While being a high school language arts teacher, Heather Mateus Sappenfield witnessed her students enduring heartbreaking loss, images she’d never forget, realities that shoved her from ambivalence toward compassion.
Sappenfield will discuss how she crafted her latest novel, The River Between Hearts, as a cross-age exploration of these events and the complex region where we live. The novel won the Reading the West Award.
About The River Between Hearts:
A year after fifth-grader Rill’s father is stolen by a river, everyone insists he’s gone, but Rill is certain he’s coming back. When she discovers her classmate, Perla, hiding out in a tree house after Perla’s family is deported, the two form an unlikely bond and embark on an adventure that tests their understanding of themselves, each other, and the world around them. In this author talk, Heather Mateus Sappenfield reveals the real-life events that led her to Reading the West Award winning novel The River Between Hearts.
Heather Mateus Sappenfield writes across genres for all ages. Of her two YA novels, The View from Who I Was and Life at the Speed of Us, the latter was a Colorado Book Awards finalist. Her literary story collection, Lyrics for Rock Stars, was featured on Colorado Public Radio, earned a Ben Franklin Awards Silver Medal, an Earphones Award from AudioFile magazine, and was a finalist for the Audies. The stories also won the Danahy Fiction Prize and the Arthur Edelstein Prize, garnered six Pushcart Prize nominations, and were a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award. Her interviews with some of the nation’s foremost poets and authors are featured in The Writer’s Chronicle, and her articles about writing are in School Library Journal and Writer’s Digest. Her most recent novel, The River Between Hearts, is a Moonbeam Awards Double Silver Medalist, a Nautilus Awards Silver Medalist, and 2023 winner of the Reading the West Award. The novel also earned a letter of recognition from the Colorado General Assembly. With an MFA in writing from Pacific University, she’s taught narrative workshops at Colorado Mountain College, Western Colorado University, Denver Writes, and Pacific University.
Heather lives in a tiny log cabin in Vail, Colorado, and loves outdoor adventures in the mountain and desert landscapes that have been her lifelong home. As part of women’s teams, she’s won 24-hour mountain bike races and road bicycling’s Race Across America—San Diego, California to Atlantic City, New Jersey. She also competed in the Mountain Bike World Championships; ski instructor for Vail Resorts; loves backcountry ski touring; and is a wife and mom. Her toughest and bravest adventures, though, occur while writing stories!
Learn more about Heather at heathermateussappenfield.com.
Date: October 17, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm