"Windfall" by Erika Bolstad

Friday, March 10, 2023 - 7:00pm

Beneath the windswept North Dakota plains, riches await...

Join us to celebrate Erika Bolstad's Windfall: The Prairie Woman Who Lost Her Way and the Great-Granddaughter Who Found Her

Friday, March 10th, 2023 at 7pm.

This event is free and open to the public at Auntie's Bookstore.
RSVP below!


About the book

At first, Erika Bolstad knew only one thing about her great-grandmother, Anna: she was a homesteader on the North Dakota prairies in the early 1900s before her husband committed her to an asylum under mysterious circumstances. As Erika's mother was dying, she revealed more. Their family still owned the mineral rights to Anna's land—and oil companies were interested in the black gold beneath the prairies. Their family, Erika learned, could get rich thanks to the legacy of a woman nearly lost to history.

Anna left no letters or journals, and very few photographs of her had survived. But Erika was drawn to the young woman who never walked free of the asylum that imprisoned her. As a journalist well versed in the effects of fossil fuels on climate change, Erika felt the dissonance of what she knew and the barely-acknowledged whisper that had followed her family across the Great Plains for generations: we could be rich. Desperate to learn more about her great-grandmother and the oil industry that changed the face of the American West forever, Erika set out for North Dakota to unearth what she could of the past. What she discovers is a land of boom-and-bust cycles and families trying their best to eke out a living in an unforgiving landscape, bringing to life the ever-present American question: What does it mean to be rich?


About the author

Erika Bolstad is a journalist and filmmaker in Portland, Ore., and the author of Windfall. In her career as a journalist, she has traveled from Alaska to Miami to tell stories about the effects of climate change. For her book, Windfall, she ventures to more personal terrain: the oil fields of North Dakota and the story behind a mysterious family bequest. Shortly before her mother died, she revealed that Erika would inherit potentially valuable mineral rights near the Bakken oil fields, inspiring Erika to set out for North Dakota to investigate the bequest from a great grandmother who vanished from the historical record. Along the way, Erika confronts the myths of the West and how they shaped not only the women of her family, but the wider American story.

Erika spent a decade in Washington, D.C., covering politics and environmental issues for Climatewire and the McClatchy Washington Bureau. In 2008, she was a Pulitzer finalist for work at the Idaho Statesman. She was also a staff writer for the Miami Herald, where she covered Hurricane Katrina and other national stories. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Scientific American and many other publications.

Event address: 
Auntie's Bookstore
402 West Main Ave
Spokane, WA 99201
Windfall: The Prairie Woman Who Lost Her Way and the Great-Granddaughter Who Found Her By Erika Bolstad Cover Image
ISBN: 9781728246932
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sourcebooks - January 17th, 2023

Beneath the windswept North Dakota plains, riches await...