Speaker Series Explores Wizardry, Ghosts, and the Creation of a Culture
Six Bridges Book Festival welcomes C. M. Waggoner, author of The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry; Nell Irvin Painter, author of Creating Black Americans; and Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Ghost Variations, for a series of author talks this spring. These virtual events are free and open to the public, but reservations are requested at cals.org.
C. M. Waggoner, The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry
Thursday, January 21, 6:30 p.m.
Moderated by Danielle Butler
Sparks fly in this enchanting fantasy novel from the author of Unnatural Magic when a down-and-out fire witch and a young gentlewoman join forces against a deadly conspiracy.
Dellaria Wells, petty con artist, occasional thief, and partly educated fire witch, takes a job with a team of highly peculiar women tasked with protecting their wealthy charge from unknown assassins.
Delly quickly sets her sights on one of her companions, the confident and well-bred Winn Cynallum. The job looks like nothing but romance and easy money until things take a deadly (and undead) turn. With the help of a bird-loving necromancer, a shapeshifting schoolgirl, and an ill-tempered reanimated mouse named Buttons, Delly and Winn are determined to get the best of an adversary who wields a twisted magic and has friends in the highest of places.
Waggoner grew up in rural upstate New York, where she spent a lot of time reading fantasy novels in a swamp. She studied creative writing at SUNY Purchase and lived in China for eight years before moving with her husband to Albany, NY. In her spare time, she volunteers, performs kitchen experiments, asks if she can pet your dog, and gardens badly. Her debut novel was Unnatural Magic.
Nell Irvin Painter, Creating Black Americans: African-American History and Its Meanings, 1619 to the Present
Thursday, February 18, 6:30 p.m.
Moderated by Jessica McDaniel
Creating Black Americans offers a history written for a new generation of African Americans, stretching from life in Africa before slavery to today’s hip-hop culture. Painter blends a vivid narrative based on the latest research with a wonderful array of artwork by African American artists, works which add a new depth to our understanding of black history.
Painter is a distinguished and award-winning scholar and writer. A graduate of Harvard University, Painter went on to become the Edwards Professor Emeritus of American History at Princeton University. She is the author of seven books and countless articles relating to the history of the American South. Painter’s latest book, The History of White People, guides us through more than 2000 years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but the frequent praise of “whiteness.” Her critically acclaimed book, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol, won the nonfiction prize of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.
This CALS Speakers Series event honors Rabbi Ira Sanders. Rabbi Sanders built an unforgettable legacy through his passionate advocacy for social justice and the many initiatives he founded to better the lives of others. Dr. Sanders served as rabbi at Congregation B’nai Israel for 38 years. Sanders, who lived in Little Rock from 1926 until his death in 1985, was an outspoken supporter of racial integration, equal opportunity, and women’s rights.
Kevin Brockmeier, The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories
Thursday, March 11, 6:30 p.m.
Moderated by Susan Petty Moneyhon
In The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories, a spirit who appears in a law firm reliving the exact moment she lost her chance at love, a man haunted by the trees cut down to build his house, nefarious specters that snatch anyone who steps into the shadows in which the specters live, and parakeets that serve as mouthpieces for the dead are just a few of the characters that appear, with their spectral emanations and wildly various purposes in (after) life. The tales in this extraordinary compendium are by turns playful, chilling, and philosophical, paying homage to the genre while audaciously subverting expectations.
Brockmeier is the author of the novels The Ghost Variations, A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip, The Illumination, The Brief History of the Dead, and The Truth About Celia; the story collections Things That Fall from the Sky and The View from the Seventh Layer; and the children’s novel City of Names and Grooves: A Kind of Mystery. His work has been translated into seventeen languages. He has published his stories in such venues as The New Yorker, The Georgia Review, McSweeney’s, Zoetrope, Tin House, The Oxford American, The Best American Short Stories, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and New Stories from the South. He has received the Borders Original Voices Award, three O. Henry Awards (one, a first prize), the PEN USA Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an NEA Grant. In 2007, he was named one of Granta magazine’s Best Young American Novelists He teaches frequently at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and he lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was raised.