• New to Liberty

    by Demisty D. Bellinger
    Price $26.00
    Hardcover
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    New to Liberty

DeMisty D. Bellinger at Harvard Book Store

presenting

New to Liberty:
A Novel

in conversation with ELIZABETH GONZALEZ JAMES and CHAYA BHUVANESWAR

Date

May
3
Tuesday
May 3, 2022
7:00 PM ET

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes DEMISTY D. BELLINGER—poet and professor of creative writing at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts—for her debut novel New to Liberty: A Novel. She will be joined in conversation by author and editor ELIZABETH GONZALEZ JAMES and psychiatrist and poet Chaya Bhuvaneswar.

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About New to Liberty

Three women, decades apart from each other, fight for love and agency in a rural Kansas community seemingly frozen in time:

1966: Sissily is driving cross-country with a much older man called Ezzy. On their way to California to begin a life together, he insists on stopping at his family ranch outside Liberty, Kansas visit his mother, Mrs. Svoboda. This family reunion is a painful reminder for Sissily of the rumors about the scandal that led to her running away from home, but while Mrs. Svoboda is a domineering figure, Sissily sees a woman who harbors secrets of her own.

1947: Nella's family relocates to Liberty from Milwaukee, and during the summer before her senior year, begins an interracial relationship with a white man called Lucky. They can only meet in secret, or as Lucky is in a wheelchair sometimes Nella pretends to be his nurse. When three white men stumble upon "Nurse Nella" one catastrophic afternoon, the violence of a racist society forces Nella to face the harsh reality of her love affair.

1933: Greta finds love with a woman from the neighboring farm during the height of the Dust Bowl and brutal jackrabbit roundups. Surrounded by violence and starvation, their clandestine encounters are unsustainable, and yet the implications of their relationship will find a way to endure for generations.

A novel told in three parts, New to Liberty showcases the growth and strength of three unforgettable women as they evolve in a society that refuses to. In lustrous prose, DeMisty Bellinger brings the quiet but treacherous landscape to life, offering a vivid snapshot of mid-century America and keeping readers guessing until the end as to how these three women are connected.

Praise for New to Liberty

"Moving back through the summers of 1966, 1947, and 1933, DeMisty Bellinger’s New To Liberty gorgeously traces the long shadow of trauma lingering over the American Midwest from the scourge of the Dust Bowl to racism and violence toward women to the fleeting beauty of forbidden love. With vibrant and restrained prose, Bellinger has achieved the seemingly impossible: written an American epic in under two hundred pages." —John Copenhaver, award-winning author of The Savage Kind

“The narrative voices in New to Liberty bridge eras and personal isolation, resonating like intimate friends you've somehow always known. The novel's imagery, whether steeped in beauty, horror, love, or terror, stitches itself into your own fabric, becoming a part of you long after you've turned the last page.” —Chris Harding Thornton, author of Pickard County Atlas

New to Liberty is a moving, heartbreaking, and uplifting novel of racial injustice, innocence lost, and the safety of women in one another’s company, as well as a dissection of the stubborn Midwest and all the discrimination and prejudice that roils through that hard land like a dust storm.” —Leah Angstman, author of Out Front the Following Sea

Chaya Bhuvaneswar
Chaya Bhuvaneswar

Chaya Bhuvaneswar

Chaya Bhuvaneswar is a South Asian-American psychiatrist, poet, award winning fiction writer and essayist. Chaya’s debut short story collection, White Dancing Elephants, received several honors and awards, including Finalist for the 2019 PEN American/Robert W. Bingham Debut Fiction Prize. Her short fiction has also been anthologized in Her Mother’s Ashes 2 (TSAR Press) and Best Small Fictions (Sundress Press) in 2019.

DeMisty D. Bellinger
DeMisty D. Bellinger

DeMisty D. Bellinger

DeMisty D. Bellinger has an MFA in creative writing from Southampton College and a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska. She teaches creative writing at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. She serves as poetry editor at Porcupine Literary and Malarkey Books. DeMisty's writing has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Rumpus and The Best Small Fictions: 2019. She is the author of the chapbook of poems Rubbing Elbows and a full-length poetry collection, Peculiar Heritage. New to Liberty is her first novel.

Elizabeth Gonzalez James
Elizabeth Gonzalez James

Elizabeth Gonzalez James

Elizabeth Gonzalez James is the Interviews Editor at The Rumpus. Her writing has appeared in Idaho Review, Ploughshares Blog, StorySouth, PANK, and elsewhere. She is the author of Mona at Sea, out now from SFWP, and The Bullet Swallower, forthcoming in 2023 from Simon & Schuster.

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