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“Unhappy in Its Own Way”: a webinar on family dynamics by Vine Leaves Press authors

Virtual Event Virtual Event

March 24 5:00 pm 6:15 pm EDT

In ANNA KARENINA, Leo Tolstoy famously declares that “All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” This event features six Vine Leaves Press authors whose books offer distinct pictures of familial disarray and its repercussions. Each author will read briefly from their work, followed by a Q & A session with questions from the moderator and participants. To learn more about the six books and Vine Leaves Press’s other publications, including fiction in many genres, memoir, poetry, essays, and books on the craft of writing, please visit their website https://www.vineleavespress.com/.

Featured books:
• The title character in Rusty Allen’s novel ELLA’s WAR must fend for herself, her child, and their farm when her restless common-law husband Lee Tingle departs to fight in World War II. Ella saves their farm with the help of a German POW with whom she falls in love, leaving her with an explosive situation and heartrending decision to make when Lee returns.
• In HOPE FOR THE WORST, Kate Brandt’s forthcoming novel, Ellie Adkins, a young woman stuck in a dead-end job, whose parents are divorced and whose boyfriend has left her, yearns for enlightenment. Yet Ellie’s affair with her Buddhist teacher and father figure Calvin, who has also abandoned her, makes salvation seem farther away than ever.
• WINTER LIGHT, a novel by Martha Engber, is the story of 15-year-old Mary Donahue, a motherless girl raised by an uneducated, alcoholic father. On the cusp of failure during Chicago’s brutal winter of 1978-79, Mary is desperate to save herself and so reaches out to an unlikely source, a classmate from a nice, normal family.
• THE GREAT STORK DERBY, Ann S. Epstein’s novel, is based on a real but bizarre event of 1926 in which a rich man leaves his fortune to the Toronto woman who has the most babies in the ten years after his death. Husband Emm Benbow pressures his wife Izora to enter the contest. Fifty years later, widowed and in ill health, Emm must make amends with his alienated offspring.
• In Joanne Nelson’s memoir THIS IS HOW WE LEAVE, the desire to stay competes with the lure of leaving a family whose history includes a great grandfather who disappears, a grandfather who strays, and a father who walks away. Nelson dives deep into her own role, and culpability, in a childhood marked by disruption, emotional abuse, and parental alcoholism.
• In Fredrick Soukup’s novel, BLOOD UP NORTH, a young woman living in Minnesota’s backwoods, who agrees to help her brother hide cash he stole from a drug dealer, must fend off their corrupt cop uncle, lawless cousins, and vicious father. To protect herself, she is forced to employ the very evil she has grown up despising.


March 24
5:00 pm – 6:15 pm EDT


Rusty Allen
Ann S. Epstein