Don’t Miss it: Nancy Rawles Reads on Lopez

Novelist Nancy Rawles will speak Saturday July 18 at the Lopez Community Center.

Award-winning Seattle novelist, playwright, and educator, Nancy Rawles, will read from her highly-acclaimed book, “My Jim,” Saturday, July 18, at Lopez Center.

My Jim (Three Rivers Press, 2005) re-imagines Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the slave’s perspective. The story is a testament to the power of love and longing for freedom, and the survival of families and tradition even in the cruelest of times. Feel free to google Nancy and/or “My Jim,” to discover quite an array of activities as “My Jim” was selected for Seattle Reads 2009, sponsored by the Seattle Public Library.

“Sadie and Jim, the main characters in ‘My Jim’, become refugees after the war,” Rawles commented, “just like people are refugees today. Sadie and Jim are illiterate and their children and grandchildren have an opportunity for education, which is very important to them. Ultimately I was dealing with a family and I was writing a love story, and I was looking at how people endure. And this is directly related to the Family Resource Center and the important work that they do.”

Rawles is the author of three critically-acclaimed and award-winning novels. Love Like Gumbo won an American Book Award for its portrayal of a lesbian daughter’s struggle for independence from her warm but suffocating family. Crawfish Dreams, the second in a series about the Broussards of Compton Avenue, was selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Program. Rawles’ third novel, My Jim, tells the story of the wife and children of Mark Twain’s famous slave character from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In her New York Times review, Helen Schulman called My Jim “as heart-wrenching a personal history as any recorded in American literature.”

In addition to writing, Rawles has been teaching for 25 years. For many years, she worked for Seattle Arts and Lecture’s Writers in the Schools Program under the direction of Kip Robinson Greenthal. Rawles has participated in numerous programs as a teaching writer, including the 2001 Jack Straw Writers Program, which featured the work of Alie Wiegersma Smaalders. Rawles currently teaches 5th grade in the Seattle Public Schools.

At 1 p.m. on July 18 there will be a free “Meet the Author” event at the Lopez Library, and from 5 – 7 p.m. at Lopez Center for Community and the Arts Rawles will give a reading to benefit the LIFRC. Hors d’oeuvres from the Bay Café, wine from local vineyards and chocolates from Orpheus Chocolates. Program starts at 5:30. This special fund raising event for the Lopez Island Family Resource Center highlights the importance of story and strengthening of families in small communities. Tickets, $25 per person, are for sale at the LIFRC office. Call 468-4117. The summer ferry schedule permits Orcas Islanders to attend these events and get home in time for dinner or for bed!