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Other titles in the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize series:
Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus: A Daughter's Civil Rights Journey (River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize)by Ana Maria Spagna
Synopses & Reviews
Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus chronicles the story of an American family against the backdrop of one of the civil rights movement's lesser-known stories. In January 1957, Joseph Spagna and five other young men waited to board a city bus called the Sunnyland in Tallahassee, Florida. Their plan was simple but dangerous: ride the bus together — three blacks and three whites — get arrested, and take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Fifty years later Ana Maria Spagna sets off on a journey to understand what happened and why.
Spagna travels from her remote mountain home in the Pacific Northwest to contemporary Tallahassee, searching for the truth of the incident and her father's involvement. Her journey is complicated by the fact that her father never spoke of the Sunnyland experience and died unexpectedly when she was eleven. Seeking out the other bus riders, now in their seventies, Spagna tries to make sense of their conflicting stories. Her odyssey becomes further troubled by the sudden diagnosis of her mother's terminal cancer.
Winner of the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction prize, Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus deftly weaves cultural and personal history, memoir, and reportage in this fascinating look at a family and a nation's past.
"Never self-congratulatory or maudlin, often brutally honest, always deeply personal, Spagna's...search leads to a deeper understanding ...of all those in the civil rights movement who put their fears aside to do what they knew was right." Oregonian
"[A] magnificent testament and tribute to the lives of many people.... Her surprising story renewed my awe in the interconnectedness of all of our lives." Kathleen Finneran, author of The Tender Land: A Family Love Story
"While Ana Maria Spagna’s ability to capture the nuances of her father’s life is impressive, it is the wonder and persistence she brings to her tale that make this such an engaging book." Danielle Trussoni, author of Falling Through the Earth
About the Author
Ana Maria Spagna is the author of Now Go Home: Wilderness, Belonging, and the Crosscut Saw, which was named a Best Book of 2004 by the Seattle Times. Her work has appeared widely in publications such as Orion, Utne Reader, and North American Review. She lives and writes in Stehekin, Washington.
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