Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WENCH as Composition Common Read

Wench By Dolen Perkins-ValdezWe just received happy news from Francis Marion University: Dolen Perkins-Valdez's Wench has been chosen as the common read in fourteen composition classes. Congratulations, Dolen!

Wench is a wholly original novel based on a little known historical fact. Lizzie, Reenie and Sweet have forged a strong friendship over their summers spent to Tawawa House–the pre-Civil War Ohio resort where southern White men go to take their enslaved black mistresses when the South becomes unbearably hot. But when the self-assured Mawu shows up, speaking of freedom and escape, Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet must confront what it would mean to leave their loved ones behind, and break the psychological and emotional bonds that tie them to their masters—whom they love in spite of unspeakable brutality. With an unflinching eye, Wench explores the moral complexities of slavery as the four women witness the end of this dark era of American history.

A number of people who came to our booth at the First-Year Experience conference told us that Wench had been recommended to them based on the strength of Perkins-Valdez’s writing and her ability to bring this overlooked area of history to light. It offers so much material for classroom discussion, and we’re very happy that schools are starting to take notice.

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