Visiting scholar Tiya Miles to read from debut novel at Country Bookshelf April 2
- Thursday, April 2, 2015 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
- Bozeman, MT, Country Bookshelf
Tiya Miles, visiting Montana State University scholar and noted historian of African-American studies, will read from her first novel, “The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens & Ghosts,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 2, at Bozeman’s Country Bookshelf. A book signing will follow. Country Bookshelf is located at 28 West Main Street.
“The Cherokee Rose,” published by John F. Blair, Publisher, examines slaveholding by Southern Creeks and Cherokees on Georgia plantations in the early 1800s. Set in modern-day Georgia on what once was a plantation owned by a Cherokee chief, the novel follows three characters—Jinx Micco, a free-spirited Cherokee-Creek historian exploring her tribe’s complicated racial history; Ruth Mayes, whose mother sought refuge from a troubled marriage in her beloved garden and the cosmetic empire she built from its bounty; and Cheyenne Cotterell, affluent Southern black debutante seeking a meaningful personal history—on their journeys of memory gathering, self-discovery, and bonding. The women find diary entries from the 19th-century Moravian missionary Anna Gamble, encounter the spirit of long-gone Native American student Mary Ann Battis, and learn the atrocities of Chief Hold, the first owner of the Cherokee Rose Plantation. The diverse and thriving rose garden at the plantation is only the beginning of the treasures the women find as proof of the love that once bloomed in a place overrun with hatred. The book has been hailed as reminiscent of the work of Alice Walker and Louise Erdrich. While it is Miles’ first novel, she previously published two scholarly works of history.
Miles is auditing graduate level environmental history courses at MSU this semester as a recipient of a Mellon Foundation New Directions Award in the Humanities, which funded her graduate study at any university. Miles was fascinated by the photographs and the stories of other female African-Americans in early Montana, the native state of her husband, Joseph P. Gone, and thought she might want to write about it. Additionally, she was interested in the work that was being done in environmental history by MSU history professors such as Brett Walker and Tim LeCain. Miles is also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 2011. The fellowship is often called the “genius grant.”
Gone, a member of the Gros Ventre/White Clay Nation of Montana, holds the Katz Endowed Chair in Native American Studies at MSU for a year. He is also visiting from the University of Michigan where he teaches in the Departments of Psychology (clinical area) and American Culture (Native American Studies).