Monday, March 5, 2018

Author alert: Michael Moreci with a Star Warsian adventure, Kim Thuy for Francophonie Month, Shelley Drake Hawks on Chinese art

Thursday, March 6, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Michael Moreci, author of Black Star Renegades

Black Star Renegades is a galaxy-hopping space adventure about a galactic kingdom bent on control and the young misfit who must find the power within before it’s too late.

Cade Sura holds the future of the galaxy in his hands: the ultimate weapon that will bring total peace. He didn’t ask for it, he doesn’t want it, and there’s no worse choice to wield it in all of space, but if he doesn’t, everyone’s totally screwed. The evil Praxis kingdom is on the cusp of having every star system under its control, and if that happens, there’ll be no contesting their cruel reign. Especially if its fanatical overlord, Ga Halle, manages to capture Cade and snag the all-powerful weapon for herself. Cade can’t hide from Praxis, and he can’t run from the destiny that’s been shoved into his hands. So he only has one option - he has to fight. With some help from his friends - rebels and scoundrels alike - Cade’s going to use this weapon to chart a new destiny for the galaxy, and for himself.

Blending the space operatics of Star Wars and the swagger of Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Star Renegades is a galaxy-hopping adventure that blasts its way from seedy spacer bars to sacred temples guarded by deadly creatures - all with a cast of misfit characters who have nowhere to go and nothing to lose.

From Bleeding Cool, on Moreci's decision to include absolutely no pictures in his latest comic book: "It came to me one stormy night. I’d been drinking whiskey since noon, and I forgot to hire an artist for this story I wanted to tell. So I thought to myself, 'What if there was NO artist at all?' and the innovation took off from there. But seriously, I’d always wanted to write a novel. In fact, I have before! It was unpublished (thank Crom). I’d been pitching an editor at St. Martin’s for years with no luck, then one day he called me up and said, 'Mike, you love Star Wars. Write me something Star Wars.' And all I had to do was open my drawer and say, 'Here you go!' and we were off and running from there."

Chicago-based Michael Moreci’s comics include the critically acclaimed sci-fi trilogy Roche Limit and the military horror drama Burning Fields. He's also written Suicide Squad for DC, Planet of the Apes for Boom!, and his other original titles include Curse, Hoax Hunters, ReincarNATE, and the forthcoming Black Hole Repo. As a novelist, Moreci is currently writing Spy Swap, an espionage thriller.

Thursday, March 8, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Kim Thúy, author of Ru and Mãn

Celebrate Francophonie Month with Alliance Française de Milwaukee and Boswell! Enjoy an evening with Kim Thúy, author of Ru, winner of the Governor General’s Award for a French-language novel, and shortlisted for the Giller Prize in its English translation. This event is brought to Milwaukee in part by the Quebec Delegation of Chicago.

The title of the novel Ru has meaning in both Kim's native and adoptive languages: in Vietnamese, ru is a lullaby; in French, a stream. And it provides the perfect name for this slim yet potent novel. With prose that soothes and sings, Ru weaves through time, flows and transports: a river of sensuous memories gathering power. It's a classic immigrant story told in a breathtaking new way.

And here’s more about Thúy’s most recently translated book, Mãn. From East to West, Saigon to Montreal, Mãn is a young refugee whose mother is protecting her by setting up a marriage to a Vietnamese restaurant owner in Canada. Mãn has learned to grow up without dreaming and to live without needing hardly anything. But in the kitchen, when she reworks the simple recipes of her childhood, her emotions are unleashed. Kim Thúy draws a beautiful mosaic in which the mix of memory, love, and estrangement causes us to realize how far we’ve come.

Here's Kim Thúy talking about her latest novel Vi, which comes out in English in Canada next month, with Jeanette Kelly at CBC News. I think the story gives you an idea about Thuy's infectious energy. My friend John sat with her at a lunch several years ago and was completely smitten.

Kim Thúy left Vietnam with the boat people at the age of 10 and settled in Quebec, Canada as a refugee of war in 1979. A graduate in translation and law, when settled in Montreal she worked many jobs - seamstress, interpreter, lawyer, and restaurateur - until the release of her first novel in 2009.

Friday, March 9, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Shelley Drake Hawks, author of The Art of Resistance: Painting by Candlelight in Mao's China

The Lawrence Club of Milwaukee and the Dartmouth Alumni Association of Wisconsin cosponsor a special evening with Shelley Drake Hawks, author of a beautiful new book that chronicles the lives of seven Chinese artists during China’s Cultural Revolution.

The Art of Resistance surveys the lives of seven painters—Ding Cong (1916–2009), Feng Zikai (1898–1975), Li Keran (1907–89), Li Kuchan (1898–1983), Huang Yongyu (b. 1924), Pan Tianshou (1897–1971), and Shi Lu (1919–82) - during China’s Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), a time when they were considered counterrevolutionary and were forbidden to paint. Drawing on interviews with the artists and their families and on materials collected during her visits to China, Shelley Drake Hawks examines their painting styles, political outlooks, and life experiences.

These fiercely independent artists took advantage of moments of low surveillance to secretly paint by candlelight. In doing so, they created symbolically charged art that is open to multiple interpretations. The wit, courage, and compassion of these painters will inspire respect for the deep emotional and spiritual resonance of Chinese art.

Look! The Art of Resistance hit the Oklahoma bestseller list last Christmas, per The Oklahoman.

Shelley Drake Hawks teaches art history and world history at Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts.

For more upcoming events, visit the eponymous page on our website.

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