Author Event: a Reading and Conversation with Janice Deal, Valerie Nieman and Marjorie Hudson
Page 158 Books is excited to welcome authors Janice Deal, Valerie Nieman and Marjorie Hudson for a reading and conversation about their newest novels.
The Sound of Rabbits tells the story of Ruby, a bright woman with a love of music who thought that leaving the small town where she grew up would ensure her happiness. But her life in Chicago is not going the way she'd planned. At 41, she's drifted away from music, and a long-term relationship with a boyfriend has ended badly. Everything changes with one phone call from her sister, Val, who cares for their mother, Barbara, in the hardscrabble Midwestern town where Ruby grew up. Ruby returns to confront some harsh truths about her family and herself as she tries to find meaning in her mother's battle with Parkinson's disease. Written as an homage to the classic archetype of the Hero's Journey, The Sound of Rabbits relies on different points of view to explore themes of change and death, and considers the role that the past--and acceptance of that past--can play in one's current and future happiness.
Janice Deal is the author of the short story collection, The Decline of Pigeons, a finalist in the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Strange Attractors, a linked story collection scheduled for release in September 2023. Her stories have won the Moth Short Story Prize and Cagibi Macaron Prize for fiction, and have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Fiction, Harvard Review Online, The Sun, Emrys Journal, Ontario Review and Zone 3. The Sound of Rabbits is her first novel. She lives with her husband in Downers Grove, IL.
Valerie Nieman is the author of five novels: In the Lonely Backwater, a YA/crossover thriller in the Southern gothic tradition, which was honored with the 2022 Sir Walter Raleigh Award. Other books include Blood Clay, a novel of the New South and winner of the Eric C. Hoffer Prize in General Fiction; Survivors, a novel about the Rust Belt of the 1970s, and her first book, Neena Gathering, reissued in 2012 as a classic in the post-apocalyptic genre. Nieman's third poetry collection, Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse, debuted with a reading at the Coney Island Museum and was a runner-up for the Brockman-Campbell Book Prize. Her second poetry collection, Hotel Worthy, appeared in 2015 from Press 53, and poems from that book were nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best Short Fictions of 2016, where the title poem was a finalist. She is also the author of Wake Wake Wake, and a collection of short stories, Fidelities. She was a 2013-2014 North Carolina Arts Council poetry fellow and has received an NEA creative writing fellowship as well as major grants in West Virginia and Kentucky. Her awards include the Greg Grummer, Nazim Hikmet, and Byron Herbert Reece poetry prizes. Nieman graduated from West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte. A former professor and journalist, she now teaches creative writing at conferences and venues such as the John C. Campbell Folk School.
"Indigo Field brims with multigenerational drama, earthy spirituality, and deeply imagined characters you are unlikely to forget." --Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Invention of Wings, The Book of Longings, and The Secret Life of Bees
In the rural South, a retired colonel in an upscale retirement community grieves the sudden death of his wife on the tennis court. On the other side of the highway, an elderly Black woman grieves the murder of her niece by a white man. Between them lies an abandoned field where three centuries of crimes are hidden, and only she knows the explosive secrets buried there. When the colonel runs into her car, causing a surprising amount of damage, it sparks a feud that sets loose the spirits in the Field, both benevolent and vengeful. In prose that's been called "dazzling" and "mesmerizing," in the animated voices of trees and birds and people, in Southern-voiced storytelling as deeply layered as that of Pat Conroy, Marjorie Hudson lays out the boundaries of a field that contains the soul of the South, and leads us to a day of reckoning.
Marjorie Hudson was born in a small town in Illinois and raised in Washington, DC, where she graduated from American University with a degree in Journalism and Women's Studies. After serving as features editor of National Parks Magazine, she moved to rural North Carolina, working as a freelance writer with a column interviewing nature photographers and publishing articles in Garden & Gun, American Land Forum, Wildlife in North Carolina, Our State Magazine, and North Carolina Literary Review. As copyediting chief for Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, she encountered the work of contemporary Southern Writers for the first time. Inspired, she turned her hand to fiction writing, and her first story won a statewide award judged by Shannon Ravenal. She earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College. She is author of two published books about the South, and her third, Indigo Field will be released in March 2023 by Regal House Publishing. She lives with her husband on a century farm in North Carolina, where she mentors writers and reads poetry to trees.