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A Conversation with Holly Wendt and Clare Beams

January 25 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

In Heading North a young, talented Viktor Myrnikov is on the brink of realizing his lifelong dream of playing for the National Hockey League when a catastrophic plane crash kills all of his former Russian teammates, including his secret boyfriend, Nikolai, shattering his plans—and his heart.

In this skillfully plotted debut, readers follow Viktor as he navigates cultural and sexual divides, the gamesmanship of damaged relationships, and the dark corners of professional sports. In prose that is as tender as it is tough, we witness a young man discovering inner resources he didn’t know he possessed as he struggles to find solace and respect in a world that has denied him of these things. An important discussion of today’s most pressing issues, and a tremendous achievement, Heading North is most certainly a book for our times.

Holly M. Wendt is the author of Heading North. They are a recipient of the Robert and Charlotte Baron Fellowship for Creative and Performing Artists from the American Antiquarian Society and fellowships from the Jentel Foundation and Hambidge Center. Their work has appeared in Passages North, Shenandoah, Barrelhouse, Memorious, and elsewhere. Holly is a former Baseball Prospectus contributor and contributing editor for The Classical. Their nonfiction has appeared in Bodies Built for Game: The Prairie Schooner Anthology of Contemporary Sports Writing, The Rumpus, and Sport Literate. Holly is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lebanon Valley College.

Clare Beams’s novel The Illness Lesson was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a best book of 2020 by Esquire and Bustle, and a best book of February by Time, O Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly; it has been longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her story collection, We Show What We Have Learned, won the Bard Fiction Prize, was longlisted for the Story Prize, and was a Kirkus Best Debut of 2016. A new novel, The Garden, will be published by Doubleday in 2024. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two daughters. She has taught creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University and the Randolph MFA program.

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January 25
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Riverstone Books
5841 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh,PA15217United States
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(412) 366-1001
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Riverstone Books
(412) 366-1001
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