Join author Donna Gordon for a discussion of her book What Ben Franklin Would Have Told Me on Wednesday, May 3 at 7PM at the Main Library.
WHAT BEN FRANKLIN WOULD HAVE TOLD ME explores the story of Lee, a vibrant thirteen-year-old boy who is facing premature death from Progeria (a premature aging disease); his caretaker Tomás, a survivor of Argentina’s Dirty War, who is searching for his missing wife, who was pregnant when they were both “disappeared;” and Lee’s single mother, Cass, overwhelmed by love for her son and the demands of her work as a Broadway makeup artist. When a mixup prevents Cass from taking Lee on his “final wish” trip to Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia to pursue his interest in the life of Ben Franklin, Tomás–who has discovered potential leads to his family in both cities–offers to accompany Lee on the trip. As one flees memories of death and the other hurtles inevitably toward it, they each share unsettling truths and find themselves transformed in the process. Set during the Ronald Reagan presidency, this lyrical novel transcends an adventure story to take the reader on an unforgettable journey which explores love, family and the inevitability of change.
Donna Gordon is a fiction writer and visual artist from Cambridge, Massachusetts. She graduated from Brown, and was then a Stegner Fellow at Stanford, a PEN Discovery, and Ploughshares Discovery. She received the 2018 New Letters Publication Award, and was a finalist for the 2019 Black Lawrence Press Big Moose Award, a semifinalist for the 2019 Dzanc Books publication award, a semi-finalist for the 2019 Eludia Award, Hidden River Arts, and a semi-finalist at YesYes books for her novel, What Ben Franklin Would Have Told Me. She was a 2016 finalist for the New Letters Alexander Cappon Prize in Fiction, and received honorable mention from Glimmer Train in 2017. She was a 2017 Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference, and a fellow at the Vermont Studio Center in 2017 and 2018. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, Ploughshares, The Boston Globe Magazine, Story Quarterly, The Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, Solstice and Post Road. Her work with former political prisoners culminated in “Putting Faces on the Unimaginable: Portraits and Interviews with Former Prisoners of Conscience,” exhibited at Harvard’s Fogg Museum.
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