Ana Maria Spagna and Stephany Wilkes

Join us for an evening with Ana Maria Spagna and Stephany Wilkes as they present their newest books, Uplake: Restless Essays of Coming and Going and Raw Material: Working Wool in the West.

For many years, Ana Maria Spagna has stayed put, mostly, in a small mountain valley at the head of a glacier-carved lake. You're so lucky to live there, people say. She is lucky. But she is also restless. In Uplake she takes road trips, flies to distant cities, fantasizes about other people's lives, and then returns home again to muse on rootedness, yearning, commitment, ambition, wonder, and love. These engaging, reflective essays celebrate the richness of it all: winter floods and summer fires, the roar of a chainsaw and a fiddle in the wilderness, long hikes and open-water swims, an injured bear, a lost wedding ring, and a tree in the middle of a river. Uplake reminds us to love what we have while encouraging us to still imagine what we want.

Follow a sweater with an “Italian Merino” label back far enough and chances are its life began not in Milan, but in Montana. Many people want to look behind the label and know where their clothes come from, but the textile supply chain – one of the most toxic on the planet — remains largely invisible. In Raw Material: Working Wool in the West, Stephany Wilkes tells the story of American wool through her own journey to becoming a certified sheep shearer.

Ana Maria Spagna lives with her wife, Laurie, in a remote community in the North Cascades accessible only by foot or boat. She is the author of several books including most recently, Uplake: Restless Essays of Coming and Going as well as Reclaimers, stories of people reclaiming sacred land and water, the memoir/history Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus: A Daughter’s Civil Rights Journey, winner of the River Teeth literary nonfiction prize, The Luckiest Scar on Earth, a novel for young people, and two essay collections, Potluck, Now Go Home. Her work has been recognized by the Society for Environmental Journalists, the Nautilus Book Awards, as a three-time finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and appears regularly in journals and magazines including Orion, Creative Nonfiction, Ecotone, Brevity, the Normal School, and Under the Sun. She teaches writing in the low residency MFA program at Antioch University, Los Angeles.

Stephany Wilkes is a sheep shearer certified by the University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center, a wool classer certified by the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), and the President of the Northern California Fibershed Cooperative. Her writing has appeared in The Billfold, The Ag Mag, Hobby Farms, Midwestern Gothic, and other publications. Stephany speaks about sheep and wool terroir at numerous yarn shops, fiber festivals, guild meetings, schools, and events. She lives (somewhat begrudgingly) in San Francisco, where she dreams of a dog, a truck, and a horse, in that order.