Northwest juvenile historic fiction author EF Winters will be holding a book signing at the museum Saturday, July 26, from 1 to 4 p.m. Her new book is Memeloose; The House of the Dead.
Winters began exploring the history of the region as a child touring with a Native American cultural exhibit. Through the years, her career as a professional storyteller, teacher, writer and director – working with gifted and at-risk youth – took her across the county. Her first interpretation as an oral version of the Memeloose story came from research of historical archives, where a brief pioneer account from the 1840s captured Winters’ imagination. She created the oral story, which she presented for several years in the Newberg, Ore., school district as part of its Oregon History curriculum.
“The school librarians, teachers, and students kept asking where they could get a copy of the book,” she said. “But of course they couldn’t, because it only existed in my head.” But now the writing is done and the popular 20 minute story has been transformed into a full-length novel.
The story is set in the 1840s along the Columbia River when Fort Vancouver was a multi-cultural center known as, “The London of the West.” The protagonist is a boy struggling with his identity after being kidnapped from his village near Mt. Shasta and sold into slavery. The tale is enriched by the loyalty of a dog and the details of Native culture in the Pacific Northwest. It includes larger-than-life characters such as John McLoughlin, Father of Oregon, his Metis wife, Margaret, and Chief Kamiakin of the Yakima Nation.
“We are delighted Ms. Winters picked the Interpretive Center as one of the venues to help launch her book,” said Director Jim Price. “Situated as we are, literally an atlatl (Native throwing stick) throw from the Columbia River, it’s easy to imagine her characters on this very ground 175 years ago. This is the perfect place to meet the author.”
The book signing will take place in the lobby and is free of charge. Museum admission is not required and to attend the event.