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Zibby’s Bookshop is hosting author Judith Turner-Yamamoto, LOVING THE DEAD AND GONE, in conversation with Lisa Cupolo, HAVE MERCY ON US.
Event format: 30 minute conversation, followed by audience Q&A and book signing
About the books:
In Loving the Dead and Gone, a “ bittersweet fantastical “ must-read debut (Publishers Weekly), a freak car crash in 1960s rural North Carolina puts in motion moments of grace that bring redemption to two generations of women and the lives they touch. For forty years, Aurilla Cutter has tended a clutch of secrets that have turned her mean. A fatal accident becomes the catalyst for the release of the passions, needs, and hurts in everyone affected by her hidden past. Darlene, a seventeen-year-old widow, struggles to reconnect with her dead husband while proving herself alive. Soon loss and death work their magic, drawing Darlene into an unlikely affair that threatens to upend Aurilla’ s family, and sets loose Aurilla’ s own memories of longing and infidelity. Loving the Dead and Gone is a lyrical novel that explores how both grief and love are the ties that bind.
Have Mercy on Us features ten stories, each of which is an illuminating window into a human life. In the way of all the best fiction, these stories enlarge our understanding of what it means to be alive and to love, with characters who leap off the page. In this award-winning collection, the people are varied in age, race, and origin. An old man travels to a village in Kenya in an attempt to bring his estranged son home; against her mother’s wishes, a young woman attends the funeral of the father she never met, hoping to forge a relationship with her eight siblings; a woman long married to a renowned artist whose infidelity is nearly blatant, takes things into her own hands in a brilliantly realized moment of independence; in an imagined, loving portrait, the writer Zora Neale Hurston is shown near the end of her life in 1948, working as a maid in a motel in Ft. Pierce, Florida. These stories are spare and romantic without being sentimental.
About the authors:
Judith Turner-Yamamoto is an award-winning author who grew up in a mill town in rural North Carolina. An art historian, she came to writing through learning to appraise what she saw and to describe what moved her. Her debut novel LOVING THE DEAD AND GONE, is the 2023 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYS) Gold Medalist in Southern Regional Fiction and was shortlisted for the 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Awards Grand Prize and awarded an honorable mention in General Fiction. Her work has appeared in StorySOUTH, Mississippi Review, Deep South Magazine, and American Literary Review, among others, and in many anthologies, including Walking the Edge: A Southern Gothic Anthology. Her accolades include two Virginia Arts Commission fellowships, an Ohio Arts Council fellowship, VCCA and Fundación Valparaiso fellowship residencies, the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, the Washington Prize for Fiction, and the Virginia Screenwriting Award. Her writing assignments have taken her all over the world and include interviews with luminaries such as Frank Gehry, Annie Leibovitz, Marcel Wanders, and Lucinda Williams.
Judith is also a contributor to The Southern Review of Books and has taught fiction and spoken at writing conferences, including the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, Chautauqua Institution, the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and the Writers’ Center, Bethesda, Maryland. She lives on the Kentucky/Ohio border where her love of travel and place continues to inspire her writing.
Lisa Cupolo has been a paparazzi photographer in London, an aid worker in Kenya, a script doctor in Los Angeles, and a literary publicist at HarperCollins in Toronto. Her stories have been published in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Narrative, The Idaho Review, and others. Have Mercy On Us, her debut short story collection, is the winner of the W.S. Porter Prize. She holds a BA in Philosophy from The University of Western Ontario, a graduate degree in Portrait Photography from The London Institute, and an MFA from the University of Memphis. A native Canadian she has lived all over the world, but currently resides in Southern California, where she teaches fiction writing at Chapman University.