) — Contributor — 14 copies


18th century (43) 19th century (42) adventure (20) Ahab (25) American (48) ARC (26) book club (30) civil rights (24) ebook (22) fiction (858) first edition (25) France (121) French Revolution (75) historical (86) historical fiction (493) history (30) Kentucky (19) lighthouses (22) literature (33) Louis XVI (28) Marie Antoinette (110) Massachusetts (24) Moby Dick (107) mystery (27) Nantucket (49) New England (71) novel (84) own (49) paperback (23) read (63) religion (22) romance (25) royalty (35) sea (23) Sherlock Holmes (29) signed (22) to-read (308) unread (60) whaling (102) women (50)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Naslund, Sena Jeter
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Places of residence
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Birmingham-Southern College
University of Iowa (Iowa Writers' Workshop, MA, PhD|creative writing)
Jeter, Marvin D. (brother)
Jeter, John Sims (brother)
University of Louisville (Distinguished Teaching Professor)
Spalding University brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing (program director)
The Louisville Review (editor, founder)
Fleur-de-Lis Press (founder, 1976)
Awards and honors
Kentucky Poet Laureate
Writer in Residence (University of Louisville)
Harper Lee Award
Southeastern Library Association Fiction Award
Joy Harris (Joy Harris Literary Agency)
Short biography
From HarperCollins: Sena Jeter Naslund is the daughter of a physician father and a musician mother. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, with her two older brothers Marvin D. Jeter, an archaeologist and author and John Sims Jeter, a retired engineer and novelist. The Jeter family also lived briefly in Loredo, West Virginia, and Jackson, Louisiana. Naslund attended public schools in Birmingham and graduated from Birmingham Southern College where she received the B.B. Comer Medal in English. She earned a master's degree and a doctorate from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. She served as Kentucky Poet Laureate during 2005–2006, and is currently Writer in Residence and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Louisville.



Ahab's Wife in Awful Lit. (August 2015)


Told mainly from Dr. Watson's point of view after Sherlock's death (his real one, years after the falls). Very touching in some areas. I enjoyed the retelling of part of the detectives life.
Shelley8059 | 7 other reviews | Jan 25, 2024 |
Sena Jeter Nauslund (how I would love to know the etymology of that name) has written a book worthy of its inspiration in Ahab’s Wife. Beautifully written, though some of the ponderings by Una (the wife) as she develops her spirituality remind me of the elven songs in Tolkien - long and wavering and tempting to skip.
That said, this is an amazing life description of a girl who lived unafraid. Like Ahab, she thrusts herself in places, builds skills so she can handle life’s twists, strengthens herself against misfortune, opens herself to joy.
Nausland describes life at a lighthouse so beautifully I wanted to pack up my life and move there immediately.. She describes whale hunting in its gruesome detail, draws the heart-rending aspects of mental illness without glancing away.
Now of course I must re- read Moby Dick. I feel that this book provides a humanity to Ahab, and makes me wish for more. And hey bravo for a book that describes the life of women in this time.
Una is a bit tooooo perfect for me, so open and forgiving and tolerant. It seems unlikely at that time. But I was so willing to suspend disbelief and trust in the story and it was beautiful.
… (more)
Dabble58 | 117 other reviews | Nov 11, 2023 |
Captain Ahab,Moby Dick, and Ishamael are three of the most well known characters in American literature. One of the things I most liked about this take on the tale was the way several real life people were included in Una Ahab's telling of the story. Four of these names were instantly recognizable to me. Three of them are writers who are required reading I'm many schools; i.e. Henry James, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. But there were three characters who whose names I didn't actually recognize, all three were close friends of Una; and there was just something about the passion in which the author described them that made we wonder. So I googled them, and it turns out yes, they were actual historical figures. Margaret Fuller the first full time American female book reviewer and strong women's rights. Maria Mitchell the first person to discover a comment using a telescope. And Phebe Folger Coleman an acclaimed poet and artist. I think it says a lot about history is taught in our schools. For far too long women have not been getting the recognition they deserve for the accomplishments they have made. I said earlier there were four names I recognized instantly. The fourth was Frederick Douglass. He had only a minor role in this novel but the accolades the author bestowed upon him make it clear of the vital and very influential role Douglass played in the fight against slavery. So how is it that the President of this nation does not know of the importance of Frederick Douglas ? Answer, he lived his entire life in that ivory tower and is totally out of touch with the People. We The People deserve better that that !… (more)
kevinkevbo | 117 other reviews | Jul 14, 2023 |
More interesting than Moby Dick.
mykl-s | 117 other reviews | May 28, 2023 |



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