Monday, June 28, 2021

Here's what's happening at Boswell this week - Angeline Boulley and Margaret Noodin, Lana Bastašić talks to Chris Lee

Two great events, three great authors, and all with a whole mess of Boswell love!

Tuesday, June 29, 7 pm
Angeline Boulley, author of Firekeeper’s Daughter and 
Margaret Noodin, author of What the Chickadee Knows
Together in conversation

Register for this free event here

Boswell presents an evening with Angeline Boulley, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Firekeeper's Daughter, which NPR called "a powerhouse of a debut." For this special event, Boulley will be in conversation with Margaret Noodin, UWM Professor, Director of Electa Quinney Institute, and author of the Boswell bestseller, What the Chickadee Knows. This event will be a celebration of young adult literature, poetry, and the Anishinaabemowin language.

Here's Jenny Chou recommending Boulley's debut: "Firekeeper’s Daughter is one of those books written for teens that adult readers must make a point not to miss. The plot moves along just like the very best of thrillers, and the characters are nuanced and believable. Main character Daunis Fontaine is biracial, with a white mom and a Native American dad who together caused quite the scandal, but they separated before Danius was even born. Now, as a teen, she’s welcomed by both her Anishinaabe and white families, and yet is not wholly part of either culture. When her best friend is murdered, and it’s clear that a new form of meth is devastating the tribe, Daunis is approached by law enforcement agents to go undercover to investigate where the drug is coming from. With her knowledge of chemistry and native plants, she’s clever and curious enough to take the investigation in her own direction. Along the way, she gets caught up in a pretend romance that starts to feel very real with an officer disguised as a high school student. With all the difficulties in her life, the relationship added just the right amount of sweetness to the novel. Ultimately, this is a story of community, which made a betrayal from within feel all the more soul crushing. But trust that a writer as talented as Angeline Boulley can, somehow, also leave us with hope."

Tim McCarthy recommends What the Chickadee Knows: "It's a literary gift to suddenly find profound inspiration. Finding that it comes from a local author makes it rare. Margaret Noodin is a professor of English and American Indian studies at UW-Milwaukee. She earned two degrees from Minnesota schools, and it’s where she learned the language of the poems in What the Chickadee Knows. They’re conceived and written in Anishinaabemowin, side by side with her English translations. It’s “the language of the Odawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe people centered in the Great Lakes region.” I don’t know the language, but the words are visually thrilling. I can begin to imagine their lovely sounds, and I love seeing the continuation of First Nations languages. Their descriptions of the land and life, time and loss, sorrow and celebration have the feel of a natural world we all long for. They're simply stated, and beautifully complex. They speak of love, while also confronting the tragedy of our history. This is one of the most precious book discoveries I've had, and it's very exciting to know that Noodin teaches up the street from Boswell!"

Angeline Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. She is a former Director of the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Margaret Noodin is Professor of English and American Indian studies at the UWM, where she is Associate Dean of the Humanities. She is the author of Bawaajimo: A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literature and Weweni, a collection of bilingual poems in Anishinaabemowin and English.

Thursday, July 1, 2 pm
Lana Bastašić, author of Catch the Rabbit
in Conversation with Chris Lee for a Virtual Event
Register for this free event here

Lana Bastašić, the 2020 European Union Prize for Literature winner, chats about her debut novel, Catch the Rabbit, a story of estranged friends who take a road trip through post-war Bosnia and into their illusive shared history. In conversation with Chris Lee of Boswell, who has been championing this book for months. 

Chris Lee's recommendation for Catch the Rabbit: "Amazing, heart-wrenching, wondrous. A years-spanning story of an intense friendship and how history (you know, wars and stuff) weighs on people's bonds. More than a decade ago, Sara left Bosnia, never to return. Now, drawn back by a long-lost childhood friend, she’s on a road trip through the Western Balkans, her own past, and a landscape scarred by social and political violence. Bastašić wrestles questions of obligation and understanding into one woman’s deeply personal reckoning. What do we owe the people who’ve shaped us, who taught us how to feel alive? What we know (and un-know) of our friends, our histories, and ourselves? It’s a story of how a person can misunderstand her friend and herself and then be completely wrecked and rebuilt as she grows to a new understanding of her world. Prepare to be split in two. WOW!"

Cory Oldweiler raves about Catch the Rabbit in the Star Tribune: "Bastašić, who also translated the book into English, is a glorious writer, approaching even familiar emotions with a unique vibrancy, and if Catch the Rabbit simply followed Sara and Lejla as they drove from, say, Minneapolis to St. Louis, it would still be well worth your time. But the novel's true brilliance lies in the many ways that the war, though rarely explicitly named, infuses and enhances every aspect of Sara's narration."

Lana Bastašić (photo credit Radmila + Vankoska) is a Yugoslav-born writer. Catch the Rabbit was shortlisted for the 2019 NIN award. It was also named an Indies Introduce book for Summer-Fall 2021.

More on the Boswell upcoming events page.

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