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Aqueduct Press press release   Date: 2/10/11 Bookmark and Share

Theater Professor Publishes Second Novel

Aqueduct Press is pleased to announce the publication of Redwood and Wildfire,the second novel by Andrea Hairston, professor of theater and Afro-American studies at Smith and an award-winning playwright.

Redwood and Wildfire is a novel of what might have been. At the turn of the 20th century, minstrel shows transform into vaudeville, which slides into moving pictures. Hunkering together in dark theatres, diverse audiences marvel at flickering images. This “dreaming in public” becomes common culture and part of what transforms immigrants and “native” born into Americans.

Redwood, an African American woman, and Aidan, a Seminole Irish man, journey from Georgia to Chicago, from haunted swampland to a “city of the future.” They are gifted performers and hoodoo conjurors, struggling to call up the wondrous world they imagine, not just on stage and screen, but on city streets, in front parlours, in wounded hearts. The power of hoodoo is the power of the community that believes in its capacities to heal and determine the course of today and tomorrow. Living in a system stacked against them, Redwood and Aidan’s power and talent are torment and joy. Their search for a place to be who they want to be is an exhilarating, painful, magical adventure. Blues singers, filmmakers, haints, healers.

Read more and view a video of Hairston discussing her book.

Andrea Hairston

In addition to serving on the faculty at Smith, Hairston is the artistic director of Chrysalis Theatre in Northampton. Her first novel, Mindscape, which was short-listed for the Philip K. Dick and James Tiptree Awards, was awarded the Carl Brandon Society’s Parallax Award. Her plays have been produced at Yale Rep, Rites and Reason, the Kennedy Center, Stage West, and on Public Radio and Television. She has received many awards for her writing and directing, including an NEA Grant to Playwrights, a Ford Foundation grant to collaborate with Senegalese Master Drummer Massamba Diop, and a Shubert Fellowship for Playwriting.

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