Online Event: Marie Mutsuki Mockett Presents American Harvest with Marlon James and Juston Wolgemuth
Wednesday, 8:00 pm April 15, 2020
American Harvest by Marie Mutsuki Mockett is a beautifully written book about one woman’s experience across “the divide,” a tribute to the complicated and nuanced history of the United States and its people.
Mockett will be joined in conversation with the author Marlon James and Juston Wolgemuth, the son of one of the evangelical Christian farmers who harvest the wheat on Mockett’s family’s Nebraska farm.
Marie Mutsuki Mockett
Marie Mutsuki Mockett
Marie Mutsuki Mockett is the author of a novel, Picking Bones from Ash, and a memoir, Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye, which was a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award. She lives in San Francisco. You can read more on her website www.mariemockett.com.
Marlon James is the author of the New York Times bestseller A Brief History of Seven Killings, The Book of Night Women, and John Crow’s Devil. A Brief History of Seven Killings won the Man Booker Prize, the American Book Award, and the Anisfield-Wolf Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Book of Night Women won the Minnesota Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the NAACP Image Award. A professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, James divides his time between Minnesota and New York.
Juston A. Wolgemuth
Juston A. Wolgemuth
Juston A. Wolgemuth was born in 1994 into a farming family. He grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and attended Cross Roads Brethren In Christ church which his forefathers helped found in the late 1800s. As a child, he learned to drive a tractor at age eight and began helping his father on the wheat harvest at age 14 as a grain cart operator. Juston also pursued interests in music (cello), sports (volleyball and soccer), and the German language. After graduating high school in 2013, he spent a year in Germany with Eastern Mennonite Missions: an experience that drastically broadened his worldview and developed his fluency in German. He then attended college where he developed interests in social justice and urban ministry, and where he earned a degree in English with a creative-nonfiction thesis on death and the processing of grief. He currently is pursuing a Masters in Counseling and works in communications for his university. He enjoys reading, music, time spent with friends, and discussing religion, social issues, and Christian culture.
By Marie Mutsuki Mockett
For over one hundred years, the Mockett family has owned a seven-thousand-acre wheat farm in the panhandle of Nebraska, where Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s father was raised. Mockett, who grew up in bohemian Carmel, California, with her father and her Japanese mother, knew little about farming when she inherited this land. Her father had all but forsworn it.
In American Harvest, Mockett accompanies a group of evangelical Christian wheat harvesters through the heartland at the invitation of Eric Wolgemuth, the conservative farmer who has cut her family’s fields for decades. As Mockett follows Wolgemuth’s crew on the trail of ripening wheat from Texas to Idaho, they contemplate what Wolgemuth refers to as “the divide,” inadvertently peeling back layers of the American story to expose its contradictions and unhealed wounds. She joins the crew in the fields, attends church, and struggles to adapt to the rhythms of rural life, all the while continually reminded of her own status as a person who signals “not white,” but who people she encounters can’t quite categorize.
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