Author Conversation: Melissa Stephenson in conversation with Reina Hardy, Driven: A White-Knuckled Ride to Heartbreak and Back

Growing up in a blue-collar family in the Midwest, Melissa Stephenson longed for escape. Her wanderlust was an innate reaction to the powerful personalities around her, and came too from her desire to find a place in the world where her artistic ambitions wouldn't be thwarted. She found in automobiles the promise of a future beyond Indiana state lines.

From a lineage of secondhand family cars of the late '60s, to the Honda that carried her from Montana to Texas as her new marriage disintegrated, to the '70s Ford she drove away from her brother's house after he took his life (leaving Melissa the truck, a dog, and a few mixed tapes), to the VW van she now uses to take her kids camping, she knows these cars better than she knows some of the people closest to her. Driven away from grief, and toward hope, Melissa reckons with what it means to lose a beloved sibling.

Driven is a powerful story of healing, for all who have had to look back at pain to see how they can now move forward.

Melissa Stephenson earned her B.A. in English from The University of Montana and her M.F.A. in Fiction from Texas State University. Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Rumpus, The Washington Post, ZYZZYVA, and Fourth Genre. Her memoir, Driven, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in July of 2018. Though she grew up in the Midwest, she now lives in Missoula, Montana with her two kids.

Reina Hardy's plays, which usually contain magic and sometimes contain science, have been produced in Chicago, NYC, Austin and DC. They include “Glassheart” (Rorsharch Theater and the Shrewds), “Changelings”, (The Vortex),  and “A Map to Somewhere Else” (Everyday Inferno, NYC). Honors include: Michener Fellowship, National New Play Network New Play Showcase, Source Festival, Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights Workshop, Interact 20/20 Commission, Kennedy Center ACTF TYA PRIZE.  Publications include: “Best American Short Plays” and “Best Scenes for Two Actors,” Applause, “Best Stage Monologs for Men,” “60 Seconds to Shine,” and “105 5-Minute Plays for Study and Performance,” from Smith and Kraus. Recently: the world premieres of "The Afterparty" in Austin, TX and "The Gauntlet" in London.  In the 2018-19 season: the world premiere of "Fanatical," in London, the second production of "Stargazers" in Michigan, the second production of "Susan Swayne and the Bewildered Bride" in Cincinnati  and the rolling world premiere of "Annie Jump and the Library of Heaven" in Milwaukee and DC.
Event date: 
Thursday, August 16, 2018 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Women & Children First
5233 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
Driven: A White-Knuckled Ride to Heartbreak and Back Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328768292
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - July 24th, 2018