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WLT On the Craft of Writing: “The Turtle House” by Amanda Churchill in conversation with Becka Oliver

March 1 2024 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM CST

Free
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WLT hosts On the Craft of Writing talks a few times a year, partnering with an indie bookstore or other community organization, featuring authors discussing their craft in relation to their newest releases.

The WLT and BookPeople (Austin, TX) are co-hosting a special WLT On the Craft of Writing in-person event in March, featuring Amanda Churchill in conversation with Becka Oliver to celebrate the release of Amanda’s debut novel, The Turtle House.

The event will include a reading and a craft of writing discussion, plus plenty of time for audience questions.

RSVP to receive a reminder email ahead of the event. And if you’re not in the Austin area, don’t worry – the event will be live-streamed on the WLT YouTube Channel.

We hope to see you there!

ABOUT THE TURTLE HOUSE:

A heartbreakingly resonant debut, The Turtle House is a tender, big-hearted story about women, family, and the complicated history of Texas. These characters, and their tentative, flawed stumblings toward grace, will stay with me.—Elizabeth Wetmore, author of Valentine

“Sweeping yet intimate, Amanda Churchill’s Turtle House spans cultures and continents. Minnie and her granddaughter Lia are unforgettable protagonists, whose grit and grace will inspire you. Together, they find a way through in this gripping debut.”—Vanessa Hua, author of Forbidden City

Moving between late 1990s small-town Texas to pre-World War II Japan and occupied Tokyo, an emotionally engaging literary debut about a grandmother and granddaughter who connect over a beloved lost place and the secrets they both carry.

It’s spring 1999, and 25-year-old Lia Cope and her prickly 73-year-old grandmother, Mineko, are sharing a bedroom in Curtain, Texas, the ranching town where Lia grew up and Mineko began her life as a Japanese war bride. Both women are at a turning point: Mineko, long widowed, moved in with her son and daughter-in-law after a suspicious fire destroyed the Cope family ranch house, while Lia, an architect with a promising career in Austin, has unexpectedly returned under circumstances she refuses to explain.

Though Lia never felt especially close to her grandmother, the two grow close sharing late-night conversations. Mineko tells stories of her early life in Japan, of the war that changed everything, and of her two great loves: a man named Akio Sato and an abandoned Japanese country estate they called the Turtle House, where their relationship took root. As Mineko reveals more of her early life—tales of innocent swimming lessons that blossom into something more, a friendship nurtured across oceans, totems saved and hidden, the heartbreak of love lost too soon—Lia comes to understand the depth of her grandmother’s pain and sacrifice and sees her Texas family in a new light. She also recognizes that it’s she who needs to come clean—about the budding career she abandoned and the mysterious man who keeps calling.

When Mineko’s adult children decide, against her wishes, to move her into an assisted living community, she and Lia devise a plan to bring a beloved lost place to life, one that they hope will offer the safety and sense of belonging they both need, no matter the cost.

A story of intergenerational friendship, family, coming of age, identity, and love, The Turtle House illuminates the hidden lives we lead, the secrets we hold close, and what it truly means to find home again when it feels lost forever.

Featured Presenter(s)

Amanda Churchill is a writer living in north Texas. Her work has been featured in Hobart Pulp, Witness, River Styx, and other publications. She proudly serves on the board of the Writers' League of Texas and holds a master of arts in creative writing from the University of North Texas. Her debut novel, The Turtle House, a work inspired by the life of her grandmother, a Japanese war bride, publishes in February 2024, from Harper Books.  
Becka Oliver joined the WLT in September 2013 as Executive Director after more than two decades of experience working in newspaper and book publishing. She spent much of her publishing career inside two of the “big five” publishing leaders – Macmillan and Hachette Book Group — licensing domestic and foreign rights on behalf of countless notable authors, including Sandra Brown, Brad Meltzer, Nicholas Sparks, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, and more. In 2007, she made the leap from Associate Director of Subsidiary Rights at Grand Central Publishing to Literary Agent, first at Endeavor and then at William Morris Endeavor (WME) after the two powerhouse talent agencies merged. As a literary agent, Becka represented clients working in both fiction and nonfiction, including Brunonia Barry, Sheryl Crow, Kamran Pasha, Joanna Philbin, Susan Rebecca White, and the popular blog Awkward Family Photos.

Details

Date:
March 1 2024
Time:
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM CST
Cost:
Free
Event Categories:
,

Venue

BookPeople
603 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78703 United States