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Katy Simpson Smith ’06 Reading (The Odyssey Bookshop)
September 29, 2014 @ 7:00 pm
The Odyssey welcomes Katy Simpson Smith ’06 for her debut novel, The Story of Land and Sea. Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this incandescent debut novel follows three generations of family–fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave, characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love. Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her. In this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the lonely paths we travel in the name of renewal.
Katy Simpson Smith was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She attended Mount Holyoke College and received a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She has been working as an adjunct professor at Tulane University and is the author of We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835. She lives in New Orleans.