Sarah Fawn Montgomery and JJ Anselmi discuss their respective latest releases, Halfway from Home and Out Here On Our Own (Virtual)

When she left a chaotic home at eighteen, Sarah Fawn Montgomery chased restlessness, claiming places on the West Coast, Midwest, and East Coast, while determined never to settle. But it is difficult to move forward when she longs for the past. Now her family is ravaged by addiction, illness, and poverty; the country is increasingly divided; and the natural worlds in which she seeks solace are under siege by wildfire, tornados, and unrelenting storms. Turning to nostalgia as a way to grieve a rapidly-changing world, Montgomery excavates the stories and scars we bury, unearthing literal and metaphorical childhood time capsules and treasures.

 Blending lyric memoir with lamenting cultural critique, Montgomery examines contemporary longing and desire, sorrow and ache, searching for how to build a home when human connection is disappearing, and how to live meaningfully when our sense of self is uncertain in a fractured world. Taking readers from the tide pools and monarch groves of California, to the fossil beds and grass prairies of Nebraska, to the scrimshaw shops and tangled forests of Massachusetts, Montgomery holds a mirror up to America and asks us to reflect on our past before we run out of time to save our future. Halfway from Home grieves a vanishing world while offering—amidst emotional and environmental collapse—ways to discover hope, healing, and home. (Split Lip Press)


J.J. Anselmi's Out Here on Our Own tells the story of Rock Springs, Wyoming, a mining boomtown with a history of brutal racial violence, widespread addiction, prostitution, and a staggeringly high per-capita suicide rate--yet a place that has proved remarkably resilient. Anselmi stitches together an array of original interviews with people who've seen those things firsthand, tracing the boom-bust trajectory of a town known for its corruption, vice, and violence. Amid such horrors as the massacre of Chinese miners in 1885 and the ongoing methamphetamine and opioid epidemics, the town has fought hard to keep its identity of rugged individualism intact.

In 2022 Rock Springs is slipping into yet another bust. Anselmi's narrative offers searing personal accounts of a community in crisis, whose problems are fanned by severely limited mental health resources, dying industries, and Wyoming's still-pervasive idea that people should deal with their troubles alone. In a community's own words, Out Here on Our Own depicts a place that's as tough and weathered as the sagebrush and sandstone surrounding it. (Bison Books)

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Event date: 
Wednesday, November 16, 2022 - 6:00pm
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Halfway from Home: Essays By Sarah Fawn Montgomery Cover Image
ISBN: 9781952897252
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Split/Lip Press - September 19th, 2022

Out Here on Our Own: An Oral History of an American Boomtown By J. J. Anselmi Cover Image
ISBN: 9781496232328
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bison Books - October 1st, 2022