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This October, meet three women who dared to be different. From a mother’s courageous journey in a rural Nepalese village, to the school mistress who dramatically influenced the The King and I, to the rip-roarin’ western legend of Calamity Jane, discover stories of dynamic and intrepid women during Fishtrap’s Fall Arts & Lecture Series.

Fishtrap continues its 27-year tradition of bringing interesting people and thought-provoking events to Wallowa County. The public is invited to three lectures all with Oregon authors who have explored legendary characters and while doing that, looked inwards toward themselves.

Fishtrap’s Fall Arts and Lecture series begins Thursday, October 2 with a book release party and presentation for Elizabeth Enslin’s, While the Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey through Love and Rebellion in Nepal followed by a book signing and party with live music, drinks, and Nepali-inspired snacks. The series continues with weekly events throughout the month.

Buy a lecture pass for all four events for just $12
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Thursday, October 2 at 7pm
Elizabeth Enslin: While the Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey through Love and Rebellion in Nepal.
The Josephy Center, 403 N Main St., Joseph
Free Admission

While the Gods Were Sleeping is Elizabeth Enslin’s intimate and compelling story of the challenges of marriage, pregnancy, and childrearing in a foreign land—among Brahman in-laws in a remote village in the plains of Nepal. While struggling to adapt to her new life, she discovers unexpected allies among local women and ultimately discovers as much about human resilience and the capacity for courage as she does about herself.

Elizabeth Enslin grew up in Seattle and went on to earn her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Stanford University. While a graduate student, she married into a Brahman family in the plains of Nepal. She has published creative nonfiction and poetry in The Gettysburg Review, Crab Orchard Review, and The High Desert Journal, among other publications. She lives in Wallowa County.

Thursday, October 9 at 7pm
Film Screening: The King and I
Fishrap House, 400 Grant Street, Enterprise

The film and stage versions of The King and I were inspired by Anna Leonowens’ accounts of her life in Siam. View the film before attending Alfred Habegger’s lecture and learn how Leonowens may have misrepresented an Asian people, and a nation.

Thursday, October 16 at 7pm
Alfred Habegger: Masked: The Life of Anna Leonowens, Schoolmistress at the Court of Siam.
Fishtrap House, 400 Grant Street, Enterprise

Masked is the first critical, fact-based biography of Anna Leonowens, the elusive India-born teacher who inspired The King and I. Based on fresh research on five continents, the book traces her hard itinerant life before, in, and after Bangkok, showing why someone of part-Asian ancestry ended up misrepresenting an Asian people and nation. Masked also explores why Leonowens’s claim to have brought democracy to Siam held a profound appeal to Americans after the Civil War, and then once again in the 1940s and 1950s, when her story offered a kind of mythical support for America’s historic shift from isolationism to foreign interventionism.

Formerly a Professor of English at the University of Kansas, Al Habegger is the author of many scholarly articles and five books, including The Father: A Life of Henry James, Sr. and the acclaimed My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson. In the 1970s he and his wife, Nellie, began building a log house on their land in the northern Wallowa County, where they now reside. They make occasional trips to their daughter-in-law’s village in northeastern Thailand.

Wednesday, October 29 at 7pm
Richard Etulain: The Life and Legends of Calamity Jane
Fishtrap House, 400 Grant St.

Everyone knows the name Calamity Jane. Scores of dime novels and movie and TV Westerns have portrayed this original Wild West woman as an adventuresome, gun-toting hellion. Although Calamity Jane has probably been written about more than any other woman of the nineteenth-century American West, fiction and legend have largely obscured the facts of her life. Etulain’s lively, concise, and exhaustively researched biography traces the real person from the Missouri farm where she was born in 1856 through the development of her notorious persona as a Wild West heroine.

Richard W. Etulain is Professor Emeritus of History and former director of the Center for the American West at the University of New Mexico. Former editor of the New Mexico Historical Review, he is the author or editor of more than 50 books, including Beyond the ​Missouri: The Story of the American West and Telling Western Stories: From Buffalo Bill to Larry McMurtry.​

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