The Seed Keeper

The Seed Keeper

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The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson

Genre: Fiction

About the Book: A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper follows a Dakhóta family’s struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most.

Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, a former science teacher who tells her stories of plants, of the stars, of the origins of the Dakhóta people. Until, one morning, Ray doesn’t return from checking his traps. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato—where the reserved, bookish teenager meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they’ve inherited.

On a winter’s day many years later, Rosalie returns to her childhood home. A widow and mother, she has spent the previous two decades on her white husband’s farm, finding solace in her garden even as the farm is threatened first by drought and then by a predatory chemical company. Now, grieving, Rosalie begins to confront the past, on a search for family, identity, and a community where she can finally belong. In the process, she learns what it means to be descended from women with souls of iron—women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss, through war and the insidious trauma of boarding schools.

Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, The Seed Keeper is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.

About the Author: Diane Wilson is a Dakota writer who uses personal experience to
illustrate broader social and historical context. Her new novel, The Seed Keeper, will be published by Milkweed Editions in March, 2021. Wilson’s memoir, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past, won a 2006 Minnesota Book Award and was selected for the 2012 One Minneapolis One Read program. Her nonfiction book, Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life, was awarded the 2012 Barbara Sudler Award from History Colorado. Her work has been featured in many publications, including the anthology A Good Time for the Truth. She has served as a Mentor for the Loft Emerging Artist program as well as Intermedia’s Beyond the Pale. Awards include the Minnesota State Arts Board, a 2013 Bush Foundation Fellowship, a 2018 AARP/ Pollen 50 Over 50 Leadership Award, and the Jerome Foundation. She is a descendent of the Mdewakanton Oyate and enrolled on the Rosebud Reservation. Wilson currently serves as the Executive Director for the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance.

Honours for The Seed Keeper: 

  • Winner of the 2022 Minnesota Book Award in Fiction

  • A BuzzFeed "Best Book of Spring 2021"

  • A Literary Hub “Most Anticipated Book of 2021”

  • A Bustle “Most Anticipated Debut Novel of 2021”

  • A Book Riot “Best Book of 2021”

  • Bon Appetit “Best Summer 2021 Read”

  • A Thrillist “Best New Book of 2021”

  • Ms. Magazine “Best Book of 2021”

  • A Books Are Magic “Most Anticipated Book of 2021”

  • Named a “Most Anticipated Book of 2021” by The Millions

    Minneapolis Star Tribune “Book to Look Forward to in 2021”

  • A Daily Beast “Best Summer 2021 Read”