ESU Professor Publishes Critically Acclaimed Novel
‘Night of the Animals’ Released After 14 Years of Work

Broun held a book signing at the Moravian Book Store in July. Photo Credit / Rebecca Rue
Broun held a book signing at the Moravian Book Store in July. Photo Credit / Rebecca Rue
Broun held a book signing at the Moravian Book Store in July. Photo Credit / Rebecca Rue

Broun held a book signing at the Moravian Book Store in July.
Photo Credit / Rebecca Rue

Lauren Shook
A&E Editor

Bill Broun has rapidly gained attention following the release of his novel, “Night of the Animals.”

Broun’s publisher, Ecco Books/Harper Collins played a critical role in the promotion and events surrounding the book’s release.

The 14 years of hard work that the ESU professor devoted to his writing has surely paid off.

“The book was featured in almost every major newspaper in the country,” stated Broun via telephone.

“Night of the Animals” combines action, magic and adventure.

“It’s set in 2052 in London and it’s about an old, elderly drug addict who releases the animals from the London Zoo,” said Broun.

Broun drew inspiration from those he knew personally, “The man who’s the protagonist has a mental illness, and I was inspired by some people that I know who struggle with mental illness and housing security.”

“I used to know a lot of people who had been on the streets, and they were a big influence on me,” Broun continued.

When writing a fictional story, it is essential that the story is genuine and unique. Despite the mass amounts of reading Broun completed in the preparation of writing, Broun stressed the importance of remaining original.

“Ultimately I had to make up my own story, so you can let research over-determine what you write, and that’s always a mistake,” said Broun.

Most of the research that Broun did complete, however, was in regards to language and wildlife details.

Broun stated, “the amount of heavy research that I did for the novel was more on dialects from the nineteenth century, and folklore and folk magic from the nineteenth century.”

While describing the accuracy of his research, Broun explained that “if you go in a certain woodland that’s mentioned in the book, and it mentions certain kinds of plants and animals, those are actually there.”

Previously employed by Yale University, Broun decided on a change of scenery when he began teaching at ESU in 2006.

Although Yale is a very prestigious university, Broun “wanted a chance to work with students who were first generation [in] college.”

Writing a novel, while working as a professor was no easy task.

Balancing work, writing and family took a great deal of sacrifice and dedication.

“I knew it was a crazy thing to do, but I just kept working on it. I had a lot of support from family and friends, and that for me was important. Not a lot of different people were supportive, but a few people that mattered,” said Broun.

Having a strong support system, and those who inspire creative work are two things that are important when it comes to writing.

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Pick up “Night of the Animals” at any bookseller. Photos Courtesy / ESU Press Release

Pick up “Night of the Animals” at any bookseller.
Photos Courtesy / ESU Press Release

Mary Gaitskill and Keith Banner serve as an immense source of inspiration to Broun.

“I actually think they’re two of the best writers who are alive right now, and I’m lucky enough to be friends with them,” stated Broun.

Other authors who have inspired the writer and professor are Anton Chekhov, Alice Munro, Toni Morrison and Vladimir Nabokov.

In reference to Nabokov, Broun stated that “he was a big influence on me, which readers might see in my writing.” Broun also enjoys the work of Philip K. Dick, a science fiction writer.

Although Broun appreciates the achievement that comes with his newest novel, his work is not finished.

“A lot of people ask me about how awesome it must be to have such success, and I AM very grateful for it, but as a writer – and any artist will understand this – I am mostly focused on my next book or story. I have to be. I can’t stay still, creatively.”

Broun will be speaking at ESU in Stroud 113 at 3 p.m. on Sept. 21 for a provost’s colloquium.

“Night of the Animals” is available for sale at all major bookselling retailers. For more information about Bill Broun and his work, visit billbroun.com.

Email Lauren at:
lshook2@live.esu.edu

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