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Maria Dahvana Headley with Nicola Griffith
Monday, Sep. 10, 2018, 7 – 8:15 p.m.
Maria Dahvana Headley with Nicola Griffith
WhereCentral Library
Room LocationLevel 1 - Microsoft Auditorium
SummaryMaria Dahvana Headley presents her retelling of Beowulf, set in American suburbia as two mothers―a housewife and a battle-hardened veteran―fight to protect those they love. Headley talks with Nicola Griffith.
DescriptionFrom the perspective of those who live in Herot Hall, the suburb is a paradise. Picket fences divide buildings―high and gabled―and the community is entirely self-sustaining. Each house has its own fireplace, each fireplace is fitted with a container of lighter fluid, and outside―in lawns and on playgrounds―wildflowers seed themselves in neat rows. But for those who live surreptitiously along Herot Hall’s periphery, the subdivision is a fortress guarded by an intense network of gates, surveillance cameras, and motion-activated lights.

For Willa, the wife of Roger Herot (heir of Herot Hall), life moves at a charmingly slow pace. She flits between mommy groups, playdates, cocktail hour, and dinner parties, always with her son, Dylan, in tow. Meanwhile, in a cave in the mountains just beyond the limits of Herot Hall lives Gren, short for Grendel, as well as his mother, Dana, a former soldier who gave birth as if by chance. Dana didn’t want Gren, didn’t plan Gren, and doesn’t know how she got Gren, but when she returned from war, there he was. When Gren, unaware of the borders erected to keep him at bay, ventures into Herot Hall and runs off with Dylan, Dana’s and Willa’s worlds collide.

"[A] stunner: a darkly electric reinterpretation of Beowulf that upends its Old English framework to comment on the nature of heroes and how we 'other' those different from ourselves... A strange tale told with sharp poetic imagery and mythic fervor." ―Booklist (starred review)

"There’s not a false note in this retelling, which does the Beowulf poet and his spear-Danes proud." ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Headley (Magonia) applies the broad contours of the Beowulf story to her tale but skillfully seeds her novel with reflections on anxieties and neuroses that speak to the concerns of modern parenting." ―Publishers Weekly

Maria Dahvana Headley is a #1 New York Times-bestselling author & editor. Her books include the novels Magonia, Aerie, Queen of Kings, and the memoir The Year of Yes. With Kat Howard she is the author of The End of the Sentence, and with Neil Gaiman, she is co-editor of Unnatural Creatures. Her short stories have been shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards, and her work has been supported by the MacDowell Colony and by Arte Studio Ginestrelle, where the first draft of this book was written. She was raised with a wolf and a pack of sled dogs in the high desert of rural Idaho, and now lives in Brooklyn.

Nicola Griffith is the multiple-award-winning author of seven novels and a memoir. A native of Yorkshire, England - now a dual U.S./U.K. citizen - she is a onetime self-defense instructor who turned to writing full-time upon being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She holds a Ph.D. from Anglia Ruskin University and lives with her wife, the writer Kelley Eskridge, in Seattle.
View in Catalog"The Mere Wife" by Maria Dahvana Headley
NotesLibrary events and programs are free and everyone is welcome. Registration is not required.

This event is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation, author series sponsor Gary Kunis, and media sponsor The Seattle Times and presented in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company.
PodcastThis event will be recorded for podcast.
Contact Info*Central Library
Contact Phone206-386-4636
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Room CapacitySpace is limited at library events. Please come early to make sure you get a seat. Due to the fire code, we can’t exceed the maximum capacity for our rooms.
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