Patricia Aakhus

Patricia "Patty" Aakhus (May 17, 1952 – May 16, 2012[2]), also known by her maiden name and pseudonym, Patricia McDowell, was an American novelist and director of International Studies at the University of Southern Indiana.[3] She specialized in Irish themes and won Readercon's Best Imaginative Literature Award in 1990 and the Cahill Award for The Voyage of Mael Duin's Curragh.[1]

Patricia Aakhus
BornPatricia McDowell
May 17, 1952
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedMay 16, 2012 (aged 59)
Evansville, Indiana, U.S.
Pen namePatricia McDowell[1]
OccupationAcademic, writer
Notable awardsCahill Award

Early life and education

McDowell was born in Los Angeles in 1952 to Lowell and Betsy (nêe Nichols) McDowell, both of whom preceded her in death, as did a brother, Mark. She earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MFA from Norwich University.[3]


Her debut novel, The Voyage of Mael Duin's Curragh, dramatically retells the ancient Irish legend of Mael Duin,[4] an adopted son of a chieftain's widow who accidentally learns of his true parents. He unearths the truth that his mother is a madwoman living in a cave and his father was killed by Viking raiders. He seeks to avenge their death and builds a large curragh, and sets out for the Viking lands with 16 men. They are caught in a storm near enemy territory and drift through mystical islands, which permits the writer Aakhus to increase the magical aspect of the subject matter, as the novel becomes increasingly enchanted with prophetic visionary.[5] Other publications include Astral Magic in the Renaissance: Gems, Poetry and Patronage of Lorenzo de' Medici. Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft and the short story The Spy .[3]

As educator

Aakhus was the Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and program director of International Studies at the University of Southern Indiana. She also taught classes on classical and world mythology, the history of magic, and international studies.[6]


She died from cancer in Evansville, Indiana on May 16, 2012, the day before her 60th birthday. She was survived by her husband, two children, three siblings, and other members of her extended family. At that time, she was working on a contemporary novel, Dogtown.[3]


  • The Voyage of Mael Duin's Curragh (1990); ISBN 0-934257-31-0
  • Daughter of the Boyne (1992); ISBN 0-86327-349-1
  • The Sorrows of Tara (1995); ISBN 0-86327-469-2


  1. ^ a b Internet Book List
  2. ^ "Patricia Aakhus (1952-2012)". Evansville Courier and Press. May 20, 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d University of Southern Indiana Archived 2008-09-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Mackillop, James, "Imram Curaig Maíle Dúin." (2004), A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology
  5. ^ Reed Business Information, Inc. (1989)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-04-19.
Deaths in May 2012

The following is a list of notable deaths in May 2012.

Entries for each day are listed alphabetically by surname. A typical entry lists information in the following sequence:

Name, age, country of citizenship and reason for notability, established cause of death, reference (and language of reference, if not English).

List of American novelists

This is a list of novelists from the United States, listed with titles of a major work for each.

This is not intended to be a list of every American (born U.S. citizen, naturalized citizen, or long-time resident alien) who has published a novel. (For the purposes of this article, novel is defined as an extended work of fiction. This definition is loosely interpreted to include novellas, novelettes, and books of interconnected short stories.) Novelists on this list have achieved a notability that exceeds merely having been published. The writers on the current list fall into one or more of the following categories:

All American novelists who have articles in Wikipedia should be on this list, and even if they do not clearly meet any other criteria they should not be removed until the article itself is removed.

Winner of a major literary prize, even if the winning work was a story collection rather than a novel: The Pulitzer Prize, The PEN American Center Book Awards, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Orange Prize, and some others. (Note: The only Pulitzer winner for Fiction not on the list is James Alan McPherson, who has never published a novel.)

Having a substantial body of work, widely respected and reviewed in major publications, and perhaps often nominated or a finalist for major awards.

A pioneering literary figure, possibly for the style or substance of their entire body of work, or for a single novel that was a notable "first" of some kind in U.S. literary history.

Had several massive bestsellers, or even just one huge seller that has entered the cultural lexicon (Grace Metalious and Peyton Place, for example).

A leading figure—especially award-winning, and with crossover appeal to mainstream readers, reviewers, and scholars—in a major genre or subcategory of fiction: Romance, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, western, young adult fiction, regional or "local color" fiction, proletarian fiction, etc.

May 16

May 16 is the 136th day of the year (137th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 229 days remaining until the end of the year.

Máel Dúin

Máel Dúin is the protagonist of Immram Maele Dúin or the Voyage of Máel Dúin, a tale of a sea voyage written in Old Irish around the end of the 1st millennium AD. He is the son of Ailill Edge-of-Battle, whose murder provides the initial impetus for the tale.

Shara Lessley

Shara Lessley is an American poet and essayist.

Southern Indiana Review

Southern Indiana Review is a literary magazine produced at the University of Southern Indiana since 1994. The journal is known for its Mary C. Mohr Awards in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Work that has appeared in the journal has been honored in the Best American Short Stories and the Best American Essays.Past contributors include Richard Newman, Liam Rector, Karen Uhlmann, Tony Hoagland, Jacob M. Appel, and Jennifer S. Davis.

The Voyage of Mael Duin's Curragh

The Voyage of Mael Duin's Curragh is a 1990 novel written by Patricia_Aakhus. The novel was Aakhus' first published book, and retells the ancient Irish legend of Mael Duin, an adopted son of a chieftain's widow who accidentally learns of his true parents. The novel retrieved significant acclaim upon its release, including a national review by the New York Times on January 28, 1990.

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