Black Bear Crossings is pleased to announce a special forthcoming event  – an event acclaimed St. Paul-based author Kathleen Vellenga hopes will help attendees “discover what’s in [their] own hearts and teach how to show it to others.”

This month, Vellenga will host “Finding Your Story,” during which time she’ll be reading excerpts from her novel, Strangers in Our Midst, a novel that examines early American history through the eyes of two distinctive characters: Elisabeth, a passenger on the Mayflower, and Attitash, a young member of the Wampanoag tribe. In the novel, the two girls form a trusting bond, which becomes threatened by the larger cultural forces and societal fears in play.

After her reading, Vellenga plans to lead a workshop for guests on how to create an original memoir or work of fiction.

When asked to describe the impetus for her work and “Finding Your Story,” Vellenga had this to say.

“Prof. Julius Lester wrote: “History is not just facts and events, history is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.”  I have been rewarded since publication of Strangers in Our Midst to hear from many that they feel the heart of both young women in my story.

My original intention with this book was to tell the story of the Immigrants (the Pilgrims) and the Native people as two separate stories.

When I took a class on “finding the heart of your story” which focused on our own lives, I learned that a significant influence in my life was a cross cultural friendship with a young woman who saw what needed fixing in ME and reached across.

I realized that it is plausible for an intercultural friendship between the young women in my book.”

Vellenga is a graduate of Macalester College and a former MN state legislator. She describes her 14 years in office as a chance to “break down cultural barriers and empower people.”
“Finding Your Story” begins at 7pm on Thursday, April 24 at Black Bear Crossings.