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The Arts

Literary Cocktail Hour features discussion with four female memoirists

BRATTLEBORO—On Friday, Sept. 10, the Brattleboro Literary Festival continues its 20th anniversary year with a Literary Cocktail Hour at 7 p.m. that will feature four female memoirists and the books in which they tell their stories.

Megan Culhane Galbraith, Keema Waterfield, Sari Fordham, and Gina Troisi will converse with local author and activist Diana Whitney.

Galbraith, a visual artist, writer, and adoptee, was born in a Catholic charity hospital in New York City to a teenaged resident of the Guild of the Infant Saviour, a home for unwed mothers and the title of her dizzyingly inventive hybrid memoir of one adoptee’s quest for her past.

In The Guild of the Infant Saviour, Galbraith pairs narrative with images from her art project, The Dollhouse, weaving a personal and cultural history of adoption as it relates to guilt, shame, grief, identity, and memory itself.

Waterfield’s book Inside Passage is the story of her growing up chasing music with her 20-year-old mother on the Alaskan folk festival circuit, two small siblings in tow.

In those summers, they traveled by ferry and car, sharing the family tent with a guitar, a cello, and a fiddle, while Waterfield yearned for a place — preferably with heat and flushing toilets — to call home.

In Wait for God to Notice, Fordham writes about her childhood in Uganda during and after the dictatorship of Idi Amin. The memoir centers on her Finnish mother, who is increasingly conflicted about raising daughters in such dangerous circumstances.

And Troisi’s book, The Angle of Flickering Light, is a memoir about parental deception and infidelity; it explores what it means for a girl to run recklessly into womanhood, clinging to any version of love, making temporary homes for herself again and again.

Access to the discussion is free, but registration is required at bit.ly/LitCocktail13.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #629 (Wednesday, September 8, 2021). This story appeared on page B3.

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