Eleanor Henderson / The Twelve Mile Straight [in-conversation with Kate Milliken]

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 7:30pm

Join us at the Booksmith as we welcome Eleanor Henderson for the debut of her forthcoming novel The Twelve-Mile Straight.


Set in Georgia during the years of the Depression and prohibition, The Twelve-Mile Straight is an American epic about race, inequality, and family that reads like a page-turner and is startlingly timely and relevant. It begins when two babies—one dark-skinned, the other light—are born to the daughter of a sharecropper who operates an illegal distillery. The twins’ birth raises questions that have violent, tragic consequences that continue to reverberate many years into the future.


Henderson’s childhood was brimming with accounts from her grandparents’ and her father of the town where her grandparents were sharecroppers. She heard tales of her grandparents during the Great Depression and stories about the hard times on the farm, and she also learned about the resilience and the ways in which families persevere together. Henderson was inspired to bring the world of Cotton County, Georgia during the time of Jim Crow to the page, and says she wanted “to capture the innocence of those country stories, and also to fracture it. I knew there was a darker narrative running alongside this one, like the quiet creek running along the [fictional] Twelve-Mile Straight.”




"Strong medicine, not always easy to swallow, but readers who like a challenge will relish this gifted writer’s ambition and grit."—Kirkus Review





Eleanor Henderson was born in Greece, grew up in Florida, and attended Middlebury College and the University of Virginia. Her debut novel Ten Thousand Saints, was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2011 by The New York Times and a finalist for the Award for First Fiction from the Los Angeles Times and was adapted into a film in 2015. An associate professor at Ithaca College, she lives in Ithaca, New York, with her husband and two sons.



Kate Milliken’s stories have appeared in Zyzzyva, Fiction, New Orleans Review, and Santa Monica Review, among others. A graduate of the Bennington College Writing Seminars, the recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop, and several Pushcart Prize nominations, Kate has also written for television and commercial advertising. Kate's debut collection of stories, If I'd Known You Were Coming, published by the University of Iowa Press, was chosen for the 2013 John Simmons Short Fiction Award by author Julie Orringer. She is currently working on a screenplay based on her short story, “Mad River,” as well as completing her novel, the first chapter of which was named runner-up for the 2013 Dana Award. Kate teaches on behalf of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.



RSVP is appreciated, but not required. If you cannot attend the event, but would like a signed copy of The Twelve-Mile Straight, place an order below and fill out the special requests field.



The Twelve-Mile Straight: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062422088
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - September 12th, 2017

If I'd Known You Were Coming (Iowa Short Fiction Award) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609382018
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: University of Iowa Press - October 1st, 2013