Watermark Art Center will host the release of Pawns, the second installation in the “Chickenhouse Chronicles Series,” written by Bemidji author Wendell Affield on Friday, April 13 at 7 p.m.


The second book in this autobiographical series conjures up memories as the author pours over musty letters, documents and seventy-year photographic negatives. Some photographs evoke fading memories of his mother, a beautiful young New Yorker and accomplished Juilliard-trained pianist; others evoke images of puppies tied to a corncrib, a harrowing escape to a secluded mountain lake in the Cascade Mountains, and his brother Randy – now forty years dead.

Memory bits expand into images of fear and anger: a water trough Affield angrily destroyed with an ax; long distant road trips with his siblings and mother in attempts to escape her abusive husband; his mother’s fear of forgetting her children scattered across the country in foster homes after she was committed to a mental institution.

During the book release, hear Affield read from this dramatic rec

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ounting as well as share his process for writing about family history. Q&A to follow.

Wendell Affield attended Bemidji State University to learn the writing craft. His Vietnam “memory stories” evolved into a memoir, Muddy Jungle Rivers. The memoir has opened surprising new paths. Today he speaks about PTSD and leads writing groups for veterans. In 2017, he was awarded the Veteran’s Voices Legacy award by the Minnesota Humanities Center. He retired from the food industry in 2001.

Special thanks to our event sponsor: