Book Release with Virginia Pye for Dreams of the Red Phoenix

Join us as we celebrate the release of local author Virginia Pye's second novel, Dreams of the Red Phoenix, Sunday, October 11th at Dinamo, from 5 pm to 7 pm.

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Taking her grandmother's life as inspiration, the author of the critically-acclaimed River of Dust, returns with a story set in the dangerous summer of 1937. Widowed American missionary and now single mother Shirley Carson finds herself caught up in the Japanese invasion of North China and the rise of Communism. At first, she finds renewed purpose helping the injured. But as the Japanese take their village, a charismatic Red Army officer requests her help for his soldiers, and slowly Shirley becomes enamored of the Communist cause. As the other Americans make plans to flee, Shirley must choose between helping the Chinese Reds by serving as a nurse or escaping the war-ravaged country with her teenage son before it’s too late.

Virginia Pye’s debut novel, River of Dust, was published in 2013 by Unbridled Books and was chosen as an Indie Next Pick by the Independent Booksellers Association and a 2014 Virginia Literary Awards Finalist. Carolyn See in The Washington Postcalled it “intricate and fascinating;” Annie Dillard said it’s “a strong, beautiful, deep book;” Robert Olen Butler named it “a major work by a splendid writer;” and Caroline Leavitt described it as “a gemstone of a novel...a masterpiece.”

Virginia has published award-winning short stories in literary magazines, including The North American Review, The Tampa Review, The Baltimore Review, and Failbetter. Her short e-bookHer Mother’s Garden was published by SheBooks in January, 2014.

Her essays can be found in The New York Times Opinionatorblog, The Rumpus, Brain, Child, Dear Teen Me and elsewhere. Interviews with her about River of Dust are online at The Nervous Breakdown, The Huffington Post, Large-hearted Boy and Fiction Writers Network.

She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence and has taught writing at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as in high schools and home settings. In Richmond, Virginia, she was a three-term past chair of James River Writers and serves on the JRW Advisory Board.

Starting in the fall of 2015 she will divide her time between Richmond and the Boston area, where her husband, John Ravenal, has recently been named Executive Director of deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Her dog Lyla will be joining her in both locations. 

For more on Virginia, visit her website.