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May 18 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pmFree
On Saturday, May 18 at 2:00 pm, Bernardsville author Donna Baier Stein will speak at Bernardsville Public Library about her new book, “Scenes from the Heartland: Stories Based on Lithographs by Thomas Hart Benton.” Illustrating her talk will be slides of Benton’s art and information about his life and work. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.
The nine stories in Baier Stein’s book bring to vivid life the early decades of the 20th century as witnessed by one of America’s most well-known painters. Thomas Hart Benton sketched fiddlers and farm wives, preachers and soldiers, folks gathering in dance halls and tent meetings. Though his lithographs depict the past, the real-life people he portrayed face issues that are front and center today—corruption, women’s rights, and racial inequality. Then as now, Americans struggled with poverty, illness, and betrayal. These fictions reveal our fellow countrymen and women living with grace and strong leanings toward virtue, despite the troubles that face them.
The review in the New York Journal of Books stated, “‘Scenes from the Heartland’ is a book to read for anyone interested in American values and history, told in lingering prose that sinks into the soul.”
“‘Scenes from the Heartland’ is an unforgettable collection,” wrote Lee Martin, Pulitzer Prize Finalist Author of “The Bright Forever,” “As lovely as it is honest, refusing to sentimentalize, transcending nostalgia, and looking directly at the riven, triumphant, glorious hearts of its characters. Donna Baier Stein provides a necessary reminder of everything we share, no matter how distant we may be in time or place.”
Ms. Baier Stein is the author of “The Silver Baron’s Wife” (PEN/New England Discovery Award winner, Foreword Reviews Bronze Winner, General Fiction 2018), “Sympathetic People” (Iowa Fiction Award Finalist), “Sometimes You Sense the Difference,” and “Letting Rain Have Its Say.” A founding editor of Bellevue Literary Review, she also founded and publishes Tiferet Journal. She has received a scholarship from Bread Loaf, a fellowship from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, four Pushcart nominations, and more. Her writing has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Washingtonian, Virginia Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Writer’s Digest, Virginia Quarterly Review, New York Quarterly, and many other journals and anthologies.
There is no charge to attend the program; advance sign-up is requested at www.bernardsvillelibrary.org. For further information, call the library at 908-766-0118. The library is located at 1 Anderson Hill Road in Bernardsville.