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Reading & Conversation: Marisel Vera w/ Jennifer Maritza McCauley

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Celebrating the paperback release of Marisel Vera's The Taste of Sugar!

About this event

We’re delighted to welcome back Marisel Vera in celebration of the paperback release of her novel, The Taste of Sugar! We loved getting to be a part of her launch last year with Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. This July, she’ll be joined by writer and professor Jennifer Maritza McCauley for a reading and conversation.

The Taste of Sugar is available on our ready-to-ship website, which has a wide selection of recommended and best-selling books, store merch, book subscription boxes, and more. You can request specific books you don't see on the site through this form, too. All orders ship from our store in Pittsburgh.

This event will be hosted on Zoom. You'll receive the link to the Zoom meeting the day of the event via email. Free registration/ticket sales will end at 6:30pm ET on 7/28. Please email events@whitewhalebookstore.com if you miss this cut-off and need a ticket. For questions, check out our FAQ for events here.

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About The Taste of Sugar:

"This capacious novel tells the story of a Puerto Rican family, against the backdrop of the Spanish-American War, in 1898." —The New Yorker

It is 1898, and groups of starving Puerto Ricans, los hambrientos, roam the parched countryside and dusty towns begging for food. Under the yoke of Spanish oppression, the Caribbean island is forced to prepare to wage war with the United States. Up in the mountainous coffee region of Utuado, Vicente Vega and Valentina Sanchez labor to keep their small farm from the creditors. When the Spanish-American War and the great San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899 bring devastating upheaval, the young couple is lured, along with thousands of other puertorriqueños, to the sugar plantations of Hawaii—another US territory—where they are confronted by the hollowness of America’s promises of prosperity. Writing in the tradition of great Latin American storytelling, Marisel Vera’s The Taste of Sugar is an unforgettable novel of love and endurance, and a timeless portrait of the reasons we leave home.

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About the writers:

Marisel Vera is a Chicago writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. Through her work, Vera explores the particular burdens that Puerto Ricans, on the island and in the diaspora, carry as colonial subjects of the most powerful country in the world. Her latest novel, The Taste of Sugar (Liveright Publishing, June 2020), is a tale of love and endurance on the eve of the Spanish-American War, told through two Puerto Rican families. Vera is also the author of If I Bring You Roses (Grand Central), a story about a Puerto Rican couple who move to the United States during 1950s’ Operation Bootstrap to chase the American Dream in Chicago’s factories. Vera is currently at work on a novel about four Puerto Rican girls growing up in 1970’s Chicago, The Girls from Humboldt Park (working title).

Jennifer Maritza McCauley is a writer, teacher and editor. She has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in prose, and she has received awards from Best of the Net, Independent Publisher Book Awards, and a Pushcart Prize Special Mention. She received her PhD in creative writing & literature from the University of Missouri. She is presently fiction editor at Pleiades. Her cross-genre collection SCAR ON/SCAR OFF was released in 2017 on Stalking Horse Press. She is an Assistant Professor in creative writing and literature at the University of Houston-ClearLake.

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