Lisa Alther found fame in 1975 with her first book, Kinflicks, and has since written four best-selling novels.
For her first work of non-fiction, Alther delves into her own past with a memoir called Kinfolks-Falling Off the Family Tree.
The book follows Alther’s quest to learn about her ancestors, the mysterious and elusive Appalachian race known as the Melungeons. She finds clues to their origins scattered throughout her ten years of research, and finally finds some answers through DNA testing.
Along the way, Kinfolks detours into humorous lessons in history, geography, and the mysteries of racial identity.
She spoke with VPR’s Neal Charnoff about her book.
Note: Alther will be appearing at the Firehouse Center for the Visual Arts in Burlington, Wednesday evening at 7.