In order to classify Rebecca McClanahan’s fascinating new book, “The Tribal Knot,” it’s best to list a few of her awards and honors first. She received a Nonfiction Literature Fellowship from the New York Foundation of the Arts, a Wood Prize from “Poetry” magazine and a P.E.N. Syndicated Fiction Award. So what is “The Tribal Knot” – a work of poetry, an essay or a novel?
In McClanahan’s own words, the book is a “multi-generational memoir based on hundreds of letters and documents spanning more than a century.” But David Huddle, award-winning poet and author, describes it best.
‘The Tribal Knot” combines genres to become something entirely new,” he said. “Memoir, novel, genealogy, biography, survivors testimony, study of generations of women, love story, catalogue of precious quotidian details and portrait of 20th century American life, this book takes us where we’ve all been wanting to go but haven’t until now seen how to get there.”
The book, which continues to garner praise, is ultimately a portrait of McClanahan’s family through several generations. At 8 p.m. on Sept. 12, she will visit the Austin Peay State University Morgan University Center Ballroom for a reading and book signing. The event, which is open to the public, is part of the University’s Visiting Writers Series.
Several years ago, McClanahan inherited a massive trove of family documents, dating back to the 19th Century. She spent the next 10 years turning that information into “The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community and a Century of Change.”
“The Tribal Knot’ explores the complicated nature of communal bonds in various forms: blood families, neighborhoods, rural and small town communities, and religious and fraternal organizations, including exclusionary groups such as the Improved Order of Red Men and the 1920s Ku Klux Klan,” she wrote in the Author’s note. “Though the book spans several locales, its geographical core is central Indiana, where many of my ancestors migrated during the 1880s.”
For more information on this event, please contact Susan Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org.