Tayler Lord and Anna Weir are publicists at UNP who share a cubicle and cannot stop talking about books (or caffeinated beverages, for that matter). Today they also share their thoughts about a few upcoming titles they’re particularly excited about as readers. The books in this discussion will be published in October.
Anna Weir: My first pick is the latest book from Julija Šukys, a returning UNP author, whose past work has been praised by Publishers Weekly and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Siberian Exile: Blood, War, and a Granddaughter’s Reckoning intrigues me because it isn’t the story Šukys originally set out to write. It isn’t even the story she was told growing up, about how her grandmother was mistakenly sent to Siberia during the Holocaust for seventeen years and was eventually reunited with her family. What she found in the written records and audio recordings of the situation was a much darker family history. This book speaks to the way we share our history—a kind of family mythology—and also to the way researching a book often leads a writer down a very different creative path.
What are you looking forward to reading, Tayler?
Tayler Lord: I always enjoy working on the African Poetry Book Series, and we’ve published amazing titles recently like The January Children by Safia Elhillo and Fuchsia by Mahtem Schiferraw. This season, I’m really looking forward to Think of Lampedusa by Josué Guébo. It is actually is a serial poem translated from French that addresses the 2013 shipwreck that killed 366 Africans attempting to migrate secretly to Lampedusa, an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. I read a portion of it for an excerpt last month and found it beautiful and haunting. There’s a spareness to the language and the look of the poems on the page that I really appreciated. The translator, Todd Fredson, worked very carefully not to lose any of the power in Guébo’s words.
What’s next for you, Anna?
AW: One of my favorite courses in college was History of Christianity, so my next pick derives from that experience. Perishing Heathens: Stories of Protestant Missionaries and Christian Indians in Antebellum America by Julius H. Rubin is self-explanatory, but also groundbreaking. So much of Christian history focuses on Europe, between Popes and Anti-Popes, the Reformation (500 years ago this year, folks) and Henry VIII’s shenanigans; and in America, with the Puritans on the East coast and Charismatics in the south. Rarely do you hear about the Native experience with Christianity in the Trans-Appalachian and Trans-Mississippi West. This ethnohistory explores key aspects of American identity that was forged in the antebellum period, and persists, in part, for Americans today. I’m eager to learn more.
What else are you looking forward to, Tayler?
TL: Anyone who knows me knows that the two things I love most in this world are France and murder. That said, I’m excited to be publicizing The Dominici Affair: Murder and Mystery in Provence by Martin Kitchen. In 1952, a British family was found murdered near a French farm called La Grand’ Terre. Kitchen explores the subsequent investigation, conviction, and eventual exoneration of farm proprietor Gaston Dominici, illustrating some profound changes that took place in French society following the Second World War. The Dominici Affair is an interesting look at the social aspect of the fascinating and oftentimes terrifying genre that is true crime.
Tune in next month for more exciting titles from your friendly neighborhood publicists!