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Terry Tempest Williams and Tea Obreht in conversation

Two major talents in one antique schoolhouse! “The Communal West” will feature author Terry Tempest Williams in conversation with novelist Tea Obreht at the Historic Fifth Street School on Friday, January 24, at 7p.m. It’s free but tickets are required; RSVP at blackmountaininstitute.org.

Obreht’s lauded recent novel, Inland, rethinks the Western story, while Williams’ new essay collection, Erosion: Essays of Undoing, is a tough and tender outburst on behalf of America’s threatened Western landscapes. 

“This book, more than any I have written,” Williams told the High Country News in a November interview, “is really grounded in the here and now. I live in an erosional landscape in Castle Valley, Utah. But I think it’s also the emotional, spiritual, and political landscape where I’m dwelling. Erosion as a process of watching the landscape weather and be carried away through wind, water, and time seems to run in parallel with the weathering and erosion of our own democracy.”

Williams also wrote Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and PlaceWhen Women Were Birds, and others. Obreht’s first novel is The Tiger’s Wife, a 2011 National Book Award finalist.

Should be a milestone event. Sponsored by the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival and the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute.

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