The Manzanita Writers’ Series welcomes author Apricot Irving who will read from her memoir, “The Gospel of Trees,” winner of the 2019 Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction, at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at the Hoffman Center for the Arts.
Award-winning writer Apricot Irving grew up as a missionary’s daughter in Haiti during a time of upheaval. Her father’s unswerving commitment to replant the deforested hillsides, despite growing political unrest, threatened to splinter his family. Drawing from her parents’ journals, as well as her own, Irving retraces the story of her family, the missionaries in the north of Haiti, and the shattered history of colonization. Beautiful, poignant, and explosive, “The Gospel of Trees” grapples with the complicated legacy of those who wish to improve the world, and bears witness to the defiant beauty of an undefeated country.
“A beautiful exploration of hope and hubris. Irving shows us the many entanglements among our relationships with the land, other cultures, and the mysteries of our own families.”
—David George Haskell, author of “The Songs of Trees” and Pulitzer finalist, “The Forest Unseen.”
Irving is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and Literary Arts Creative Nonfiction Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in Granta, On Being, Tin House, Oregon Humanities, Portland Monthly and Topic Magazine.
Raised a missionary’s daughter in Haiti, Irving has taught literature and writing to students in Indonesia, China, the U.S., the U.K., and Ireland. She reported on post-earthquake recovery efforts in the north of Haiti for the radio program This American Life and is the founder and director of the Boise Voices Oral History Project, a collaboration between youth and elders to record the stories of a rapidly changing neighborhood in N/NE Portland, which was honored at City Hall for civic engagement and innovative storytelling. She currently lives in the Columbia River Gorge with her partner and two wildly imaginative boys. Her reporting on the Eagle Creek Fire was selected for the 2019 anthology Best American Science & Nature Writing.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Irving will also be teaching a writing workshop on point of view in memoir.
The Manzanita Writers Series (MWS) is a program of the Hoffman Center for the Arts. For information on this and other programs in MWS, visit https://hoffmanarts.org/writing/manzanitas-writers-series/.