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AWP Conference Reading: A Happy Hour Reading with Melissa Pritchard and Michael Coffey

A Solemn Pleasure:

In an essay entitled “Spirit and Vision” Melissa Pritchard poses the question: “Why write?” Her answer reverberates throughout A Solemn Pleasure, presenting an undeniable case for both the power of language and the nurturing constancy of the writing life. Whether describing the deeply interior imaginative life required to write fiction, searching for the lost legacy of American literature as embodied by Walt Whitman, being embedded with a young female GI in Afghanistan, traveling with Ethiopian tribes, or revealing the heartrending story of her informally adopted son William, a former Sudanese child slave, this is nonfiction vividly engaged with the world. In these fifteen essays, Pritchard shares her passion for writing and storytelling that educates, honors, and inspires.

The Business of Naming Things:

Among these eight stories, a fan of writer (and fellow adoptee) Harold Brodkey gains an audience with him at his life’s end, two pals take a Joycean sojourn, a man whose business is naming things meets a woman who may not be what she seems, and a father discovers his son is a suspect in an assassination attempt on the president. In each tale, Michael Coffey’s exquisite attention to character underlies the brutally honest perspectives of his disenchanted fathers, damaged sons, and orphans left feeling perpetually disconnected.rAmong these eight stories, a fan of writer (and fellow adoptee) Harold Brodkey gains an audience with him at his life’s end, two pals take a Joycean sojourn, a man whose business is naming things meets a woman who may not be what she seems, and a father discovers his son is a suspect in an assassination attempt on the president. In each tale, Michael Coffey’s exquisite attention to character underlies the brutally honest perspectives of his disenchanted fathers, damaged sons, and orphans left feeling perpetually disconnected.
 

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