Beowulf for Cretins: A Love Story by Ann McMan


A burned out English professor toiling away at a small college in Vermont’s Champlain Islands finds love and ensuing complications that very well may spoil her last shots at tenure and happiness.

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“Ann McMan is the lesbian Armistead Maupin, only better.” —Lee Lynch, author of The Swashbuckler

“North Carolina author Ann McMan has a gift like few other authors. She knows how to blend comedy and sensitivity to human issues so seamlessly that reading her novels is like looking into the mirror—not only the one in your home, but also the funny distorted ones we used to see in the Fun House. Funny, smart, informed, and very tender, she writes superb novels of multiple levels of interpretation. Ann is not only a fine tale spinner, but also an excellent craftswoman!” —Grady Harp, Amazon Vine Voice, Hall of Fame, Top 100 Reviewer

Aspiring novelist, Grace Warner is a burned-out English professor who spends her days teaching four sections of “Beowulf for Cretins” to bored and disinterested students at one of New England’s “hidden ivy” colleges. Not long after she is unceremoniously dumped by her longtime girlfriend, Grace meets the engaging and mysterious Abbie on a cross-country flight to attend a friend’s 60th birthday party. Sparks fly on and off the plane as the two strangers give in to a reckless impulse, with no strings attached and no information exchanged. Back home at St. Alban’s the college rocks Grace’s world when it announces the appointment of a new president, the first woman in its 150-year history. Cue Abbie—and cue Grace’s collision course with fate, a neurotic dog named Grendel, an increasingly fractious and suspicious tenure review committee, and what very well might be her last shot a real happiness.

This novel reimagines the short story, “Falling From Grace”, which was originally published in the award-winning collection, Sidecar by Ann McMan.

ANN McMAN is a recipient of the Alice B. Lavender Certificate for Outstanding Debut Novel and the Alice B. Medal for her body of work. She is a four-time winner of the Golden Crown Literary Award. Her novel, Backcast, was a 2016 IPPY medalist, and her novel, Hoosier Daddy, was a 2014 Lambda Literary Award finalist. An award-winning graphic designer, she resides in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


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