“The First Bright Thing,” by J.R. Dawson Submitted photo

Writer and educator J.R. Dawson will be reading from and discussing her debut novel, “The First Bright Thing,” in a livestream event hosted by the Lewiston Public Library at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 14. This virtual only event is free and open to the public.

“The First Bright Thing” tells the story of Ringmaster – Rin, to those who know her best – who can jump to different moments in time as easily as her wife, Odette, soars from bar to bar on the trapeze. With the scars of World War I feeling more distant as the years pass, Rin is focusing on the brighter things in life. Like the circus she’s built and the magical misfits and outcasts — known as Sparks – who’ve made it their home. Every night, Rin and the Fantasticals enchant a Big Top packed full with audiences who need to see the impossible. But while the present is bright, threats come at Rin from the past and the future. The future holds an impending war that the Sparks can see barrelling toward their Big Top and everyone in it. And Rin’s past creeps closer every day, a malevolent shadow Rin can’t fully escape. It takes the form of another Spark circus, with tents as black as midnight and a ringmaster who rules over his troupe with a dangerous power. Rin’s circus has something he wants, and he won’t stop until it’s his.

Author Seanan McGuire said that “This is the magic circus book that I have been looking for my whole life.” While author Travis Baldree called it “A celebration of artistry and wonder as essential talismans we wield against despair.”

Dawson is a writer and educator with shorter works in places such as F&SF, The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, and Lightspeed. Dawson lives in Omaha with a loving spouse and three dogs. Having earned a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul and an MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast, Dawson works as a teaching artist with assorted nonprofits that bring the power of the performing arts to children in the Midwest. “The First Bright Thing” is her first novel.

Registration is required for Zoom only, visit lplonline.org to register. For more information, contact the LPL Adult & Teen Services desk at 513-3135 or LPLReference@lewistonmaine.gov.

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