We are so pleased to welcome Pulitzer Prize finalist Lee Martin to celebrate the release of his new book, Gone the Hard Road. Joining him in conversation will be award-winning Hub City Press author, Jessica Handler. We will be discussing Martin's book as well as the writing of family memoirs, and answering your questions!
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"Count your blessings," his mother told him, "Think of everything good in your life."
Pulitzer Prize finalist Lee Martin has done it again. Building from his acclaimed first memoir, From Our House, which recounts the farming accident that cost his father both his hands, Gone the Hard Road is the story of Beulah Martin's endurance and sacrifice as a mother, and the gift of imagination she offered her son. Martin unfolds the world she created for him within their unsettled family life, from the first time she read to him in a doctor's office waiting room, to enrolling him in a children's book club, to the books she bought him in high school. Gone the Hard Road portrays Beulah's selflessness as the family moved around the Midwest, sometimes in the face of her husband's opposition, to show her son a different way of being. Rather than concentrate on the life his father threatened to destroy, as Martin's previous memoirs do, Gone the Hard Road offers the counternarrative of a loving mother and the creative life she made possible, in spite of the eventual cost to herself.
A poignant, honest, and moving read, Gone the Hard Road will stay with anyone who has ever struggled to find their place in the world.
"In stunning, lyrical language, Gone the Hard Road nostalgically evokes the midwestern childhood of a bright, sensitive boy faced with pain and beauty in equal measure. With an unflinching look at the enduring bonds of love in the face of shattering hardship, Martin reveals 'all the ways [we] reinvent ourselves when trouble comes."—Kristen Iversen
Lee Martin is the author of many novels, including The Bright Forever, a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. He is also author of Yours, Jean; The Mutual UFO Network; and Late One Night, among others. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in such places as Harper's, Creative Nonfiction, and The Best American Essays. Winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, the 2006 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council, Martin teaches in the MFA Program at The Ohio State University, where he is a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor.
Jessica Handler is the author of the novel The Magnetic Girl, winner of the 2020 Southern Book Prize, an Indie Next pick, Wall Street Journal Spring 2019 pick, Bitter Southerner Summer 2019 pick, and a SIBA Okra Pick. Her memoir, Invisible Sisters, was named one of the “Twenty Five Books All Georgians Should Read,” and her craft guide Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Loss was praised by Vanity Fair magazine. Her writing has appeared on NPR, in Tin House, Drunken Boat, The Bitter Southerner, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Electric Lit, and More Magazine. She teaches creative writing at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, and lectures internationally on writing.