Taking her grandmother's life as inspiration, Virginia Pye has written a stunning new novel of Americans in China on the cusp of World War II. During the dangerous summer of 1937, a newly widowed American missionary finds herself and her teenage son caught up in the midst of a Japanese invasion of North China and the simultaneous rise of Communism. Shirley must manage her grief even as she navigates between her desire to help the idealistic Chinese Reds by serving as a nurse and the need to save both herself and her son by escaping the war-ravaged country before it's too late.
Virginia will read from Dreams of the Red Phoenix,and also share intriguing, historical photos and writings from her missionary grandparents, who lived in rugged northwest China in the early twentieth century.
Virginia Pye's debut novel, River of Dust,was published in 2013 by Unbridled Books and was chosen as an Indie Next Pick and a 2014 Virginia Literary Awards Finalist. Virginia has published award-winning short stories in literary magazines, including The North American Review, The Tampa Review, The Baltimore Review, and Failbetter.Her essays and interviews have appeared in The New York Times Opinionator, The Rumpus, Huffington Post, Brain, Child,and forthcoming in Literary Hub.She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence and has taught writing at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating from college, she has lived in Cambridge, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond and now, coming full circle, Cambridge again.
This event is co-sponsored by Congregational Library & Archives from History Matters series.