PRESS RELEASE

Hearth: A Global Discussion
on Community, Identity and Place
edited by Susan O’Connor and Annick Smith

Missoula, MT— The Montana Book Festival will present readings from the anthology Hearth at the Wilma Theater at 7:00 on Saturday, September 29, followed by a panel discussion moderated by the editors, Annick Smith and Susan O’Connor. Authors and contributors Gretel Ehrlich, Debra Earling and Christopher Merrill will be reading and taking part in the panel.

Hearth: A Global Discussion on Community, Identity, and Place is a multicultural anthology edited by Susan O’Connor and Annick Smith about the enduring importance and shifting associations of the hearth in our world.

A hearth is many things: a place for solitude; a source of identity; something we make and share with others; a history of ourselves and our homes. It is the fixed center we return to. It is just as intrinsically portable. It is, in short, the perfect metaphor for what we seek in these complex and contradictory times—set in flux by climate change, mass immigration, the refugee crisis, and the dislocating effects of technology.

Featuring original contributions from some of our most cherished voices—including Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, Pico Iyer, Natasha Trethewey, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Chigozie Obioma—Hearth suggests that empathy and storytelling hold the power to unite us when we have wandered alone for too long. This is an essential anthology that challenges us to redefine home and hearth: as a place to welcome strangers, to be generous, to care for the world beyond one’s own experience.

Annick Smith

Annick Smith is the author of several books, including Homestead, In This We Are Native, Big Bluestem, and most recently Crossing the Plains with Bruno. She is also the editor of Headwaters: Montana Writers on Water & Wilderness, and co-editor with Susan O’Connor of The Wide Open: Prose, Poetry, and Photographs of the Prairie and, most recently, Hearth: A Global Conversation on Identity, Community, and Place. She lives in Bonner, Montana.

Susan O’Connor

Susan O’Connor is an environmental and arts advocate. She is co-editor with Annick Smith of Hearth: A Global Conversation on Identity, Community, and Place and The Wide Open: Prose, Poetry, and Photographs of the Prairie. She lives in Missoula, Montana.

Gretel Ehrlich

Gretel Ehrlich moved to Wyoming in 1975. Her book, The Solace of Open Spaces is a record of her first years living on the range, cowboying and herding sheep. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, three National Geographic Expedition Grants, and an Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has written 15 books: narrative essays, poetry, short stories, a novel, travel, and a memoir about being hit by lightning on her ranch, A Match to the Heart. She has traveled by dogsled with subsistence Inuit hunters at the top of Greenland for twenty years, and as a result has written extensively about climate change. Her latest book, Facing the Wave won the 2014 PEN USA Award for Nonfiction and was nominated for the National Book Award. She is at work on a novel.

Debra Earling

Debra Magpie Earling is Bitterroot Salish and a member of the Flathead Nation. She is the author of the novel Perma Red, and The Lost Journals of Sacajewea.  Her work has also appeared in Ploughshares and the Northeast Indian Quarterly as well as several anthologies including Talking Leaves: Contemporary Native American Short Stories published in 1991 and Montana Women Writers: A

Geography of the Heart published in 2006. She has been a recipient of an NEA grant, American Book Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches at the University of Montana.

Christopher Merrill

Christopher Merrill was born in western Massachusetts and raised in New Jersey. He did his undergraduate work at Middlebury College and his graduate degree at the University of Washington. He has published four collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. He has also published translations, several edited volumes, and four books of nonfiction. His work has been translated into twenty-five languages, and his journalism appears in many publications. For ten years he was the book critic for the daily radio news program The World. He has held the William H. Jenks Chair in Contemporary Letters at the College of the Holy Cross. Merrill lives in Iowa City with his wife Lisa, a violinist, and their two daughters.

Hearth: A Global Discussion on Community, Identity, and Place is a multicultural anthology edited by Susan O’Connor and Annick Smith about the enduring importance and shifting associations of the hearth in our world.

A hearth is many things: a place for solitude; a source of identity; something we make and share with others; a history of ourselves and our homes. It is the fixed center we return to. It is just as intrinsically portable. It is, in short, the perfect metaphor for what we seek in these complex and contradictory times—set in flux by climate change, mass immigration, the refugee crisis, and the dislocating effects of technology.

Featuring original contributions from some of our most cherished voices—including Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, Pico Iyer, Natasha Trethewey, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Chigozie Obioma—Hearth suggests that empathy and storytelling hold the power to unite us when we have wandered alone for too long. This is an essential anthology that challenges us to redefine home and hearth: as a place to welcome strangers, to be generous, to care for the world beyond one’s own experience.


Milkweed Editions
Milkweed Editions is an independent, nonprofit literary publisher founded in Minneapolis in 1980. It releases eighteen to twenty new books each year in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.