Joanna Biggar and Linda Watanabe McFerrin Reading
Join writers Joanna Biggar (MELANIE’S SONG), and Linda Watanabe McFerrin (NAVIGATING THE DIVIDE) as they discuss their new books, their writing, and their teaching and publishing careers with author Leslie Pietrzyk (PEARS ON A WILLOW TREE, A YEAR AND A DAY, SILVER GIRL, REVERSING THE RIVER, and THIS ANGEL ON MY CHEST).
Joanna Biggar is a fiction and travel writer, journalist and teacher. Her articles, profiles, and travel writing have appeared in hundreds of publications, including The Washington Post, Psychology Today, The International Herald Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal. For four decades, she has been a teacher of creative writing, journalism, essay writing, and literature on both coasts and abroad.
Set in the era of Woodstock and Watergate, Melanie's Song centers on a young woman’s mysterious disappearance, and on her friend J.J., our narrator, who is determined to find her. A reporter trying to climb the ranks of that still very male-centered profession, J.J. dives whole-heartedly into the search for her old friend Melanie Hart. The sheltered daughter of a privileged family who fled her marriage to a straight-laced classical musician, hitch-hiking to Woodstock, then San Francisco, Melanie was last seen at a commune in the hills. Rumors abound: that she took up with a Black radical; that she had his child; that she and her lover, armed, ran a bank heist a la Patty Hearst; that she developed a mystical gift for spiritual healing; that she died in a possibly accidental, possibly staged commune fire. Trying to sift truth from invention pulls J.J. into the underbelly of the sexual and social revolutions of the 60s and early 70s, where she encounters corrupt cops, paranoid hippies, activists, mystics, drug-runners, and most astonishingly, Risking her job, her connections, her life, J.J. follows Melanie’s trail, determined to find out what happened to her once-compliant friend now turned, it seems, into a rebel angel.
Linda Watanabe McFerrin is a poet, travel writer and novelist. She is the author of two poetry collections, two novels, a collection of award-winning short stories and a travel guidebook. A prominent figure in the Bay Area literary scene, the founder of Left Coast Writers, and co-founder, with Joanna Biggar, of the globe-trotting Wanderland Writers books and conferences, Linda is a star on the writing conference circuit, leading workshops throughout the US and across the world. Her literary honors include the Katherine Anne Porter Prize and numerous awards for travel-writing.
Navigating the Divide: Selected Poetry and Prose is a career-spanning, multi-genre collection. In poetry and prose that is sometimes profoundly personal, sometimes astoundingly surreal, this world traveler and devoted literary explorer breaks down walls, bridges, cultures, and genres, delighting and instructing the reader. This rich, multi-faceted collection really does “navigate the divide” between spiritual and physical, between thought and desire, between identity and others. This volume is the third in ASP's Legacy Series, devoted to career-spanning collections by multi-genre indie authors who also have a significant track record of mentoring other writers.