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Saturday, October 28 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Fiction: War and the Home Front

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For better or for worse, stories of wartime are inherently dramatic. In this session, we’ll hear from three novelists who consider war’s repercussions even on those who might be thousands of miles away from the front lines. Stephen P. Kiernan and Jessica Shattuck set their novels during and after World War II. The titular heroine of Kiernan’s The Baker’s Secret uses her vocation to sustain her fellow villagers in German-occupied Normandy and to enact her own quiet but effective form of resistance. Shattuck’s novel, The Women in the Castle, also explores the legacy of resistance, as a group of resistance widows, women whose overlapping stories exemplify the moral costs of war, come cautiously together in the wake of the conflict that killed their husbands. Finally, playwright and novelist Laura Harrington’s A Catalog of Birds brings to light the wounds—both seen and unseen—that devastate not only a Vietnam veteran but also the family and rural community to which he returns. Guiding their conversation is moderator Catherine Parnell, senior associate editor of Consequence, a literary magazine focusing on the culture of war. 

avatar for Catherine Parnell

Catherine Parnell

Catherine Parnell is an independent consultant as well as an instructor at GrubStreet in Boston. She’s the senior associate editor for Consequence Magazine. Her nonfiction chapbook, The Kingdom of His Will, explores the culture of war, and recent publications include interviews, essays and stories in Redivider, TSR: The Southampton Review, Spaces, Post Road, and The Baltimore Review, as well as various newspapers and newsletters... Read More →

avatar for Laura Harrington

Laura Harrington

Laura Harrington is a literary polymath who has spent much of her career writing for the stage and teaching others to do the same. She has written plays, librettos, lyrics for musicals, and classical musical compositions. Her productions have been staged in Europe, Canada, and in twenty-eight states in the US. Among her plays are Hallowed Ground, N (Bonaparte), Fifteen Minutes at Midway, The Book of Hours, and Free Fall; while some of her notable musicals are Crossing Brooklyn, Martin Guerre, The Perfect 36, and Marathon Dancing. Her newest musical, Alice Unwrapped, is based on her debut novel about a family dealing with the Iraq War, Alice Bliss. Harrington currently teaches playwriting at MIT. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants; she was also a Briggs-Copeland Fellow at Harvard, the 2014 Jack Kerouac Writer in Residence at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and receipient of the 2008 Kleban Award for... Read More →
avatar for Stephen P. Kiernan

Stephen P. Kiernan

Author and journalist Stephen P. Kiernan has won more than forty awards during his career. His journalism career writing for the Burlington Free Press and the Boston Globe spanned more than two decades. He is now an author and a speaker, giving talks on hospice and palliative care, health care, ethics, and the green economy, among other topics. His two books of nonfiction tie directly into the topics he often speaks about: Authentic Patriotism; How to Restore... Read More →
avatar for Jessica Shattuck

Jessica Shattuck

Jessica Shattuck’s 2001 debut novel, The Hazards of Good Breeding, is an exploration into the veneers and true lives of New England aristocracy. It was a named a best book of the year by the Boston Globe, was a New York Times Notable Book, and was a finalist for the PEN/Winship Award in 2003. She is also the author of Perfect Life (2009), and her short fiction has appeared in Glamour, the New Yorker, and Open City, among other publications. Shattuck has had nonfiction published in the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and Wired. In her latest novel, The Women in the Castle, she... Read More →

Saturday October 28, 2017 2:00pm - 3:00pm
BPL Commonwealth Salon 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA