Spider in a Tree Reading

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"Like Jonathan Edwards, Stinson reads the natural world as well as Scripture, searching for meaning. But instead of the portents of an angry god, what she finds there is something numinous, complicated, and radiantly human." -Alison Bechdel

Susan Stinson's novel, Spider in a Tree, published today by Small Beer Press, is about Northampton, Massachusetts in the time of Jonathan Edwards, the eighteenth century preacher and theologian best known for his sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God." Leah and Saul, enslaved in the Edwards household, are central to the story. Susan lives across Bridge Street from the Northampton cemetery where Jonathan Edwards and many of his family have memorials and graves. Time spent in that beautiful place inspired the book.

This reading and book launch takes place, during the week of the 310th anniversary of Jonathan Edwards's birth, in the beautiful sanctuary at First Churches on Main Street. Although the original building is gone, this is the spot where Edwards preached nearly 300 years ago.  Copies of the novel will be available for sale by Broadside Bookshop.  Susan will be happy to sign books.

Susan Stinson, Forbes Library Writer In Residence, is the award-winning author of three novels and a book of poetry and lyric essays. She recently completed Spider in a Tree, a novel about eighteenth century Northampton preacher Jonathan Edwards. Video excerpts of Susan reading from Spider in a Tree appear on the website of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale. She has received grants and fellowships from the Barbara Deming/Money for Women Fund, the Wurlitzer Foundation, the Millay Colony, and the Blue Mountain Center, among others. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies and journals, including Kenyon Review, Early American Studies and The Women's Review of Books. She has given more than a hundred readings, speeches and workshops across the country, and also offers cemetery tours and talks about local history.

This event is co-sponsored by First Churches and Small Beer Press and is the first event in the 2013/14 Local History/Local Novelists series