Library Author Series: Janet Buttenwieser
- Library Hall
An evening with the author of Guts, a new memoir about resilience.
At age 24, Janet Buttenwieser moved to Seattle with a résumé devoted to public service and fantasies of single-handedly ending poverty. But within a year she’d developed an intestinal illness so rare she wound up in a medical journal. Janet navigated misdiagnosis, multiple surgeries, and life with a permanent colostomy. Like many female patients her concerns were glossed over by doctors. She was young and insecure, major liabilities in her life as a patient. How would she advocate for low-income people when she couldn’t even advocate for herself?
Janet’s model for assertiveness was her friend Beth. She was the kind of friend who’d accompany you to the doctor when you got dysentery in Ecuador, nonchalantly translating the graphic details of your symptoms into Spanish. Throughout Janet’s illness Beth took care of her; then she developed brain cancer and their roles reversed. Eventually Janet recovered, but Beth’s condition worsened. At the age of 38, Beth died. To cope, Janet competed in endurance events, becoming a triathlete with a colostomy pouch.
With themes that echo Susannah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire and Gail Caldwell’s Let’s Take the Long Way Home, Guts is a story of resilience for the millions of Americans who manage to thrive while living with a chronic condition, as well as the many who’ve lost a loved one at a young age.
About the author
Janet Buttenwieser’s work has appeared in The Rumpus, Under the Sun, Potomac Review, The Pinch, Bellevue Literary Review and elsewhere. Her new memoir, Guts, was a finalist for the University of New Orleans Publishing Lab Prize. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, was a finalist for Oregon Quarterly’s Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest, and won honorable mention in The Atlantic Student Writing contest, the New Millennium Writings Award and the Artsmith Literary Award. She holds an MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts.
This community talk is free.
About the Library Author Series
Bud Werner Memorial Library presents an ongoing program of author talks throughout the year. These are free community events held in Library Hall, where a diverse award-winning range of visiting authors speak about their literary works and their writing processes. Each talk is followed by a Q&A and an opportunity to have authors sign copies of their books.
Books will be available for sale and author signing courtesy of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore.