Join us for a reading with Elizabeth Wetmore, author of Valentine on Thursday, May 14th at 6:30 PM, in conversation with Stephanie Soileau, author of Last One Out Shut Off The Lights.
** We will be gathering virtually on Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89962587763?pwd=YTFhRzVqdlBtQm8ySitlU2tteE1FUT09
If you'd like to join and haven't used Zoom-- sign up for a free account and download Zoom prior to the meeting. It's pretty easy to get set up, but here's a linked video describing the process. **
When a fourteen-year-old local girl—Glory Ramírez—survives a vicious assault amid the derricks and pumpjacks of the oil patch, she along with the women of the town must grapple with the fallout.
In Valentine, Elizabeth Wetmore introduces the most memorable cast of women in recent fiction: once-mild ranch wife Mary Rose, who prepares to take the stand as her life is becoming unrecognizable to her; retired high school teacher Corrine, who never quite fit the mold of an Odessa wife and mother; the all-too-wise Debra Ann Pierce; and most of all, Glory herself.
For readers of Elizabeth Strout and Barbara Kingsolver, Valentine is fierce and unflinching but often surprisingly tender as it tells the stories of the women and girls caught up in the aftermath of a horrific crime. Wetmore gives readers an urgent, haunting exploration of the intersections of violence and race, class and region in a story that plumbs the depths of darkness and fear but offers a window into beauty and hope.
“Fierce and complex, VALENTINE is a novel of moral urgency and breathtaking prose. This is the very definition of a stunning debut." — Ann Patchett, 2002 PEN/Faulkner award winner of Bel Canto
“It is nearly impossible for me to believe that Elizabeth Wetmore is a first-time novelist. How can a writer burst out of the gate with this much firepower and skill? Valentine is brilliant, sharp, tightly wound, and devastating. Wetmore has ripped the brutal, epic landscape of West Texas out of the hands of men, and has handed the stories over (finally!) to the girls and women who have always suffered, survived, and made their mark in such a hostile world. These are some of the most fully realized and unforgettable female characters I’ve ever met. They will stay with me.” — Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of City of Girls
Elizabeth Wetmore is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council as well as a grant from the Barbara Deming Foundation. In addition, she was a Rona Jaffe Scholar in Fiction at Bread Loaf and a Fellow at the MacDowell Colony. In the spring of 2015, she was one of six Writers in Residence at Hedgebrook. A native of West Texas, she is most at home in the desert, near the sea, or on the side of a mountain. She lives in Chicago, but she dreams of being bicoastal (Lake Michigan and Lake Travis).
Stephanie Soileau's collection of short stories LAST ONE OUT SHUT OFF THE LIGHTS is forthcoming from Little, Brown & Co. in Summer 2020. Her work has also appeared in Glimmer Train, Oxford American, Ecotone, Tin House, New Stories from the South, and other journals and anthologies, and has been supported by fellowships from the Wallace Stegner Fellowship Program at Stanford University, the Camargo Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has taught creative writing at the Art Institute of Chicago, Stanford University, and the University of Southern Maine. Originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Stephanie now lives in Chicago and teaches at the University of Chicago.