Kathya Alexander presents 'Keep A'Livin''

Grappling with grief, ancestral trauma, and a family, community, and society in flux, Mandy dares to dream of a future outside the limitations of racism and patriarchy. 

Third Place Books is thrilled to welcome author, playwright, and artist Kathya Alexander to our Seward Park store! Alexander will be discussing her speculative novel-in-verse, Keep A'Livin'. This event is free and open to the public.

For important updates, registration is highly recommended in advance. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!

Having trouble accessing Eventbrite? Click here.


Event RSVP icon

Tickets available now

for this in-person event


About Keep A'Livin'. . .

In the small town of Uz, Arkansas, Mandy Anderson wakes up on July 4th, 1963, her mother’s birthday, to the sweltering Southern heat, a pounding headache, and the distinct thumping of her mother, Belle, kneading biscuit dough. In the raw heat, only made worse by Belle’s baking, Mandy questions why the white woman her mother works for wouldn’t want to give Belle the day off for her birthday. So begins Mandy’s journey of questioning the structures that define her world, a path that carries her through tragedy, mystical encounters, and her own spiritual and familial legacy. Kathya Alexander’s debut historical fiction novel-in-verse follows the fiercely passionate, dedicated, and cheeky Mandy as she comes of age during the height of the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century. Twelve-year-old Mandy and her mother, Belle, experience the extraordinary events of the 1960s, finding strength, fearlessness, and faith along the way. 

Grappling with grief, ancestral trauma, and a family, community, and society in flux, Mandy dares to dream of a future outside the limitations of racism and patriarchy. 

This beautifully lyrical novel explores the reality of activism as more than just a handful of speeches given at protests, the costs to those who dedicate themselves to activist work, and the passion that drives us ever onward to a better, more just future.


Praise for Keep A'Livin'. . .

"Keep A’Livin’ is the earth-rattling, mind-rearranging story of a young woman named Mandy, her mother Belle, and their racial mix of ancestors. Set in 1960s Arkansas during one of the most difficult periods in our long-winding journey toward racial equity in the U.S., Mandy and Belle’s lives are shaped by “fire and angels” as each matriarchal generation by backstory experiences extreme tragedy, which thrusts them into navigating a changed world. The book is a timely addition to the literary canon, providing a portal through which we are brought to our knees by what is so clearly wrong and not-so-clearly right about the story that is America."
—Paula Coomer, author of Dove Creek and Somebody Should Have Scolded the Girl

"Kathya Alexander’s vividly drawn novel-in-verse, Keep A’Livin’, traces an intimate, loving circle within an African American family, church and community, while portraying generational divides as the entire community confronts devastating racism in the rural South during the early ‘60s in the early Civil Rights Movement. Alexander brings us into the girl Mandy’s exile of grief after the loss of her father, and her path to re-entering the world. Her mother faces hard choices without the support of her late husband, and the story unpacks fraught tensions and faith between mother and daughter. Their generational differences underline the dangers and triumphs for Black people in this time and point to how oppressive conditions have lifted or pervade today. Alexander’s narrative creates a fabric that we can wrap ourselves in—she uses metaphor with blade-like accuracy and tunes into the litanies available in daily speech, sermons, song and joking with a fine-tuned poet’s ear. She knows the life and talk of this time--the whispers, the unspoken, the buried angers and younger generation bursting forth in the rural South of the ‘60s."
—Beatrix Gates, author of The Burning Key, New & Selected Poems (1973-2023).

Kathya Alexander is an author, playwright, storyteller, and teaching artist. She was a Writer-in-Residence at Hedgebrook Writer’s Retreat and won the Fringe First Award for Black to My Roots: African American Tales from the Head and the Heart in Edinburgh, Scotland. Other awards include 4Culture, Office of Arts and Culture, Artist Trust, and Seattle Parks and Recreation. She has been published in The Pitkin Review, Arkana Magazine, Pontoon Poetry, Colors NW Magazine, the South Seattle Emerald and Native Skin Magazine, and in anthologies by the African American Writers Alliance and Raising Lily Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workplace. Her playwriting credits include The Negro Passion Play; Black D*ck Matters; David & Jonathan: A Modern Day Retelling of the Biblical Story; and emotionalblackmale. She is the author of Angel In The Outhouse and her debut novel, Keep A’Livin’, is scheduled for release in 2024.

Want a signed edition of the featured book, but can't make it to the event? Order through our website or over the phone, and write your request for a signature or personalization in the comments field at checkout. Please call the hosting store if you're placing your order within 24 hours of the event.

Third Place Books Events Code of Conduct: Third Place Books is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of event attendees and guest authors, during both online and in-store events. By registering for this event, you are agreeing to refrain from engaging in inappropriate behavior and harassment of any kind throughout the course of this event (i.e. racial slurs, profanity, hate speech, spam comments, etc.). Please note that any participants who engage in inappropriate behavior or harassment of any kind will be immediately ejected from the event.

For media inquiries, access inquiries, or questions about our Covid-19 policies, please email events@thirdplacebooks.com or call our Lake Forest Park store at (206) 366-3311.