Brentwood- PEN/Bellwether Prize Winner Ron Childress discusses and signs "And West is West"
DIESEL, A Bookstore in Brentwood welcomes 2014 PEN/Bellwether Prize winner Ron Childress to the store to discuss and sign his debut novel, And West is West, on Thursday, October 8th at 6:30pm. Joining Ron in conversation will be the 2008 PEN/Bellwether Prize winner, Heidi W. Durrow.
The Pen/Bellwether Prize, which was established in 2000 by Barbara Kingsolver and is funded entirely by her, was created to promote fiction that addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships. The prize is awarded biennially to the author of a previously unpublished novel of high literary caliber that exemplifies the prize’s founding principles.
And West Is West is an inspired novel about the devastating power of new technology to corrupt innocent lives. When Jessica, a young Air Force drone pilot in Nevada, is tasked with launching a missile against a suspected terrorist halfway across the world, she realizes that though women and children are in the crosshairs of her screen, she has no choice but to follow orders. Ethan, a young Wall Street quant, is involved in a more bloodless connection to war when he develops an algorithm that enables his company's clients to profit by exploiting the international instability caused by antiterrorist strikes. Though only minor players, the actions of these two people have global ramifications that tear lives apart including their own. When Jessica finds herself discharged from the service, and Ethan makes an error that costs him his job, both are set adrift, cast out by a corrupt system and forced to take the blame for decisions they did not make. Childress has crafted a terrifyingly real scenario in which characters navigating different worlds are bound together by forces beyond their control.
Ron Childress started his work life in boatyards up and down the New England coast, but at nineteen, he enrolled in community college and went on to earn his BA, MA, and PhD in literature. Childress worked for several years as a communications manager for a professional association near Washington, DC, before joining his wife in her tech marketing agency. In 2000, he left the business to pursue fiction writing full time. And West Is West, winner of the 2014 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, is his first novel.
Heidi W. Durrow is the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky and 2008 recipient of the PEN/Bellwether Prize. She is a graduate of Stanford, Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism and Yale Law School.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Heidi has worked as a corporate litigator and as a Life Skills trainer to professional athletes of the National Football League and National Basketball Association. Durrow's writing has appeared in the New York Times, Ebony Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Callaloo, Poem/Memoir/Story, The Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, Essence magazine, and Newsday.