In conversation with Elizabeth Creely
An In-Person Event • Book Passage (SF Ferry Building)
Thurs., March 30th • 5:00pm PT
Angeline - Anna Quinn
A moving, lyrical, melancholy and spiritual novel by the acclaimed author of The Night Child, in which Sister Angeline, unwillingly sent to a radical convent and confronting her tragic past, asks the deep question, follow your heart or follow the rules?
After surviving a tragedy that killed her entire family, sixteen-year-old Meg joins a cloistered convent, believing it is her life’s work to pray full time for the suffering of others. Taking the name Sister Angeline, she spends her days and nights in silence, moving from one prayerful hour to the next. She prays for the hardships of others, the sick and poor, the loved ones she lost, and her own atonement.
When the Archdiocese of Chicago runs out of money to keep the convent open, she is torn from her carefully constructed life and sent to a progressive convent on a rocky island in the Pacific Northwest. There, at the Light of the Sea, five radical feminist nuns have their own vision of faithful service. They do not follow canonical law, they do not live a cloistered life, and they believe in using their voices for change.
As Sister Angeline struggles to adapt to her new home, she must navigate her grief, fears, and confusions, while being drawn into the lives of a child in crisis, an angry teen, an EMT suffering survivor’s guilt, and the parish priest who is losing his congregation to the Sisters’ all-inclusive Sunday masses. Through all of this, something seems to have awakened in her, a healing power she has not experienced in years that could be her saving grace, or her downfall.
In Angeline, novelist Anna Quinn explores the complexity of our past selves and the discovery of our present truth; the enduring imprints left by our losses, forgiveness and acceptance, and why we believe what we believe. Affecting and beautifully told, Angeline is both poignant and startling and will touch the hearts of anyone who has ever asked themselves: When your foundations crumble and you’ve lost yourself, how do you find the strength to go on? Do you follow your heart or the rules?
Anna Quinn is an American writer and teacher based in Washington State. She is the author of the novel The Night Child. Her writing has appeared in Psychology Today, Writer's Digest, Medium, Washington 129 Anthology, and Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19 Anthology. She is the founder of the Writers' Workshoppe in Port Townsend, Washington. When she isn't writing, she's kayaking the Salish Sea or hiking in the Olympic Rainforest.
Painting Through the Dark - Gemma Whelan (not appearing; copies of Painting Through the Dark available for purchase!)
Fleeing from the emotional shackles of her family in Ireland and the convent where she was training to be a nun, the feisty 21-year-old Ashling O'Leary arrives in San Francisco in 1982 with a backpack, a judo outfit, her artist's portfolio, a three-month visa, and a determination to find a way to speak up about the abuse of girls and women in Catholic Ireland. As she becomes embroiled in a whirlwind of love, art, and deception, Ashling learns that her success as an artist and a human being depends on dealing with the ghosts of her past and speaking out on behalf of others.
"As compelling and disturbing as it is tender and compassionate. A young Irish woman leaves the constrictions of a convent to explore self, art, and life in San Francisco. Beautifully descriptive and nuanced, this is an important, relevant, and necessary story." -Anna Quinn, The Night Child, Angeline
Gemma Whelan (she/her) is an award-winning director, screenwriter, and educator. As an Irish immigrant to the U.S. her perspective crosses the boundaries between cultures, and as an artist she gives expression to stories that have been suppressed. Gemma was the founding Artistic Director of Wilde Irish Productions in the San Francisco Bay Area, and of Corrib Theatre in Portland, Oregon. She has been directing, and teaching at universities and conservatories in the U.S, Ireland, and Asia for over 35 years. Her novels are Fiona: Stolen Child and Painting Through the Dark. She lives in Portland, OR.
Anna Quinn photo courtesy of MJ Photography