Reading with Peggy Herring - Anna, Like Thunder
Please join us for an evening reading with Peggy Herring on her book: Anna, Like Thunder.
In November 1808, the Russian ship St. Nikolai ran aground off the west coast of the
Olympic Peninsula near present-day LaPush, Washington. According to historical
record, the twenty-two Russians aboard came to shore and were enslaved and traded
among coastal First Nations until the survivors were rescued a year and a half later.
One of the Russians was eighteen-year-old Anna Petrovna Bulygina, the wife of the
There are two written records of this incident—a written account from Russian fur
trader Timofei Osipovich Tarakanov who was the supercargo aboard the ship, and an
oral tradition as told by Quileute elder Ben Hobucket. Anna is a minor character in
both accounts, but she plays a pivotal role in history.
In Anna, Like Thunder, Herring blends fact and fiction to bring this remarkable woman
to life. Captured, enslaved, and separated fom her husband, Anna is of course terrified,
but she quickly discovers that nothing—including slavery—is as she expected. As she
encounters a way of living that she never could have fathomed, she begins to question
Russian imperialist aspirations and even her own beliefs. And then, in 1809, during an
attempted “rescue”, she refuses help and instead encourages her rescuers to surrender,
an action that set off a series of events that today illuminate an important period of
history on the coast of the Olympic peninsula.
Praise for Anna, Like Thunder
“An intimate engagement with a little-known ghost of North American history and
memory.” —Jaspreet Singh, author of Helium and November
“A beautifully rendered and intimate tale of loss, discovery and redemption, Anna, Like
Thunder takes readers into the heart of North American west coast Indigenous culture:
the forests, beaches and ocean that embrace and sustain them. Peggy Herring writes
so seamlessly that I felt like I was Russian Anna Bulygina, learning to dry salmon,
following a wolf to safety, or confronting the tragic consequences of my colonial
heritage on the people who’ve kept me alive and befriended me.” —Ann Eriksson,
author of The Performance
Peggy Herring spent her career as a journalist with the CBC, and has worked all over
Canada, as well as in Nepal, London, Dhaka, and New Delhi. She is the author of
This Innocent Corner (Oolichan Books, 2010), and her short fiction has been featured
in a variety of publications, including The Antigonish Review, The New Quarterly, and
Prism International. Visit her at peggyherring.ca.