Hartwick Welcomes ‘Pope Joan’ Author for Yager Museum Talk

April 22, 2010

Hartwick College's Yager Museum of Art & Culture will host Donna Woolfolk Cross, author of the historical novel Pope Joan, for a lecture on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 5:45 p.m. The event will be in the Main Gallery of the Museum and is free and open to the public.

Cross will discuss the research, writing, and themes of her popular novel, which was originally published in 1996. The existence of a female pope in the 9th century has long been disputed by the Catholic Church. Cross’ novel builds on the few facts known about the legendary female pope, creating a vivid sense of everyday life in Germany and Rome during this turbulent period. The author will address the evidence for Pope Joan’s existence, including both documentary sources, material culture in the Vatican Museum, and oral histories and traditions.

Cross' novel describes the challenges women faced in acquiring an education in medieval Europe and the disruptions caused by the lack of strong governments, Viking invasions, and the crumbling infrastructure left from the Roman Empire. The book is in its second printing and a movie of Pope Joan was filmed in Germany in 2009 and is now being released in the U.S.

A reception for the author will begin at 5 p.m., followed by her presentation at 5:45 p.m. A book signing will follow the lecture.

For more information, call Museum Coordinator Donna Anderson at 607-431-4423 or e-mail The event is co-sponsored by the Yager Museum of Art & Culture and The Hartwick College Museum Club.

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,480 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030