Boston Book Festival 2020 Boston Book Festival 2020

Reading Like a Writer: Protest

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Asha Lemmie
Fifty Words for Rain

Asha Lemmie's debut novel, Fifty Words for Rain, is a coming-of-age story about a young woman’s quest for acceptance in post–World War II Japan. Kirkus Reviews says, “Lemmie’s sweeping historical backdrop, from the post–World War II decline of minor royalty through the expanding liberations of the 1960s, is breathtaking…. A bold historical portrait of a woman overcoming oppression.”

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Anna Solomon
The Book of V.

Anna Solomon is a novelist, former journalist, and a two time recipient of the Pushcart Prize. Her short fiction, essays, and reviews have been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, the Boston Globe, and various other publications. Solomon’s short story “The Lobster Mafia Story” was also chosen for our very own One City one Story community read. She has written three novels, including The Little Bride, which was named a Best Adult Book for Teens by School Library Journal, and Leaving Lucy Pear, which received starred reviews from Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews. Solomon’s latest book, The Book of V., was a Book Club Pick for Good Morning America and Emma Roberts’s Belletrist Book Club, and was named Book of the Week by People Magazine. Publishers Weekly calls it “fresh and tantalizing, with fascinating intergenerational discussions about desire, duty, family, and feminism, as well as a surprising, completely believable twist.”

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David Heska Wanbli Weiden is a professor, novelist, children’s author, and recipient of the PEN/American Writing for Justice Fellowship. His work has been published in Shenandoah, Yellow Medicine Review, Transmotion, Criminal Class Review, and other magazines. His first book, Spotted Tail, was a children’s book about the great Lakota leader and won the 2020 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. His latest work, Winter Counts, is a thriller for adults, telling the story of a local Native American enforcer obsessed with catching an dangerous drug dealer. It has been chosen as one of 2020’s most anticipated books by the Library Journal, USA Today, CrimeReads, BuzzFeed, and many other publications. Famed novelist Louise Erdrich calls it “a propulsive crime novel and a wonderfully informative book.”

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Michelle Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award. Hoover’s debut, The Quickening, was a 2010 Massachusetts Book Award “Must Read”. Her second, Bottomlands, a 2017 All Iowa Reads selection, “offers an intriguing, modern take on a classic American landscape” with a “lyrical, at times mysterious, and dreamy tale of family ties” (Kirkus Reviews).

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For the past several years, the BBF’s “Reading Like a Writer” series of craft-focused author discussions have become fan favorites, giving attendees an opportunity to dig deep and gain insights into the choices that shape a writer’s craft. In this session, host Michelle Hoover will guide us through close readings of excerpts from the work of three authors whose new novels contain elements of protest. In The Book of V., novelist (and past One City One Story author) Anna Solomon disrupts patriarchal norms with a tripartite reckoning with the Biblical story of Esther that the Washington Post calls a “multifaceted masterwork.” Debut novelist Asha Lemmie, in Fifty Words for Rain, offers an epic tale of family reckoning and coming of age, about a girl born to a Japanese noblewoman and a Black American GI during World War II. And in his debut novel, Winter Counts, David Heska Wanbli Weiden pens a thriller about a modern-day vigilante whose quest for justice provokes a reckoning with his own Native identity. These authors will provide context for their own excerpts and will interact with one another’s work as well—it’s like a master class for writers and readers alike! Register for this session in advance on Crowdcast to access the authors’ excerpts and to add your own questions and observations to the conversation. Sponsored by Greenough Brand Storytellers.