Sarah Stonich believes stories can change the world. By subtly weaving cultural, environmental and political issues into fiction, writers can engage readers to relate to characters and communities directly affected by current (and looming) events. This is an interactive discussion, so attendees are encouraged to share and engage. Have you read a book that changed the way you look at something? Whether it’s the troubles of a tourist economy or the weak legal system, novels bring complicated social issues to life, reach across cultural divides and can shift readers’ perceptions. Stonich is currently in the middle of writing her up north trilogy, set in a fictionalized northeastern Minnesota area facing an uncertain future in the face of change.
Ashley Shelby is a prize-winning writer whose fiction and essays have appeared in numerous literary outlets. Her nonfiction writing includes reporting on the Exxon Valdez litigation and the book Red River Rising, about the 1997 Red River flood in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Her debut novel, South Pole Station, described as “a comedy of manners about climate change starring a ragtag team of cultural misfits at the edge of the world,” was reviewed favorably and was named a New York Times Editor’s Pick and an Indie Next Pick.