FOREIGN SEED - Allison Alsup in conversation with Elisa Speranza

Please join us with author Allison Alsup to celebrate the launch of her new novel, FOREINGN SEED when she appears in conversation at Octavia Books with author Elisa M. Speranza (THE ITALIAN PRISONER). Inspired by historical events, Foreign Seed traces the investigation into a missing American botanical explorer from the Yangtze River in 1918.

"I got completely and gratefully lost in its rich setting and memorable characters. You will, too." —Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Somebody’s Fool

Equal parts mystery and epic novel inspired by historical events, Foreign Seed plunges readers into the search for a man who seems to vanish out of thin air.

China, June 1918. 

When the explorer Frank Meyer suddenly disappears from a ferry on the Yangtze River, American Vice-Consul Samuel Sokobin is tasked with finding the missing man. By the time Sokobin receives the case, four days have passed since Meyer was last seen on the vast river. With no clues to guide his search and fearing failure in his new post as a man of rank, Sokobin heads upriver with Mr. Lin, a Chinese interpreter he’s never met. The investigation soon turns deeply personal for Sokobin, who can’t help but conflate Meyer’s fate with that of his own daring younger brother—a fighter pilot gone MIA in the world war. As Sokobin continues to search for answers, this mental connection threatens to break him, and he’s forced to contend with the biggest question of all: what do we do when the answers we most desperately seek are the very ones that elude us?

A sweeping tale of loss and grief, Foreign Seed is a moving testament to friendship, faith, and the resilience of the human spirit. Allison Alsup’s exquisitely-researched debut novel will stay in readers’ hearts and minds long after they’ve turned the last page.


Allison Alsup has won multiple contests and recognitions, including the 2014 O. Henry Prize Stories, Best Food Writing 2015, and the UK'S 2018 Manchester Fiction Prize shortlist. She is the co-founder of the non-profit New Orleans Writers Workshop, where, in addition to teaching, Allison mentors fellow writers one-on-one to develop their stories. Foreign Seed is her first novel.

author Elisa M. Speranza. Photo credit: Cheryl GerberElisa M. Speranza came to JazzFest in 2002 and forgot to go home. She lives in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans with Jon Kardon. The Italian Prisoner, her first novel, was launched at Octavia Books in 2022.


Event date: 

Wednesday, June 5, 2024 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Event address: 

Octavia Books - 513 Octavia Street
New Orleans, LA 70115
Pre-Order Now Badge
Foreign Seed By Allison Alsup Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781684429974
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Keylight Books - June 4th, 2024

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Foreign Seed By Allison Alsup Cover Image
$30.99
ISBN: 9781684429967
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Keylight Books - June 4th, 2024

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The Italian Prisoner By Elisa M. Speranza Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781662924132
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Burgundy Bend Press - April 11th, 2022

1943. New Orleans. Rose Marino lives with her Sicilian immigrant parents and helps in the family grocery store. Her older brother and sister both joined the Army, and Rose prays for their safety as World War II rages overseas. Her parents expect Rose to marry a local boy and start a family. But she secretly dreams of being more like her fiercely independent widowed godmother.


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