When Korongo finished its last workshop series in January, Patrick was in a hospital in France. Since then, he and I have sold an apartment, bought an apartment, renovated, rehabbed, and learned a lot of fancy French medical terms. With all the distractions, the publication this fall of these three books is a miracle. Two of them originated in Korongo writing workshops, and the third is from a manuscript I found in a cupboard. You can't imagine how excited I am about their formal debut. It has been eight long months since I last saw my home town, and I will only be in Randolph for a few days—Patrick cannot travel and I must return to France. In that little chunk of precious time, I want to see as many folks as possible. So let's have a party!
What's happening: A launch party in downtown Randolph sponsored by Kimball Public Library, Chandler, and Korongo Books.
Where: Chandler Center for the Arts.
Who's Gonna Be There: Shirly Hook, author of My Bring Up; Amy Hook-Therrien, illustrator of Shirly's book; me, editor of A Provençal Childhood; Joan Feierabend, co-author ofToward the Glimmer.
As a kid, Shirly Hook learned how to lasso a rooster, ride a heifer, and turn a steamer trunk into a toboggan. She made friends with a bat. She earned 25 cents an hour hanging wallpaper, saved up for a secondhand bicycle, and was riding it through the woods one day when she got between a panther and its dinner. A citizen of the Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki Nation, Shirly tells about the traditions that helped her family put food on the table, the legacy of the eugenics program in Vermont, and the ties of love and respect that bind neighbor to neighbor. Her collection of twenty stories is a Vermont treasure. Buy it on Amazon.com or Amazon.fr.
Inspired by the work of The Hale Street Gang, a writing group of Randolph seniors, this first-person account of growing up in a French village between the wars was written by Mireille when she was in her eighties. I'll talk about how her story was rescued from oblivion and, despite her certainty that "no one will be interested," became available to the 1.5 million tourists who visit Les Baux each year.
Many of the people who come to Korongo are writing for personal reasons, with no intention of publishing more than a few copies of their work to share with family and friends. The nine women whose stories make up this collection began writing together in 2011 and have been meeting ever since. In the beginning, we met in small writing workshops at Patrick's art gallery on Merchants Row in downtown Randolph. After the gallery closed in 2012, those of us who wanted to continue writing in a group began meeting in each other's homes. Joan Feierabend and I will talk about how the group functions, why it continues to meet, and some of the questions we asked ourselves before publishing.