April 10, 2020 · 4:16 pm
In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams has just been awarded the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award for 2019. The award has been around since 1944 and is awarded by the Wisconsin Council of Writers. There have been a handful of years where the Council did not believe an award was warranted.
My publisher, All Things That Matter Press, suggested that I ask my friends and followers to repost this news. I am certainly excited about having this kind of validation for my writing and particularly for this novel. Bennison Books published The Weirding Storm, my epic poem about dragons, kickstarting a writing career that I had largely put aside due to my work with the tribal colleges and universities. I feel a great debt of gratitude to both Bennison Books and All Things That Matter Press for publishing my books. At this point in time I have four novels, one non-fiction book, and two epic poems in print.
In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams is about a black fisher community that settled in the remote wilderness off the coast of the Door Peninsula on Washington Island in the 1850s. Primarily about Joshua Simpson, who is fourteen years old at the start of the novel, it tells the story of an escape from slavery on a Missouri plantation and then the founding of a community on the shores of Death’s Door, a passage between the body of Lake Michigan and the tip of the Door Peninsula.
Under the leadership of the charismatic black Preacher, Tom Bennett, and the help of the Underground Railroad, Joshua, his family, and the other escaped slaves find their dream of New Jerusalem on the island, and then find that discovering paradise is only the first part of their journey.
This, for me, is a great, great day, and I certainly want to thank the Wisconsin Council of Writers. They have made my year!
September 23, 2019 · 10:30 am
A great review of “In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams” has been published in “The Peninsula Pulse,” a publication that distributes about 9,000 copies in the winter. The summer circulation is more like 16,000. It is by far the best local coverage publication I know about, and I appreciate this review by Alissa Ehmke.
My daughters, Sonja Bingen and Mary Wood, posted this on their Facebook pages, alerting me to this.
September 15, 2019 · 8:24 am
The book launch with Deb Wayman at Faire Isle Bookstore for In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams was spectacular. The novel is about a community of slaves escaping from the boot heel of Missouri near Mingo Swamp to West Harbor on Washington Island off the Door Peninsula in Wisconsin before the Civil War. Faire Isle is a small store, so it was so crowded that my daughter Mary and son in law Rick stood outside to listen to the reading I gave. The engagement of the audience, many of whom had families that had lived on the island for generations, was exciting. There were people who had already read the novel at the launch and they, like the reviewers so far, were highly complimentary, and even excited about the novel. The launch was a wonderful experience. I pretty sold out of all the books I had originally ordered and will have to order more today.
July 27, 2019 · 3:47 pm
All Things That Matter Press (ATTMP) has just sent me the cover for In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams, my new novel about the black fisherman community that settled on Washington Island off Door County before passage of the Fugitive Slave Act. ATTMP is shooting for an early August release. After better than sixteen drafts, I’m ready!
Filed under poems, Poetry, Published Books, Thomas Davis
Tagged as black fisherman community, Door County, escaped slaves, In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams, novel, powerful black preacher, sonnet sequence, underground railroad, Washington Island Wisconsin