Although this event has passed, you can still purchase tickets now through Wednesday, November 17, at 6 p.m. (PT). The event will be viewable until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, November 17.
The National Book Award-winning author of seventeen novels, Louise Erdrich’s fiction reflects aspects of her mixed heritage: German through her father, and French and Ojibwa through her mother.
In her new, powerful, and timely novel, The Sentence, Erdrich explores how the burdens of history, and especially identity, appropriation, exploitation, and violence done to human beings in the name of justice, manifest in ordinary lives today. Q&A with Kristen Millares Young.
All Literary Arts Series, Create Your Own Series, and Super SAL subscribers (except Student/25 & Under and complimentary subscriptions) receive Erdrich’s forthcoming book, The Sentence, mailed to the subscriber’s address.
Revolving around a small independent bookstore in contemporary Minneapolis, The Sentence follows a turbulent year in the life of a strong though vulnerable Ojibwe woman named Tookie. After serving part of an outrageously long sentence, Tookie, who “learned to read with murderous attention” while in prison, naturally gravitates toward working at a bookstore. There, she joins a dedicated community of artists and book lovers and begins to build a new life for herself.
When Flora, the store’s most persistent customer, suddenly dies, her ghost refuses to leave. Flora returns on All Soul’s Day to haunt the bookstore and in particular, Tookie. Why? The mystery of this revenant’s appearance leads Asema, a fellow Ojibwe bookseller, and Tookie to a shocking personal discovery with historical reverberations. Tookie finds that this year of disease, violence, and political upheaval is, on a worldwide scale, a year of ghosts and hauntings.
The Sentence begins on All Soul’s Day 2019 and ends on All Soul’s Day 2020. Its mystery and proliferating ghost stories during this one year propel a narrative as rich, emotional, and profound as anything Louise Erdrich has written.
In 2012, Erdrich’s novel The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. The Plague of Doves (2008) won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her debut novel, Love Medicine (1984), was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Erdrich has received the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the prestigious PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
Erdrich lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.
Kristen Millares Young, our Q&A moderator for the evening, is a prize-winning journalist, essayist and novelist. Named a Paris Review staff pick, her debut novel Subduction won silver Nautilus and IPPY awards and was a finalist for Foreword Indies Book of the Year and two International Latino Book Awards. A former Hugo House Prose Writer-in-Residence and the editor of Seismic, Kristen was the New York Times researcher for “Snow Fall,” which won a Pulitzer. She reviews books for the Washington Post. From 2016 to 2019, Kristen was board chair of InvestigateWest, a nonprofit newsroom she co-founded to serve vulnerable peoples and places of the Pacific Northwest.