by Alex Baker
On Thursday February 25 from 7:00pm-8:30pm at the Spark Center, INK Art Space will be hosting their Scablands Lit Reading Series with author Richard Fifield, who will read from his debut novel The Flood Girls.
That’s a lot of information, so let’s break this down.
First… What in the world are Scablands? My internet research brought me to Ars Technica. Scott K. Johnson’s article “The Scablands: A Scarred Landscape as Strange as Fiction” describes them as “essentially wounds, still unhealed by time and erosion.” They are a segment of the Eastern Washington that tells a story, a “story about excess—excess of water, water that was torrential and sudden.” Johnson goes into greater geographic-historical detail, but I’ve had enough. There is still so much to cover.
So, INK has invited Richard Fifield to read for their Scablands Lit Reading Series. Fifield has already made me laugh and we haven’t even met. I was wandering through his website and I got sucked into his brief anecdote about growing up (“When I was six, I discovered my older sister’s hope chest, where she kept her cigarettes and trashy books. I believe I was the only person to find hope there. Her romance novels caused my homosexuality. Don’t believe the scientists.”), and soon I was laughing and clicking “READ MORE” and reading blog post after blog post and wishing there was more. Well, there is, in the form of his debut novel The Flood Girls.
The Flood Girls is set in small-town Quinn, Montana, and follows Rachel Flood’s return to town. The novel— which THE Jackie Collins called “edgy, original, [and] worth the trip” – covers an eclectic cast of locals, a bar called The Dirty Shame, and the town softball team that for years has done nothing but lose.
Local author Sharma Shields has also praised Fifield’s debut, saying, “I started this book laughing out loud; I finished it grieving and grateful. Richard Fifield is the handsomest writer in North America, and perhaps its most compassionate.” She also tweeted the following on The Flood Girls’ release day:
— Sharma Shields (@SharmaShields) February 2, 2016
Richard Fifield lives in Missoula, Montana with his three rescue dogs. He received his MFA from Sarah Lawerence College and now teaches creative writing at the University of Montana and memoir workshops for “women of a certain age.” Fifield has worked in case management and direct care for adults with developmental disabilities for the majority of his adult life and is also a proud volunteer at the Zootown Arts Community Center and the Western Montana Gay & Lesbian Community Center. Fifield’s stage plays have been performed at the University of Montana and the Crystal Theater in Missoula. His short story “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was shortlisted for the Bristol Prize and published in their anthology. Find more of his daily hilarity by following him on Twitter.
Now that we’re all aware what Scablands are and all extremely interested in Fifield and his work, I’m going to go mark this event in my planner. You can find all the details and RSVP at the Facebook event page.