Sunday, December 07, 2008

Liberia: A Visit Through Books - what an adventure!


Let me take a moment to share a personal story. It's almost quilt-related! Last year at a book signing for "Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria," I met a remarkable woman, Izetta Roberts Cooper. She is a retired librarian from Liberia. Now, I have a collection of library cards from each city I've lived in (Los Angeles to London) - so talking with her was fascinating!

She mentioned that her master's thesis was on historical books about Liberia. I wanted to read her thesis. Eventually, I was invited to her home, read the report, and thought it should be published for a wider audience - especially given the 14 year civil war in Liberia that destroyed so many books. So, in March of 2008, she and I started meeting about once a month to outline and write what would be a book about her life and her love of books.

Well, her book is now available, Liberia: A Visit Through Books. This 96 page softback includes her thesis as well as a biography of her career as a librarian (she actually worked with Arna Bontemps and she introduced the Dewey Decimal System to the University of Liberia library!). Mrs. Cooper is a career woman (though retired), loving wife, dedicated mom. I was surprised to learn that for two years she hosted and produced a TV show in Liberia called The World of Books. Summaries from various shows are included in the book. We also have an extensive timeline from 1900 - 2008 chock-full of historical events, literary publications, blogs, and films about Liberia.

We published her book via Lulu.com, a site that can print a single-copy of a book once it's purchased. I'm thrilled to have worked with Mrs. Cooper on her book, which has great historical and valuable insights for Liberia. Mrs. Cooper recently celebrated her 79th birthday and can see completing another book! I hope you have a look at her book.

So, how does this tie to quilting? As a quilter, have you thought about how your quilts and your sewing stories will survive in the next 50 or 100 years? If Jennie Smith had not recorded Harriet Powers' words in the 1890s on what motivated her as an artist, would we know Mrs. Powers' deepest creative insights in 2008? Mrs. Cooper's career as a librarian is now recorded. How are you recording YOUR quilts? How would you like to? Do post a comment!

8 comments:

Villager said...

Kyra - I don't know much about quilting ... but, I do know that I'm very proud to see that 'Kyra E. Hicks' byline on the book cover! Your fam is very proud of the hard work that you've been putting in over the years.

I'll add a link to this post in Blog Safari #22 scheduled for release in the next week or so...

peace, Villager
Your incognito bro'!

Karoda said...

Will this info be placed in your sidebar? I hope to order the book later.

I've thought about pulling certain blog posts for a book...it is a fee-based service that typepad offers. Lulu would be a great resource to make something available to others.

Kyra said...

Villager - my brother Wayne!

Thanks for the note.

Best, Kyra

Kyra said...

Karoda,

Hello - Thanks for your note. If you look on the sidebar under my picture, there is a link to Liberia: A Visit Through Books.

Blurb.com offers free software that "slurps" up one's blog posts so you can edit in book format.

I enjoyed the Lulu.com process for creating a book. Best, Kyra

Dennis Jah aka Gbakukenju said...

Great adventure! Thanks for your work.

Jame said...

Kyra:

Thanks for your lovely note on my blog. What a nice surprise.

I'm not a quilter (yet), but more of a quilt fan. I do intend to learn, though, for a different novel. In that one, each scrap of a freestyle quilt comes from a different episode in the main character's life. I'm sure that idea is not completely unique, but I think the character will be. And there'll be a frame story.

As for Maura, you can meet her in April 2010. The book is called (for now anyway) Three Rivers Rising, and it's with Knopf. Maura is the young wife of an engine driver---his whistle warns the town of the impending flood, known as the Johnstown Flood of 1889.

I see you have an impressive body of work. Books and art and writing---the best kind of life, isn't it? I'll be looking into your blog and checking back often.

So nice to meet you.

Jame
Quilt Fan
http://jamerichards.blogspot.com

Fred said...

Kyra - Many thanks for this post. I enjoyed reading it and it inspired me for my blog on Liberia.
I also had the opportunity to extensively visit your blog and I am very impressed by your beautiful work and creative mind. Thanks again and enjoy your day!

Susan said...
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