Fall for the Book: Our Haunted Pasts

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 7:00 PM

Fall for the Book: Our Haunted Pasts

Three writers imagine how memory can reshape and haunt their current-day lives. In M. Soledad Caballero’s poetry collection I Was a Bell, she explores the ripples from the primal moments in her childhood, split between countries, languages, and violence. Ari Honarvar’s novel A Girl Called Rumi follows Kimia, a spiritual advisor in California, facing the mysticism of her haunted past in war-torn Iran as her return home coincides with the Green Uprising. In Jan Beatty’s memoirAmerican Bastard, erasure of identity, the ghosts of blood, and the myth of the “chosen baby” in adoption collide with her search for her birth parents. 

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Jan Beatty’s sixth book, The Body Wars (2020), was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Books include Jackknife: New and Collected Poems (2018 Paterson Prize) named by Sandra Cisneros on LitHub as her favorite book of 2019. Awards include the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, Discovery/The Nation Prize finalist, Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, $10,000 Artists Grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation, and a $15,000 Creative Achievement Award in Literature from the Heinz Foundation. She directs creative writing and the Madwomen in the Attic Workshops at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is Distinguished Writer in Residence in the MFA program.


Hispanic woman with long grey and brown hair wearing glasses in a blue circle

M. Soledad Caballero is a professor of English at Allegheny College. Her scholarly work focuses on British Romanticism, travel writing, postcolonial literatures, WGSS, and interdisciplinarity. She is a CantoMundo fellow, has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, has been a finalist for the Missouri Review’s Jeffry E. Smith Editors’ Prize in poetry, the Mississippi Review’s annual Editors’ prize, the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award, and the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize. Her poem “Myths We Tell” won the 2019 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize for Cutthroat: a Journal of the Arts. She is a co-recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Connections Grant, as well as a Great Lakes Colleges Association Expanding Collaborations Initiative Grant. Her first poetry collection won the 2019 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award sponsored by Red Hen Press. Caballero splits her time between Meadville and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Headshot of white woman with dark brown hair in a blue circle

Ari Honarvar is the founder of Rumi With A View, dedicated to building music and poetry bridges across war-torn and conflict-ridden borders. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Teen Vogue, Washington Post, and elsewhere. She is the author of the oracle card set and book, Rumi’s Gift. She lives in San Diego, where she has befriended a hummingbird named Taadon. 

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