In her new memoir, Monsoon Mansion, Cinelle Barnes earns some apt comparisons to The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls. Join us to hear her in conversation with our own Kathleen Nalley about the nature of family stories, telling hard truths, and the impact of current events on her own writing life.
Cinelle Barnes was barely three years old when her family moved into Mansion Royale, a stately ten-bedroom home in the Philippines. Filled with her parents’ opulent excess, it was a girl’s storybook playland. But when a monsoon hits, her father leaves, and her mother’s terrible lover takes the reins, Cinelle’s fantastical childhood turns toward tyranny she could never have imagined.
In this remarkable ode to survival, Cinelle creates something magical out of her truth—underscored by her complicated relationship with her mother. Through a tangle of tragedy and betrayal emerges a revelatory journey of perseverance and strength, of grit and beauty, and of coming to terms with the price of family—and what it takes to grow up.
Cinelle Barnes is an essayist, memoirist and educator with a MFA in creative writing from Converse College. Books have been the one constant in her life—through her tumultuous childhood in the Philippines, her years living as an undocumented immigrant in New York City, her time as a new bride living in the American South, and as she completed her MFA program and began writing about her secrets. She lives between two states with her husband and daughter: New York, where she is always inspired to write, and South Carolina, where she can be close to the ocean.
This event is completely free, and begins at 7pm.