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Kate Gale with Helen Benedict and Denise Frost

August 14 @ 6:00 pm

Red Hen comes to City Lights!

Kate Gale with Helen Benedict and Denise Frost in conversation on poverty, immigration and houselessness.

Celebrating the publication of

Under a Neon Sun, The Good Deed, and A Punishing Breed

about Under a Neon Sun, by Kate Gale, published by Three Rooms Press

Unable to afford rent, Mia—a community college student—lives out of her car, cleaning houses of the well-to-do in the LA area to meet her shoestring budget. Then Covid hits and everything changes.

For people living in houses and apartments, with stay-at-home jobs, the pandemic was inconvenient. For Mia and her fellow housekeeper friends—all living in their cars—the pandemic destroys the source of their frugal income.

Fortunately, gutsy, funny Mia is a determined survivor. After weeks of cutting her limited spending even further, missing meals along the way, her wealthy employers become desperate for her services again. This time, she’s determined not to let them take advantage of her as they have in the past. Her newfound confidence gives her new hope, until she discovers a dead body in a room she was assigned to clean. Sally Rooney meets Elizabeth Strout in this gripping page turner debut novel.

about The Good Deed, by Helen Benedict, published by Red Hen Press

In The Good Deed, Helen Benedict offers a stark, powerful portrait of women on opposite sides of a refugee camp in Greece: the refugees trapped inside, and the troubled American tourist whose good intentions morph into a dangerous delusion, resulting in a poignant, layered novel on displacement and belonging, love and betrayal, and the jagged space between altruism and egoism.

Drawing from four years of interviews with refugees on Samos, along with twelve previous years of work on the Iraq War, Benedict has written The Good Deed as a series of lyrical, intensely felt alternating voices, following these women’s everyday lives in the camp, as well each of their backstories—stories of families, love, secrets, violence, war, and flight. When Hilma, the American, unwittingly does a “good deed,” she triggers a crisis that brings her and the refugee women into a conflict that escalates dramatically as each character struggles for what she needs.

In essence, The Good Deed is about the struggle never to lose hope, even in the face of war and the world’s hostility to refugees; the complexities that arise out of trying to help others; the healing power of friendship; and the everlasting bonds between mothers and children.

about A Punishing Breed, by Denise Frost, published by Red Hen Press

A Punishing Breed, the first in a series of novels featuring Detective DJ Arias, is a murder mystery that takes place in Los Angeles, the city of angels, freeways, Santa Ana winds, and honeysuckle slithering through chain-link fences and perfuming LA’s dark streets and neighborhoods. Detective Arias hunts for a murderer on a liberal arts campus that prides itself on its progressive curriculum but is rife with jealousy, racial and sexual tensions, and a hierarchy as real and destructive as a medieval fortress. DJ Arias, good at his job because he sees the worst in people, is challenged by the college community, a neighborhood recluse, and a young Latino gardener he sent to jail ten years ago for a hit-and-run accident. Through the course of his investigation, Arias will find out no one is who they appear to be. He begins to reclaim his humanity by adopting a dog he names Evidence and finding the clues to a crime born from a dark secret not contained in the past but alive in the present, which will cast destruction and murder on the denizens of the small liberal arts campus.

About the authors

Kate Gale is Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Red Hen Press and Editor of the Los Angeles Review. She teaches in the Low Residency MFA program at the University of Nebraska in Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction. She is the author of seven books of poetry, including The Loneliest Girl, The Goldilocks Zone, and Echo Light. Kate has also written six librettos including Rio de Sangre, a libretto for an opera with composer Don Davis, which had its world premiere October 2010 at the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, WI.

DC Frost is a second-generation Angelino. For almost twenty years, she has worked at a small private liberal arts college in the heart of Los Angeles. DC loves and respects Southern California, a melting pot of class and culture that is often misrepresented and misunderstood in popular fiction and media. DC lives in Eagle Rock, California, with her husband, who is an NPR journalist and reporter, and three rescue dogs. DC and her husband have an adult son, a filmmaker, who resides in Los Angeles.

Helen Benedict, a professor at Columbia University, has been writing about refugees and war for many years, both in her nonfiction, Map of Hope & Sorrow: Stories of Refugees Trapped in Greece, published in 2022, and her two most recent novels, Wolf Season and Sand Queen. A recipient of the 2021 PEN Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History, the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism, and the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism for her exposure of sexual predation in the military, Benedict is also the author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women at War Serving in Iraq. Her writings inspired a class action suit against the Pentagon on behalf of those sexually assaulted in the military and the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary, The Invisible War.

This event is made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation

Organizer

City Lights Bookstore
Phone
(415)-362-8193
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