WENCH by Dolen Perkins-Valdez.
WENCH follows the stories of four slave mistresses – Lizzie, Reenie, Sweet and Mawu – over the course of three summers in pre-Civil War America. Taken by their masters on holiday to Tawawa House, a summer resort in Ohio, the women encounter free blacks and whispers of the abolitionist movement and are forced to consider their lives, their positions back home, and their hopes and dreams for the future. Dolen Perkins-Valdez was inspired to write the novel when she came across a footnote about Tawawa House, a real resort, while researching her own doctoral thesis on slave literature. Wench was borne out of the author’s musings on why, when presented with the possibility of escaping into free land, some slaves would run, while others would choose to stay with their masters.
We're certain that WENCH should be a provocative and discussion-worthy book, and we're looking forward to reading it with all of you.
Santa Monica Citywide Reads 2011 will take place from February 14 through March 12, 2011, and will feature free public book discussion groups led by volunteer facilitators and held in libraries, bookstores, coffeehouses, and other venues throughout the city. Related special events, including an author talk with Dolen Perkins-Valdez, are also being planned. Stay tuned here or visit our website at http://www.smpl.org/cwr to keep up with the schedule as it develops.