Lang’s First-Year Writing Program is very pleased to be welcoming memoirist Debra Gwartney to campus on Wednesday April 10, where she’ll be visiting Nina Boutsikaris‘s morning class, The Boundless Essay, and then appearing for a public readings and conversation with Nina in the afternoon. The event will celebrate Debra’s new book, I Am a Stranger Here Myself, winner of the 2017 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Award.

Part history, part memoir, I Am a Stranger Here Myself taps the deepest dimensions of human yearning: the need to belong, the snarl of family history, and embracing womanhood in the patriarchal American West. Debra Gwartney becomes fascinated with the missionary Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, the first Caucasian woman to cross the Rocky Mountains and one of fourteen people killed at the Whitman Mission in 1847 by a band of Cayuse. Whitman’s role as a white woman drawn in to “settle” the West reflects the tough-as-nails women in Gwartney’s own family. Arranged in four sections as a series of interlocking explorations and ruminations, Gwartney uses Whitman as a touchstone to spin a tightly woven narrative about identity, the power of womanhood, and coming to peace with one’s most cherished place.

Please come celebrate the book, talk memoir and history and the intimacy of research.

When: Wednesday, April 10, 4-5:30pm.

Where: The New School’s Dorothy Hirshon Suite (Room I-203), Arnold Hall, 55 West 13th Street

Free and open to the public.

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