Books & Books presents an evening with Pamela Petro (Nonfiction/Graphic Novels & Comics, MFA Writing Faculty) & Thomas Swick discussing Petro’s book: The Long Field: Wales and the Presence of Absence, a Memoir.
This event is FREE and open to the public and books will be available for purchase the night of the event so make sure to stay after the talk for a book signing!
For readers of H Is for Hawk, an intimate memoir of belonging and loss and a mesmerizing travelogue through the landscapes and language of Wales.
Hiraeth is a Welsh word that’s famously hard to translate. Literally, it can mean “long field” but generally translates into English, inadequately, as “homesickness.” At heart, hiraeth suggests something like a bone-deep longing for an irretrievable place, person, or time—an acute awareness of the presence of absence.
In The Long Field, Pamela Petro braids essential hiraeth stories of Wales with tales from her own life—as an American who found an ancient home in Wales, as a gay woman, as the survivor of a terrible AMTRAK train crash, and as the daughter of a parent with dementia. Through the pull and tangle of these stories and her travels throughout Wales, hiraeth takes on radical new meanings. There is traditional hiraeth of place and home, but also queer hiraeth; and hiraeth triggered by technology, immigration, ecological crises, and our new divisive politics. On this journey, the notion begins to morph from a uniquely Welsh experience to a universal human condition, from deep longing to the creative responses to loss that Petro sees as the genius of Welsh culture. It becomes a tool to understand ourselves in our time.
A finalist for the Wales Book of the Year Award and named to the Telegraph‘s and Financial Times’s Top 10 lists for travel writing, The Long Field is an unforgettable exploration of “the hidden contours of the human heart.”
Pamela Petro is a writer, artist, and educator and the author of four books, including Sitting Up with the Dead: A Storied Journey through the American South (published by Arcade) and Travels in an Old Tongue: Touring the World Speaking Welsh. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic, Granta, Guernica, Paris Review, and others. Pamela teaches creative writing at Smith College and in Lesley University’s MFA Program, and is codirector of the Dylan Thomas Summer School at the University of Wales, where she is a fellow. Pamela is also a visual artist who lives in Northampton, MA, with her partner, Marguerite, and Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Topaz.
Thomas Swick was the travel editor of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel from 1989 to 2008. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, as well as in six editions of The Best American Travel Writing. His most recent book, the memoir Falling into Place: A Story of Love, Poland, and the Making of a Travel Writer, will be out in November. He lives with his wife Hania in Fort Lauderdale and in his free time does cartooning and street photography.