We Are West Des Moines: Writing From Your Roots

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Please join us for an evening with author Carol Roh Spaulding! She is an Iowa-based author, whose new book, Waiting for Mr. Kim and Other Stories spans 4 generations of a Korean-American family, centering on the life of a character named Gracie Song. This collection received the prestigious Flannery O’Conner award for Short Fiction from the University of Georgia Press in 2022. Her other stories and essays have appeared in several nationally recognized publications and have received several awards including a Pushcart Prize and Notable Mention in Best American Essays 2019.

Roh Spaulding will talk about her own roots and how she drew inspiration from her mother’s life and her Korean-American heritage in this book and her process of writing herself into her own cultural self-understanding. She will also give suggestions for how others can write from their own roots and discuss some of the immigration history that founds her collection and read some passages from her book.

Carol Roh Spaulding is a professor of English at Drake University (under the name Dr. Carol Spaulding-Kruse) and received her doctorate in American literature from the University of Iowa. In 2014, she began the Drake Community Press, a small press at Drake University that produces books in collaboration with local nonprofit partners to help share their story and raise funds through book sales while also providing Drake students with hands-on experience in publishing. Press titles include Zakery’s Bridge: Children’s Journeys From Around the World to Iowa (2011),The Ones I Bring With Me/Los Que Llevos Conmigo: Stories of Iowa’s Young Latinas (2014), A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in Iowa (2017), Above and Beyond Cancer (2020, and our forthcoming project Sacrifice State: Stories of Environmental Justice in Iowa (2024).  She lives outside of Des Moines with her husband in Granger, where she pretends to homestead with a big garden, a fruit orchard, and 5 very spoiled hens.