Saturday, April 29: Pushcart Prize honoree Sayantani DasGupta will read from her collection of essays, Fire Girl: Essays on India, America, and the In-Between. She will be joined by Elizabeth Sloan, author of the memoir When Songbirds Returned to Paris, and Alicia Mountain, 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee. 1pm.
Sayantani DasGupta, Fire Girl: Essays on India, America, and the In-Between
Sayantani DasGupta teaches Creative Writing and South Asian Literature at the University of Idaho, and is the author of the book Fire Girl: Essays on India, America, & the In-Between, published a few months ago by Two Sylvias Press. In Fire Girl, she examines her personal story against the complexities of India & America through Bollywood; Hindu mythology; South Asian history and politics; gender and feminism; and what it means to grow up in the crowded, cosmopolitan world of New Delhi versus the small, university town of the American West where she now lives and teaches.
Elizabeth Sloan, When Songbirds Returned to Paris
"With an innovative narrative structure and lively cast of characters, Elizabeth Sloan’s When Songbirds Returned to Paris weaves a powerful family history set against the backdrop of world war. Sloan’s impressive research reminds us that with enough digging, remarkable, true stories can rise from the dead."—Buddy Levy, author of Geronimo, Conquistador, and River of Darkness.
“Your mss. arrived and I read it in a gulp. Always wanted to know more about Cecily, and here it all is. You weave the story gracefully between revelations of your research and the story itself.”—Curtis Harnack (d. 2013), Executive director of Yaddo Artists Retreat 1971-87 and author of the masterful memoir We Have All Gone Away.
When Germany invades France in 1940, Cecily Lefort can’t imagine how the aristocratic comforts of life as a French doctor’s wife are about to disappear. A return to native England eventually leads Cecily back to France, this time as a secret agent. Cecily is one of 13 female Special Operations Executive (SOE) spies who do not survive to tell their story. But a 100-year old family-owned photograph of Cecily inspires author Elizabeth Sloan to travel to Paris and investigate the story of Cecily’s life–and death. The intuitive conversation between Elizabeth and Cecily–based on war documents, letters, and interviews–spins an international web of intrigue that captures the raw emotions of love and war. When Songbirds Returned to Paris (Fawkes Press – June 2016) braids historical nonfiction/biography/memoir.
When Songbirds Returned to Paris was nominated for the American Library in Paris Book Award, 2016; is an International Book Award (IBA) finalist in the category of narrative nonfiction; and is nominated for a Pushcart Prize for 2017.
Elizabeth Sloan lives in Moscow, Idaho, where she writes, makes book art, and works as a university instructor. She’s an enthusiastic presenter of art and writing workshops—most notably on Book Art and “Writing from Photo to Finish.”
Alicia Mountain is a poet and PhD candidate at the University of Denver. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Guernica, jubilat, Prairie Schooner, Pleiades, Witness, and elsewhere. Alicia Mountain's work was nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. Her unpublished full-length manuscript was a semi-finalist for the 2015 St. Lawrence Book Award and a notable manuscript for the 2016 BOAAT Book Prize. Alicia Mountain received her MFA at the University of Montana in Missoula. She has also worked as a case manager for people living with HIV.