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Nadia Owusu, Aftershocks in conversation with Amy Irvine
Nadia Owusu, Aftershocks in conversation with Amy Irvine

Thu, Oct 28


Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse

Nadia Owusu, Aftershocks in conversation with Amy Irvine

This “gorgeous” (The New York Times, Editors’ Choice) & deeply felt memoir from Whiting Award winner Nadia Owusu tells the “incredible story” (Malala Yousafzai) about the push & pull of belonging, the seismic emotional toll of family secrets, & the heart it takes to pull through.

Date, Time & Location

Oct 28, 2021, 6:00 PM MDT

Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, 202 Galisteo St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA

About the Event

Currently this is scheduled as an in-store event. We will be taking COVID precautions, masks will be required for the duration of the program and seating will be spaced accordingly. We will be simultaneously live Zooming the event for those out of town or those who would prefer it -  register to watch on Zoom here

Amy Irvine is a long-time friend of CW's, her book Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness (which you can purchase online here) is a staple on our shelves. Amy joins us once again with her friend Nadia Owusu to discuss Nadia's memoir, Aftershocks (which you can purchase online here). 

Aftershocks, began as her thesis in the MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University where Amy teaches and where she was Nadia's thesis advisor.  Nadia has since joined the faculty, teaching nonfiction alongside Amy.  In addition to discussing Nadia's memoir, their conversation will weave together the friendship that was forged through their work as student-teacher and then as colleagues and dear friends and how they stand together as a Black woman and a white one--in their art and activism (Nadia as a racial justice advocate and Amy as an environmental one).

About Aftershocks

Oprah's #1 for 2021, a Best Book of the Year by Vulture, Amazon and Time.

I have lived in disaster and disaster has lived in me. Our shared languages are thunder and reverberation. 

Young Nadia Owusu followed her father, a United Nations official, from Europe to Africa and back again. Just as she and her family settled into a new home, her father would tell them it was time to say their goodbyes. The instability wrought by Nadia’s nomadic childhood was deepened by family secrets and fractures, both lived and inherited. Her Armenian American mother, who abandoned Nadia when she was two, would periodically reappear, only to vanish again. Her father, a Ghanaian, the great hero of her life, died when she was thirteen. After his passing, Nadia’s stepmother weighed her down with a revelation that was either a bombshell secret or a lie, rife with shaming innuendo.  With these and other ruptures, Nadia arrived in New York as a young woman feeling stateless, motherless, and uncertain about her future, yet eager to find her own identity. What followed, however, were periods of depression in which she struggled to hold herself and her siblings together.  “A magnificent, complex assessment of selfhood and why it matters” (Elle), Aftershocks depicts the way she hauled herself from the wreckage of her life’s perpetual quaking, the means by which she has finally come to understand that the only ground firm enough to count on is the one written into existence by her own hand.  “Full of narrative risk and untrammeled lyricism” (The Washington Post), Aftershocks joins the likes of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight and William Styron’s Darkness Visible, and does for race identity what Maggie Nelson does for gender identity in The Argonauts.

About Nadia Owusu

Nadia Owusu is a Ghanaian and Armenian-American writer and urbanist. She was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and raised in Italy, Ethiopia, England, Ghana, and Uganda. Her first book, Aftershocks, A Memoir, topped many most-anticipated and best book of the year lists, including The New York Times, The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, TIME, Vulture, and the BBC. It was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice.    Nadia is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her lyric essay, So Devilish a Fire won the Atlas Review chapbook contest. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, The Lily, Orion, Granta, The Paris Review Daily, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Catapult, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure, and others.    By day, Nadia is the Director of Storytelling at Frontline Solutions, a Black-owned consulting firm that helps social-change organizations to define goals, execute plans, and evaluate impact. She is a graduate of Pace University (BA) and Hunter College (MS). She earned her MFA in creative nonfiction at the Mountainview low-residency program where she now teaches. She lives in Brooklyn.

About Amy Irvine

Amy Irvine is a sixth-generation Utahn and longtime public lands advocate. Her memoir, Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land  received the Orion Magazine Book Award, and the Colorado Book Award—while the Los Angeles Times wrote that it "might very well be Desert Solitaire's literary heir." Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness is a feminist response to Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness and was listed as one of Orion Magazine’s “25 Most-Read Stories of the Decade,”  included on Stanford University’s climate scientists’ 2019 Summer Reading List, added to Outside Magazine’s Adventure Canon and named by Backpacker as one of its New Wilderness Classics.

Her essays have appeared in Orion, Outside, The Best American Science and Nature Writing series, Pacific Standard, Climbing, Rock & Ice, and High Country News. Irvine’s work also appears in numerous western, nature/environmental anthologies—such as West of 98: Living and Writing in the New American West(University of Texas Press, 2011), and Red Rock Testimony, which was instrumental in compelling President Barack Obama to establish the Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah.

Irvine is the recipient of the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award and a teaching fellowship for the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University—where she now teaches fiction and nonfiction.

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