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June 4, 2020

Nina MacLaughlin

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes NINA MACLAUGHLIN—author of the acclaimed collection Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung, and the memoir Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter—for a discussion of her latest book, Summer Solstice: An Essay. She will be joined in conversation by award-winning author and artist BEN SHATTUCK.


What is summer made of? The smell of cut grass behind the gasoline of a lawnmower. Ponds, lakes, and oceans. The first swim. A sunburn. A crown you’ve made of flowers. Blackberry bush prickers. Fat red tomatoes sliced thin and salted. First hot dog off the grill. Stargazing, spooning, and sleeping with the windows open. Two bodies, naked and entwined. Throbbing light from fireflies. Nina MacLaughlin's essay brims with a searching honesty and insight about what this season has meant in our pasts and what it might mean in our lives ahead. Release yourself into the sky and feel, for a moment: there's time.

About Author(s)

Nina MacLaughlin is the author of Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung, a re-telling of Ovid's Metamorphoses told from the perspective of the female figures transformed, published by FSG/FSG Originals in November, 2019. Her first book was the acclaimed memoir Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter. Formerly an editor at the Boston Phoenix, she worked for nine years as a carpenter, and is now a books columnist for the Boston Globe. Her work has appeared on or in The Paris Review DailyThe BelieverAmerican Short Fiction, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Wall Street JournalMeatpaper, and elsewhere. She carves spoons and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Ben Shattuck, a former Teaching-Writing Fellow of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is the director of the Cuttyhunk Island Writers’ Residency and the curator of the Dedee Shattuck Gallery. He is the recipient of a PEN America Best Debut Short Story Award and 2019 Pushcart Prize. His writing can be found in the Harvard ReviewThe Common, the Paris Review DailySalon.comLit HubKinfolk Magazine, and other publications. His forthcoming book, Three Walks, will be published by Tin House in winter 2022.