Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Location: Piper Writer’s House, 450 E. Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
The ASU Book Group’s March 2019 reading selection is “Counting Coup” by Kelli Donley. The book group is open to all in the ASU community and meets monthly from noon to 1 p.m. in the Piper Writers House on ASU’s Tempe campus. Authors are always present. A no-host luncheon follows at the University Club. Attendees at each meeting will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate! Drawing to be held in April.
Synopsis: Happily consumed with her academic career, Professor Avery Wainwright never planned on becoming sole guardian of her octogenarian Aunt Birdie. Forced to move Birdie — and her failing memory — into her tiny apartment, Avery’s precariously balanced life loses its footing. Unearthed in the chaos is a stack of sixty-year-old letters. Written in 1951, the letters tell of a year Avery’s grandmother, Alma Jean, spent teaching in the Indian school system, in the high desert town of Winslow, Arizona. The letters are addressed to Birdie, who was teaching at the Phoenix Indian School. The ghostly yet familiar voices in the letters tell of a dark time in her grandmother’s life, a time no one has ever spoken of. Torn between caring for the old woman who cannot remember and her very different memories of a grandmother no longer alive to explain, Avery searches for answers. But the scandal and loss she finds, the revelations about abuses, atrocities and cover-ups at the Indian schools, threaten far more than she’s bargained for.
The book is available from amazon.com.
Kelli Donley is a native Arizonan who works in public health. “Counting Coup” was inspired by Donley’s colleagues’ stories about childhoods spent at the Phoenix Indian School. One of the characters is an ASU professor.
The remaining ASU Book Group meeting and selection for 2018—19 is:
The ASU Book Group is sponsored as a community outreach initiative by the Department of English and organized in partnership with the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.