Please join us on Thursday, September 14 at 6:00 pm as we welcome author Romalyn Tilghman.  She will be discussing her first novel, To the Stars through Difficulties, which received the 2017 Independent Publisher Program Gold Medal for Contemporary Fiction.  A Booklist and Library Journal favorite, this is a gentle novel that not only celebrates the strength of people that unite after tragedy, but also celebrates the roles that libraries and art play in rebuilding a community.

Andrew Carnegie funded fifty-nine public libraries in Kansas in the early 20th century―but it was frontier women who worked hard to fund the books to fill them. Now, a century later, Angelina returns to her father's hometown of New Hope to complete her dissertation on the Carnegie libraries, just as Traci and Gayle arrive in town―Traci as an artist-in-residence at the renovated Carnegie Arts Center and Gayle as a refugee whose neighboring town, Prairie Hill, has just been destroyed by a tornado.  The discovery of an old journal inspires the women to create a library and arts center as the first act of rebuilding Prairie Hill after the tornado. As they work together to raise money for the center, they discover the heart of what defines community.   Full of history―from pioneer homesteaders to Carrie Nation to orphan trains―this is a contemporary story of women changing their world, and finding their own voices, powers, and self-esteem in the process.

  •  "To the Stars Through Difficulties is a deeply charming, wildly inspiring love letter to libraries, to art, to Kansas, to community. Romalyn Tilghman has crafted a glorious quilt of voices here, a beautiful chorus of resilience. Anyone who loves books will find sustenance in these pages.” —Gayle Brandeis, author of the Bellwether Prize winner The Book of Dead Birds
  • "To the Stars Through Difficulties is a gem; an endearing story about redemption and transformation. Tilghman succeeds in capturing the condition of an entire community—as well as the heart of this reader.”—Heidi W. Durrow, author of the New York Times bestseller The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

Books will be available to purchase and a signing will follow the discussion.

About the Author:

Romalyn Tilghman was hired as Executive Director of the Association of Community Arts Councils of Kansas and was lucky enough to work with rural arts councils throughout the state. She saw first-hand how groups of (mostly) women encouraged culture on the Plains. From there, she went on to work for the National Endowment for the Arts as Regional Representative, eventually serving a territory that stretched over the Dateline, over the Equator, and over the Arctic Circle. For more than twenty years, she has worked as a freelance consultant in the arts – conducting strategic planning, initiating audience engagement projects, and assessing grant programs for nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and private foundations. She has served on the boards of Americans for the Arts, Association of California Symphony Orchestras, and Western Arts Alliance, as well as on numerous national panels. She lives in Long Beach, California and To the Stars through Difficulties is her first novel. 

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