You're invited! As a featured Summer Reading event for adults, Eugene Public Library will host a free talk and booksigning by Diane Wilson (Dakota), author of the acclaimed novel "The Seed Keeper," on Sunday, August 6, 3:30 p.m. at the Downtown Library.
Starting June 15, visit any library location to pick up a free copy of the book to read and keep (while supplies last). The book is also available to borrow from the library.
In advance of the author's visit, get together for community conversations about "The Seed Keeper" at one of our drop-in book groups:
Wednesday, July 26, 11 a.m., Sheldon Branch
Sunday, July 30, 4 p.m., Downtown Library
Friday, August 4, 4 p.m., Bethel Branch
About the book and author:
A haunting novel spanning several generations, "The Seed Keeper" follows a Dakota family’s struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most.
Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, a former science teacher who tells her stories of plants, of the stars, of the origins of the Dakota people. Until, one morning, Ray doesn’t return from checking his traps. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato—where the reserved, bookish teenager meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they’ve inherited.
On a winter’s day many years later, Rosalie returns to her childhood home. A widow and mother, she has spent the previous two decades on her white husband’s farm, finding solace in her garden even as the farm is threatened first by drought and then by a predatory chemical company. Now, grieving, Rosalie begins to confront the past, on a search for family, identity, and a community where she can finally belong. In the process, she learns what it means to be descended from women with souls of iron—women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss, through war and the insidious trauma of boarding schools.
Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, "The Seed Keeper" is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.
“Compelling . . . The Seed Keeper invokes the strength that women, land, and plants have shared with one another through the generations.” —Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of "Braiding Sweetgrass"
Diane Wilson (Dakota) is a writer and educator who has published four award-winning books as well as essays in numerous publications. Her novel "The Seed Keeper" received the 2022 Minnesota Book Award for Fiction. Her first picture book, "Where We Come From," co-written with John Coy, Sun Yung Shin, and Shannon Gibney, was released in October, 2022.
Wilson's memoir, "Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past" won a 2006 Minnesota Book Award and was selected for the 2012 One Minneapolis One Read program. Her 2011 nonfiction book, "Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life" was awarded the 2012 Barbara Sudler Award from History Colorado. Wilson's middle-grade biography, "Ella Cara Deloria: Dakota Language Protector," was an Honor selection for the 2022 American Indian Youth Literature Award. Her essays have appeared in many anthologies, including "Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations" (2021), "We Are Meant to Rise" (2021), and "A Good Time for the Truth" (2016).
Wilson has received a 2013 Bush Foundation Fellowship as well as awards from Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and a 50 Over 50 Award from Pollen/Midwest. She is the former Executive Director for Dream of Wild Health, an Indigenous non-profit farm, and the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, a national coalition of tribes and organizations working to create sovereign food systems for Native people. Wilson is a Mdewakanton descendent, enrolled on the Rosebud Reservation.