Thursday, 7:30 pm EDT May 14, 2020
7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT
Travel back in time to Trinidad as it shifts from Spanish to British rule, then to the Crow Nation of Montana in the time of Westward expansion in this important addition to the American story. Lauren Francis-Sharma, author of Book of the Little Axe, will be in conversation with Tiphanie Yanique, author of Land of Love and Drowning.
Lauren Francis-Sharma is the author of ‘Til the Well Runs Dry, her first novel, which was awarded the Honor Fiction Prize by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and short-listed for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. ‘Til the Well Runs Dry was chosen as an O, The Oprah Magazine Summer Reading Pick and lauded by the New York Times, USA Today, Essence magazine, and People magazine amongst other publications. Most recently, Lauren was a contributor to Marita Golden’s anthology, Us Against Alzheimer’s. Lauren, a child of Trinidadian immigrants, has written about the Caribbean in both her novels and the story of her grandmother’s journey to the United States, the inspiration behind her acclaimed first novel, was the subject of a feature article in both the Washington Post in July 2014 and the Baltimore Sun in March 2015.
Lauren is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Law School. She is the owner of D.C. Writer’s Room, Assistant Director of Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a MacDowell Fellow, as well as mother to two children and their dog. Book of the Little Axe, published by Grove/Atlantic, is her highly anticipated sophomore novel.
Tiphanie Yanique is the author of the poetry collection, Wife, which won the 2016 Bocas Prize in Caribbean poetry and the United Kingdom’s 2016 Forward/Felix Dennis Prize for a First Collection. Tiphanie is also the author of the novel, Land of Love and Drowning, which won the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Award from the Center for Fiction, the Phillis Wheatley Award for Pan-African Literature, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, and was listed by NPR as one of the Best Book of 2014. Land of Love and Drowning was also a finalist for the Orion Award in Environmental Literature and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. She is also the author of a collection of stories, How to Escape from a Leper Colony, which won her a listing as one of the National Book Foundation’s 5Under35. Her writing has also won the Bocas Award for Caribbean Fiction, the Boston Review Prize in Fiction, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship and an Academy of American Poet’s Prize. She has been listed by the Boston Globe as one of the sixteen cultural figures to watch out for and her writing has been published in the New York Times, Best African American Fiction, the Wall Street Journal, American Short Fiction and other places. Tiphanie is from the Virgin Islands and received tenure from The New School before heading to the English Department at Wesleyan University as an associate professor, where she is also the Director of the Creative Writing Program. She lives in New Rochelle, New York with her family. For more about Tiphanie in her own words, check out Race, Power and Storytelling: An Interview with Tiphanie Yanique on Kweli.
Book of the Little Axe
By Lauren Francis-Sharma
Published by Grove Atlantic
In Trinidad, in 1796, teenage Rosa Rendón quietly but purposefully rebels against typical female roles and behavior. Bright, competitive, and opinionated, Rosa sees no reason she should learn to cook and keep house—it is obvious her talents lie in running the farm she expects to be her birthright, despite her two older siblings. But as her homeland goes from Spanish to British rule, it becomes increasingly unclear whether its free black property owners—Rosa’s family among them—will be allowed to keep their assets, their land, and ultimately, their freedom.
By 1830, Rosa is living among the Crow Nation in Bighorn, Wyoming with her husband, Edward Rose and family. Her son Victor has reached the age where he should seek his vision and become a man. But his path is blocked by secrets Rosa has kept hidden from him. So Rosa sets out to take him on a journey to where his story began and, in turn, retraces her own roots, those of a girl who forged her own way from the middle of the ocean to the grassy hills of a far-away land.
About this series
Our On America series explores issues important to all Americans as we approach the 2020 election. Who are we? Who are we becoming? How do the stories we tell shape who we are as a nation?
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