Sarah Bird

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Novelist Sarah Bird is our guest week. We’ll be talking with her about her new novel, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen (September 4, 2018, St. Martin’s Press).

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Sarah Bird is the author of ten novels. Her latest, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, is a tribute to Cathy/Cathay Williams, the only woman to serve with the fabled Buffalo Soldiers. It will be released as a lead title on Sept. 4, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press.

Her previous novel, Above the East China Sea, was long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award; was an ALEX Award nominee; winner of the Texas Philosophical Society Literary Award; a Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice; a Seattle Times Best Book of the Year; a Tucson Book Festival Great Books for Book Club selection; and a Marie Claire Best Summer Reads.

Sarah was a B&N’s Discover Great Writers selection; a New York Public Libraries Books to Remember; a Dobie-Paisano Fellowship honoree; a two-time winner of the TIL’s Best Fiction award; and an Austin Libraries Illumine Award for Excellence in Fiction winner. She was voted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame has been awarded the Texas Writer of the Year by the Texas Book Festival. In 2017, she won The Austin Chronicle’s Best Fiction Writer award for the sixth time and received the Texas Institute of Letters Lifetime Achievement Award.

Learn more at You can find Sarah on Facebook,  Instagram  and Twitter.

PRAISE FOR Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen (September 4, 2018, St. Martin’s).

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen is Sarah Bird at her very best–witty, heartbreaking, and deeply honest. The carefully researched, richly imagined story of Cathy Williams is a beautiful reminder of a forgotten part of women’s history. You’ll be swept away by the passion and power of this remarkable, trailblazing woman who risked everything to follow her own heart.” —New York Times bestselling author, Kristin Hannah The Great Alone; The Nightingale

“An epic page-turner, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, is inspired by the real-life story of the feisty and fearless Cathy Williams, the first woman to serve in the peacetime U.S. military. Weaving fact and fiction, Sarah Bird dances between humor and heartbreak as she takes this American heroine from forgotten to unforgettable.” New York Times bestselling author, Christina Baker Kline, Orphan Train; A Piece of the World

“Sarah Bird takes a few scant lines from history–fragments, really, the barest of bones that have come down to us of Cathy Williams, slave, freedwoman, U.S. Calvary trooper–and spins from them this magnificent imagining of a flesh-and-blood, heart-and-soul woman who fears and loves and wants and hurts just as fiercely as any of us. This wonderful novel is as rich in the telling as Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man and Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, but Bird is breaking new ground, staking out a whole different territory.  Cathy Williams, a black woman in history; what’s been lost to time and neglect is surely regained in good measure by this brilliant, powerful novel.” —Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

“In her wonderful new book, Sarah Bird has managed to create a new way of looking at history. Her lens is the character of the slave-turned-soldier Cathy Williams, who is the possessor of one of the most remarkable narrative voices I have encountered in a long time. I was carried into her world, which means into the heart of the Civil War, and later into the heart of the old American west. Bird’s use of history is terrific throughout.” —S.C. Gwynne, Empire of the Summer Moon and Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson

“Sarah Bird’s jewel of a story is the best novel I’ve read in a long time as her mesmerizing rendering of Cathy Williams held me under a spell from the first to the last sentence. It is a dazzling, important story of love and courage based on the sacrifice of an African-American woman who defied racial and gender stereotypes. Told in Cathy’s unforgettable voice with rich and stunning details, it’s the kind of book that raises big questions about war and women today, as well as racism, and how more of us can find the courage to reach back into our own histories to remember we are stronger and more powerful than we’ve been led to believe. Few books make me weep Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen had me sobbing. I am in love with Cathy/Cathay Williams.”—Jan Jarboe Russell, The Train to Crystal City

“There are times when historical figures tap writers on the shoulder and demand their stories be told. Haunted by Williams’ remarkable life, Bird had no choice but to give voice to this nearly-forgotten woman. In Bird’s masterful hands, Williams’ evolution from slave to soldier is brilliantly depicted with a fine-tuned balance of heartbreak and humor. Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen will surely be read and admired by today’s readers as well as by generations of readers to come.” —Ann Weisgarber, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, optioned by Viola Davis

“Thank you Sarah Bird for dramatizing part of my heritage. Your larger-than-life portrayal of Cathy Williams honors the legacy of a true American patriot who just happens to be a Black woman. Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen creates a narrative as magnificent as Williams’s refusal to surrender to a second slavery. It is certain to return Cathy Williams to the pages of history she has been lost from for far too long.” —Christine Swanson, award-winning writer, director, producer. The Miki Howard Story

ABOUT  Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen (September 4, 2018, St. Martin’s Press)

The compelling, hidden story of Cathy Williams, a former slave and the only woman to ever serve with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers.

“Here’s the first thing you need to know about Miss Cathy Williams: I am the daughter of a daughter of queen and my mama never let me forget it.”

Though born into bondage on a “miserable tobacco farm” in Little Dixie, Missouri, Cathy Williams was never allowed to consider herself a slave. According to her mother, she was a captive, destined by her noble warrior blood to escape the enemy. Her chance at freedom presents itself with the arrival of Union general Phillip Henry “Smash ‘em Up” Sheridan, the outcast of West Point who takes the rawboned, prideful young woman into service. At war’s end, having tasted freedom, Cathy refuses to return to servitude and makes the monumental decision to disguise herself as a man and join the Army’s legendary Buffalo Soldiers.

Alone now in the ultimate man’s world, Cathy must fight not only for her survival and freedom, but she also vows to never give up on finding her mother, her little sister, and the love of the only man strong enough to win her heart. Inspired by the stunning, true story of Private Williams, this American heroine comes to vivid life in a sweeping and magnificent tale about one woman’s fight for freedom, respect and independence. –St. Martin’s Press