Kathleen Rooney: Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey
We are thrilled to present a conversation with KATHLEEN ROONEY about her new book Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey, a heart-tugging and gorgeously written novel based on the incredible true story of a WWI messenger pigeon and the soldiers whose lives she forever altered. Kathleen will be joined by Michael Zapata, author of The Lost Book of Adana Moreau and founding editor of MAKE Literary Magazine.
This program takes place August 13 at 6:30 pm Central and will be hosted live via Zoom, register for the free program here. This event is presented in partnership with Seminary Co-op; pre-order the book here.
More about Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey:
From the green countryside of England and the gray canyons of Wall Street come two unlikely heroes: one a pigeon and the other a soldier. Answering the call to serve in the war to end all wars, neither Cher Ami, the messenger bird, nor Charles Whittlesey, the Army officer, can anticipate how their lives will briefly intersect in a chaotic battle in the forests of France, where their wills be tested, their fates will be shaped, and their lives will emerge forever altered.
A saga of hope and duty, love and endurance, as well as the claustrophobia of fame, Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey is a tragic yet life-affirming war story that the world has never heard. Inspired by true events of World War I, Kathleen Rooney resurrects two long-forgotten yet unforgettable figures, recounting their tale in a pair of voices that will change the way that readers look at animals, freedom, and even history itself.
Praise for Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey:
“If you haven’t yet discovered the offbeat genius of Kathleen Rooney, start here with a novel both heartbreaking and sharply funny. It justifies its own premise on the first page, and quickly surpasses that premise. Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey is brilliant and surprising at every turn.”
—Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Prize-finalist for The Great Believers
“You’ll be amazed at the depths of character Rooney plumbs from a literal bird’s-eye view, and by how she entwines the voices of a messenger pigeon and a witty, disconsolate veteran to craft a story based on true events.”
“A properly mysterious, warmly convincing work of bright imagination. A pigeon and a haunted man returned generously, gently, to the story of the world.”
—Sebastian Barry, Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Days Without End
KATHLEEN ROONEY is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a nonprofit publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait, a team of poets and their typewriters who compose commissioned poetry on demand. She teaches in the English Department at DePaul University, and her most recent books include the national best-seller, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (St. Martin’s Press 2017 / Picador 2018) and The Listening Room: A Novel of Georgette and Loulou Magritte (Spork Press, 2018). Her new novel, Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey, based on a true story of the Great War, will be published by Penguin in August of 2020. A winner of the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry magazine, she is the author of nine books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. She lives in Chicago with her spouse, writer Martin Seay.
MICHAEL ZAPATA is a founding editor of the award-winning MAKE Literary Magazine. He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for Fiction; the City of Chicago DCASE Individual Artist Program award; and a Pushcart Nomination. As an educator, he taught literature and writing in high schools servicing drop out students. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and has lived in New Orleans, Italy, and Ecuador. He currently lives in Chicago with his family.