Join us for an online conversation with debut novelist S. Kirk Walsh, discussing her acclaimed new work of historical fiction, The Elephant of Belfast. Ms. Walsh will be in conversation with fellow writer Steve Amick. This is a ticketed event, and all ticket holders will receive a copy of The Elephant of Belfast and an exclusive link to our live Crowdcast event. Buy your ticket HERE.
"The Elephant of Belfast is a lovely book about a fascinating piece of history, and its two heroines--animal and human--are enthralling and beautifully drawn. S. Kirk Walsh writes wonderfully about heartbreak both personal and historic."--Elizabeth McCracken, author of Bowlaway
About the Book: Belfast, October 1940. Twenty-year-old zookeeper Hettie Quin arrives at the city docks in time to meet her new charge: an orphaned three-year-old Indian elephant named Violet. As Violet adjusts to her new solitary life in captivity and Hettie mourns the recent loss of her sister and the abandonment of her father, new storm clouds gather. A world war rages, threatening a city already reeling from escalating tensions between British Loyalists and those fighting for a free and unified Ireland.
The relative peace is shattered by air-raid sirens on the evening of Easter Tuesday 1941. Over the course of the next five hours, hundreds of bombs rain down upon Belfast, claiming almost a thousand lives and decimating the city. Dodging the debris and carnage of the Luftwaffe attack, Hettie runs to the zoo to make sure that Violet is unharmed. The harrowing ordeal and ensuing aftermath set the pair on a surprising path that highlights the indelible, singular bond that often brings mankind and animals together during horrifying times.
Inspired by a largely forgotten chapter of World War II, S. Kirk Walsh deftly renders the changing relationship between Hettie and Violet, and their growing dependence on each other for survival and solace. The Elephant of Belfast is a complicated and beguiling portrait of hope and resilience--and how love can sustain us during the darkest moments of our lives.
About the Author: S. Kirk Walsh is a writer living in Austin, Texas. Her work has been widely published in The New York Times Book Review, Longreads, StoryQuarterly, and Electric Literature, among other publications. Over the years, she has been a resident at Ucross, Yaddo, Ragdale, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Walsh is the founder of Austin Bat Cave, a writing and tutoring center that provides free writing workshops for young writers throughout Austin. The Elephant of Belfast is her first novel.
Conversation partner Steve Amick, is the author of The Lake, the River & the Other Lake, a Washington Post Book of the Year, and Nothing But a Smile, a novel of WWII homefront Chicago. he has had plays produced in Chicago and had stories with, among others, Zoetrope All-Story, McSweeney’s, Playboy, Story, Michigan Quarterly Review, Southern Review, and on National Public Radio. He received a BA in English-Writing from St. Lawrence University in 1986, an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University, and has taught as part of MFA programs at Northwestern and Pacific University.
We offer two ticket options:
1. Distant Attendee. ($31.50)This ticket admits one household to the event and includes a copy of The Elephant of Belfast at 10% off the cover price. This ticket also includes US domestic shipping. Your book will be shipped to you when we receive your order .
2. Local Attendee. ($26.50)This ticket admits one household and includes a copy of The Elephant of Belfast at 10% off the cover price. Ticketholders must pick up their copy from at The Book Stall, and can do so during our normal hours, 10 AM to 5 PM, Monday - Saturday. Pick-up must be within 20 days of the event.
Inspired by true events, this vivid and moving story of a young woman zookeeper and the elephant she's compelled to protect through the German blitz of Belfast during WWll speaks to not only the tragedy of the times, but also to the ongoing sectarian tensions that still exist in Northern Ireland today—perfect for readers of historical and literary fiction alike.