Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's a Two-Fer Thursday!

Please join us tomorrow night at 7 for a reading by not one but TWO Northwest authors: Jennie Shortridge and Erica Bauermeister.

Erica was born in Pasadena,California, and currently lives in Seattle. She says she knew from the start that she wanted to write, but she decided to do some living first. She earned her PhD at the University of Washington, where she has taught writing and literature. Her first two books were nonfiction books that resulted from her frustration with the lack of women authors in the curriculum: 500 Great Books by Women: A Reader's Guide, written with Holly Smith and Jesse Larsen, and Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14, written with Smith.

Two years spent living in Northern Italy with her family instilled in Erica a love of slow food and slow life, which led to her third book and her first novel, The School of Essential Ingredients. The novel tells the story of eight cooking students and their teacher, Lillian, and is set in the kitchen of Lillian's restaurant. The book is about food and people, and the relationships between them.

The act of cooking, Erica tells us, slows down time and can be a sensual experience. Cooking is also about thinking about other people -- what will make them happy, or excited, or comforted.

Although having children can make writing difficult in a logistical sense, Erica says, "Having children probably had the most dramatic effect upon how I write of anything in my life....I create the work I do because I have had children."

Jennie Shortridge was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, but grew up in Camp Springs, Maryland, and then in a suburb of Denver. As a young reader she devoured books, and began writing her own stories.

She passed through a variety of jobs -- including plumber, cook, secretary, and lead singer in rock and roll bands -- before settling into a 15+-year career in marketing and advertising. Then she began writing her novels. In 2002 she and her husband moved to Portland, and shortly thereafter she published her first novel, Riding with the Queen. In 2005 they moved to Seattle, where they live now, and two more novels followed: Eating Heaven and Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe.

Tonight she reads from her fourthnovel, When She Flew, which was inspired by the true story of the Vietnam vet and his daughter found living in Portland's Forest Park a few years back. [Interestingly, a Portland author, Peter Rock, has also written a novel based on this story, My Abandonment. Peter's book was published last year and is coming out in paperback next month. He will read at Broadway Books on April 8, so you have the opportunity to read both books and hear what both authors have to say. Despite being inspired by same story at the core, the two novels take the story in entirely different directions.]

When She Flew is narrated in alternating chapters by the daughter, Lindy, and Jess, the police woman who found the father-daughter tandem and a newly divorced mother. The book explores family relationships, moral choices, and social responsibility in a way that is both thought provoking and entertaining.

"I have always written," Jennie says, "even when not being paid to, trying to examine the universal story through a personal lens....Reading was my salvation as a kid, and now, writing is."

Jennie teaches writers workshops and also volunteers with kids through 826 Seattle, an offshoot of San Francisco's 826 Valencia, an organization founded by Dave Eggers to help kids learn to write better. When she's not teaching or volunteering or writing, she occasionally records music with her husband, whom she met through their shared love of music, in their home studio.

She is also a founding member of, a collective of Northwest writers devoted to raising funds for community literacy projects and raising awareness of Northwest literature. Erica is also a member of Seattle7Writers, as is Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, who read here last year.

We hope you will join us to hear Erica and Jennie read from their respective novels, The School of Essential Ingredients and When She Flew. The festivities begin at 7 pm!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.