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Peggielene Bartels, also known as King Peggy

Bill O'Leary, Associated Press

THE BOOKMARK: The latest from the local scene

  • Article by: LAURIE HERTZEL
  • March 3, 2012 - 6:48 PM

It's a big week for the Bookcase of Wayzata, the Twin Cities' oldest indie bookstore. On Monday, it's hosting royalty: Peggielene Bartels, author of "King Peggy," and at the end of the week there will be two more big names: Kathryn Harrison (author of the controversial memoir "The Kiss") on Thursday, and New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult on Friday.

Bartels was born in Ghana and educated in England. She was working as a secretary in Washington, D.C., in 2008 when she got a strange phone call from a cousin in Ghana. Her uncle had died, and she had been named the new king of her village, Otuam. That's right; king. (It's a title that means "leader.")

Bartels' new book, "King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village," explains all, including how she brought clean water to the village, set up a bank account for the town, started a library and acquired an ambulance. She'll sign books at 7 p.m. Monday at Wayzata Community Church, 125 E. Wayzata Blvd.

Harrison will read from her new novel, "Enchantments," at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Bookcase, 607 E. Lake St., Wayzata. And Picoult will read from "Lone Wolf" at a ticketed event at 7 p.m. Friday at Wayzata High School. (The $15 tickets are available at the store or on its website, www.bookcaseof wayzata.com.)

Check out the On Books blog next week (www.startribune.com/books) for interviews with Harrison (on Monday's blog) and Picoult (on Wednesday).

Also ...

Joseph Mattson, editor of "The Speed Chronicles," will be in conversation with Eric Lorberer at 7:30 p.m. March 7 at Magers & Quinn. "The Speed Chronicles" is an anthology of short stories by William T. Vollmann, Megan Abbott, Sherman Alexie and many others, each centered around amphetamines. Mattson is a fiction writer in Los Angeles; Lorberer is editor of Rain Taxi Review of Books in Minneapolis.

Heid Erdrich's latest collection of poetry, "Cell Traffic," has been published by the University of Arizona Press. She'll launch the book at 6 p.m. March 23 at Birchbark Books, in conjunction with an exhibition by Dyani White Hawk, who designed the book's cover. Other events include April 24 at the University of Minnesota bookstores and May 14 at the Loft.

• "Battling Miss Bolsheviki: The Origins of Female Conservatism in the United States," by Kirsten Marie Delegard, has been published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Delegard is a writer and historian in Minnesota.

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