Thursday, November 19, 6:00pm CT
Zoom Event - Registration Required
Roxane Gay and Okey Ndibe discuss their transformative debut novels and explore the concept of courage in a chaotic time.
Indie bookstores and indie presses partner to present this compelling conversation between two brilliant writers. Roxane Gay (Untamed State, Bad Feminist) and Okey Ndibe (Arrows of Rain, Foreign Gods, Inc.) discuss their transformative debut novels and explore the concept of courage amid chaos. This event will be moderated by Anderson Tepper, co-chair of the international committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival.
This is an Indie Playlist event, created to support your local independent bookstore! Please consider buying these two brilliant books from our wonderful bookstore partner Left Bank Books!
This event is also hosted by Independent Publishers Caucus, Grove Atlantic, and Soho Press.
An Untamed State, by Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay is a powerful new literary voice whose short stories and essays have already earned her an enthusiastic audience. In An Untamed State, she delivers an assured debut about a woman kidnapped for ransom, her captivity as her father refuses to pay and her husband fights for her release over thirteen days, and her struggle to come to terms with the ordeal in its aftermath.
Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti's richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father's Port au Prince estate. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom. As it becomes clear her father intends to resist the kidnappers, Mireille must endure the torments of a man who resents everything she represents.
An Untamed State is a novel of privilege in the face of crushing poverty, and of the lawless anger that corrupt governments produce. It is the story of a willful woman attempting to find her way back to the person she once was, and of how redemption is found in the most unexpected of places. An Untamed State establishes Roxane Gay as a writer of prodigious, arresting talent.
"From the astonishing first line to the final scene, An Untamed State is magical and dangerous. I could not put it down. Pay attention to Roxane Gay; she's here to stay."--Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow and Leaving Atlanta
" Haiti's] better scribes, among them Edwidge Danticat, Franketienne, Madison Smartt Bell, Lyonel Trouillot, and Marie Vieux Chavet, have produced some of the best literature in the world. . . . Add to their ranks Roxane Gay, a bright and shining star."--Kyle Minor, author of In the Devil's Territory, on Ayiti
Roxane Gay's writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, The Rumpus, Salon, The Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy culture blog, and many others including her Tumblr, roxanegay.tumblr.com. She is the co-editor of PANK and essays editor for The Rumpus. She teaches writing at Eastern Illinois University. She tweets at @rgay.
Arrows of Rain, by Okey Ndibe
In Nigerian novelist and journalist Okey Ndibe's powerful debut novel, living to tell the tale is not enough--you must also tell it. Twenty years after its original publication, and now with a new Foreword by the author, Arrows of Rain remains a vital exploration of the importance of story in opposition to corruption and the steep cost of speaking truth to power.
"A story that must be told never forgives silence."
In the country of Madia (based in part on Ndibe's native Nigeria) a young sex worker runs into the sea and drowns. The last man who spoke to her, the "madman" Bukuru, is asked to account for her last moments. When his testimony implicates the Madian armed forces, Bukuru is arrested and charged with her death. At the first day of trial, Bukuru, acting as his own attorney, counters these charges with allegations of his own, speaking not only of government complicity in a series of violent assaults and killings, but telling the court that the president of Madia himself is guilty of rape and murder. The incident is hushed up, and Bukuru is sent back to prison, where he will likely meet his end. But a young journalist manages to visit him, and together they journey through decades of history that illuminate Bukuru's life, and that of the entire nation.
A brave and powerful work of fiction, Arrows of Rain continues to resonate as a necessary morality tale and a brilliant dramatization of the complex factors behind the near-collapse of a nation from one of the most exciting novelists writing today.
"Smart and often deftly written, a parable of power and the humanity it strips away . . . Arrows of Rain remains a novel of resistance—if not political resistance, exactly, then resistance at the level of the soul." —David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times
"Ndibe is a gifted writer and an adept storyteller, who clearly exults in the telling." —Essence Magazine
Okey Ndibe first came to the US to act as founding editor of African Commentary, a magazine published by Chinua Achebe. He has taught at Brown University, Connecticut College, Simon's Rock College, Trinity College, and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar). He is the author of two novels, Arrows of Rain and Foreign Gods, Inc., and the memoir Never Look an American in the Eye, and his award-winning journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Hartford Courant. Mr. Ndibe lives in West Hartford, Connecticut, with his wife, Sheri, and their three children.