Paul Harding, whose brilliant and absorbing novel Tinkers took the world by surprise on its publication in 2009 by Bellevue Literary Press and won him the Pulitzer Prize in 2010, will read at Bird & Beckett this coming Sunday from his recently published third novel, This Other Eden (W.W. Norton, 2023).
Ten years in the writing, This Other Eden is richly imagined from the true story of Malaga Island off the coast of Maine, settled in 1793 by a former slave and his Galway wife. From that beginning, the multiracial community tended apple orchards, fished, did mainlanders’ laundry and found other ways to scrape by and flourish in many ways despite a severe and unforgiving environment, mostly isolated from the prejudices and violence of the mainland society. All that changed in 1911/12 when the mainland blue bloods, prosecutors of christian morality, officialdom and eugenicists decided in their wisdom and racist disdain to forcibly rid the island of its inhabitants, institutionalizing many in asylums, abandoning others, exhuming their dead and laying plans for an offshore profit center ro serve those with free time and money to spend. Harding’s novel is a deeply poetic evocation of the lives of the Honeys, Larks and McDermotts, islanders sharing an intricate history and experience, and an unbelievably cruel fate.
There is no writer alive anything like Paul Harding, and This Other Eden proves it: astonishingly beautiful, humane, strange, interested in philosophy and the heart, stunningly written. It’s about home, love, heredity, cruelty, and the very nature of art, so completely original it’s hard to know how to describe it. –Elizabeth McCracken, author of The Souvenir Museum.
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
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Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
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Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site