May 10, 2022
On Monday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m., Mid-Continent Public Library’s in-house publishing imprint, Woodneath Press, will host a book release event at the Library’s Story Center for its most recently published title, Travel North Black Girl by local award-winning playwright Olivia Hill.
Set in the early 1980s, the memoir recounts Hill’s experience as a young woman, coming from the inner city of Kansas City and traveling to the remote Indigenous village of Tatitlek, Alaska, alongside her newly wedded Jewish husband.
Despite her fears about the journey, Hill decides to make the trip, leaving behind a past of abuse, racism, and poverty. Through humor, adventure, and painful reckoning, Travel North Black Girl follows the author’s expedition to self-discovery and empowerment. It also simultaneously addresses the complex—and still timely—topics of race, gender, and trauma, plus the powerful healing that the wilds of Alaska can provide.
“This memoir is about that one year that changed my life and the decades of years that informed my existence,” said Hill. “In our current time, where we are still struggling with similar issues of generational trauma and systemic racism, I desire that my story provides a little hope to someone who is struggling. We are stronger and more capable of love than we give ourselves permission to be.”
During the May 23 event, Hill will speak about her experiences discussed in Travel North Black Girl, as well as her process writing about them. Attendees will also hear from Klara Maisch, the Alaskan artist who co-created the cover artwork for the memoir. A book sale and signing will follow the discussion.
“Many years in the making, Travel North Black Girl will captivate readers with its beautiful writing and powerful story,” said Mark Livengood, Director of MCPL’s Story Center, which oversees Woodneath Press.
Registration for the event is available at mymcpl.org/StoryCenter. Travel North Black Girl will be available for purchase beginning on May 23 at the event and afterward on Amazon, as well as at several local bookstores, including BLK + BRWN (Kansas City, Mo.), Green Door Bookstore (Overland Park), and Wise Blood Booksellers (Kansas City).