2 pm | SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
Join us for a reading, discussion, booksigning and celebration with light refreshments featuring our very own Susan Lang! Susan will read from her recently released memoir, Running Barefoot.
About the Book
"From the radiant cover photograph of Susan Lang’s barefoot grand-daughter running on a desert dirt road, to the equally joyful pictures of a barefoot Susan and grand-daughter on the back cover, Running Barefoot is a memoir filled with love, raw honesty and true desert grit. Prescott is fortunate to contain more than a few literary treasures, but perhaps none more grounded in the desert Southwest than Susan Lang.
Susan writes about her hardscrabble childhood – part of that time in a Mojave Desert canyon homestead; and perhaps more crucially, full time as a wild child, an independent thinker and perceptive and curious 'girl child' in the American Forties and Fifties. 'Wild seemed like the only true thing I could count on.' That curious child matures into a teen-ager, then woman, fascinated by knowledge. 'I loved the challenge of having to research and write papers, too, especially about literature.' She honors that love in the beloved chaos of raising her 7 children--and the balancing act required of a smart woman confronting and embracing counter culture life.
Susan Lang pushes through what might seem insurmountable odds – personal, cultural, physical (a horrifying car accident) and the challenges self-imposed by her credo of honoring wildness. She becomes a respected Southwestern writer and a beloved teacher at Yavapai College, all the while staying true to her belief in the wild beauty of words-- and the importance of nourishing the gifts of curiosity and honesty in her writing students.
In the finest writing mentor spirit of 'showing, not telling,' here is one of my favorite passages in this passionate and unsparing memoir:
'...my favorite professor, Milton Miller, would present each poet in the philosophical context of the time. Then he would actually read a few poems in a voice so rich and melodic that...[I was] transported to heights I’d never dreamed of....These were realms I had sensed as a child, as I slept out under the night sky or stood alone in the wild canyon. I’d had no idea that poemscould also be windows into the mysteries there.' Running Barefoot is a window – into the life and courage of a remarkable writer."
- Reviewed by Mary Sojourner, author and NPR reviewer and commentator.
"Running Barefoot is a powerful testament to Susan Lang’s amazing ability to survive a broken, crazy, violent, and viciously complicated childhood and early single motherhood (defined by five young children to care for alone) with a sense of hopefulness, a sense of humor, and a determination to get a college education come hell or high water. Her courageous struggles, and this book, are miraculous. I found myself constantly astonished and deeply moved by Lang’s, and always daring, Pilgrim’s Progress toward the light."
- John Nichols, author of The Milagro Beanfield War 18 other books.
"Susan Lang’s memoir, Running Barefoot, takes the reader on a compelling ride through the author’s childhood which included skinning rabbits and facing down rattlesnakes in the canyons of California, through her relationships as daughter, mother and wife, and into her interior life enriched by the philosophical works of Kant and Hegel, the existential writings of Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir’s feminist text, and the masters of literature."
- Nancy Nelson, author of Searching for Nannie B and My Heart Wears No Colors.
About the Author
Susan Lang is the author of five novels, a trilogy published by University of Nevada Press about a woman homesteading in the southwestern wilderness during the years 1929 to 1941. The first novel in the trilogy, Small Rocks Rising, won the 2003 Willa Award. She was awarded a 2008 Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts for her fourth novel, The Sawtooth Complex, which was published in 2015. Her fifth novel, In God’s Trailer Park, was published in 2017. Running Barefoot, a memoir published by Aakenbaaken & Kent, was released in June 2019. Lang’s short stories and poems have been published in magazines such as Idaho Review, Red Rock Review, Iris, The Raven Review, and Alligator Juniper. She founded and directed the Southwest Writers Series and Hassayampa Institute for Creative Writing at Yavapai College. Currently, Lang is Faculty Emeritus at Yavapai College, teaches courses at Prescott College, and serves as Event Coordinator at the Peregrine Book Company in Prescott, Arizona.