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When We Were Ghouls Free Library Adventure

October 21, 2018 @ 2:00 PM

in partnership with The Carlsbad City Library

About the Event

Adventures by the Book is pleased to partner with the Carlsbad City Library for a Free Library Adventure with author, Amy Wallen

Join us as we learn about Wallen’s life, about how when she was seven her southern, blue-collar, peripatetic family was transferred from Ely, Nevada to Lago, Nigeria. We will hear about how her family wandered the world, living in a state of constant upheaval and her recollections of her family, who, like ghosts, came and went and slipped through her fingers, rendering her memories unclear.

In this quick paced and riveting narrative, Wallen exorcizes these haunted memories to clarify the nature of her family and, by extension, her own character. She explores the slippery nature of memory and confronts what it means to be a “good human.” She links the fear of loss and mortality to childhood ideas of permanence and ultimately writes a story about family and a representation of how a combination of innocence and denial can cause us to neglect our humanity.

This free Adventure includes a book discussion, Q&A, book signing, and the opportunity to meet the author up close and personal.

About the Author

Amy Wallen is a writer, editor, teacher, and baker. Her essays have been published in The Gettysburg Review, The Normal School, Country Living and other national magazines and anthologies. She has helped scores of writers finish their books, finding that looking at 10, 20, or even 30 pages in a workshop is just not doing a book justice so prefers to work with students’ entire manuscript. She is also the Associate Director of the New York State Summer Writers Institute in Saratoga Springs, NY. Fall, Winter and Spring, she teaches creative writing classes at UCSD Extension, hosts a manuscript workshop with pie, and mentors Science and Engineering students on personal essays. 

When We Were Ghouls: When Amy Wallen learns her parents are grave robbers and her memory is out of focus, she tries to figure out what truly happened. She excavates both their sojourn overseas and how her family was one-by-one sent away from her until she was left alone at the age of seven in Lagos, Nigeria. When We Were Ghouls, A Memoir of Ghost Stories is about a search for family. In 1971, Amy’s blue-collar Southern peripatetic family was transferred from Ely, Nevada to Lagos, Nigeria. From Nevada to Nigeria, and elsewhere, When We Were Ghouls follows a family that has been dispersed around the world, a family who, like ghosts, come and go and slip through Amy’s fingers making it unclear if they were ever there. A cross between Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight and Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family, with some Indiana Jones thrown in, the tale starts in the middle, around a pre-Inca grave her family uncovers. We see her family members appear and disappear in Peru and Bolivia and beyond. On one level the story is about family, but it also represents how with both innocence and denial our worldly treasures are neglected—not just our children, but the artifacts of humanity, and ultimately humanity itself.



October 21, 2018
2:00 PM
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