Live on Zoom! Joy McCullough, in conversation with Elana K. Arnold - We Are The Ashes, We Are The Fire

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Em Morales’s older sister was raped by another student after a frat party. A jury eventually found the rapist guilty on all counts–a remarkable verdict that Em felt more than a little responsible for, since she was her sister’s strongest advocate on social media during the trial. Her passion and outspokenness helped dissuade the DA from settling for a plea deal. Em’s family would have real justice. 

But the victory is short-lived. In a matter of minutes, justice vanishes as the judge turns the Morales family’s world upside down again by sentencing the rapist to no prison time. While her family is stunned, Em is literally sick with rage and guilt. To make matters worse, a news clip of her saying that the sentence makes her want to learn “how to use a sword” goes viral.

From this low point, Em must find a new reason to go on and help her family heal, and she finds it in the unlikely form of the story of a fifteenth-century French noblewoman, Marguerite de Bressieux, who is legendary as an avenging knight for rape victims.

We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire is a searing and nuanced portrait of a young woman torn between a persistent desire for revenge and a burning need for hope. 

 

Joy McCullough’s debut young adult novel, Blood Water Paint, won the Washington State and Pacific Northwest book awards, as well as honors including the National Book Award longlist, finalist for the ALA Morris Award, a Publishers Weekly Flying Start and four starred reviews. Her debut middle grade novel, A Field Guide to Getting Lost is a Junior Library Guild Selection. In 2021, she’ll release three new books: a picture book called Champ & Major: First Dogs (1/19/21); a young adult novel called We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire (2/9/21); and a middle grade novel called Across the Pond (3/16/21).She writes books and plays from her home in the Seattle area, where she lives with her husband and two children. She studied theater at Northwestern University, fell in love with her husband atop a Guatemalan volcano, and now spends her days surrounded by books and kids and chocolate.

 

Elana K. Arnold is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning young adult novels and children’s books, including the Printz Honor winner Damsel and the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of. Several of her books are Junior Library Guild selections and have appeared on many best book lists, including a catalog of feminist titles for young readers. Elana teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and lives in Southern California with her family and menagerie of pets.

 

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