Meet the Author - Pamela Petro

Event date: 
Thursday, August 24, 2023 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
471 Angell Street
Providence, RI 02906

Author Event with Pamela Petro on August 24th

Join us on Thursday, August 24th at 6:00 p.m. for a reading and discussion with Pamela Petro, author of The Long Field.

The Long Field: Wales, and the Presence of Absence, a Memoir by Pamela Petro

"Enchanting...Forty years after her first encounter with Wales, Pamela Petro has written a memoir that's a love letter to the distinctive country and the spirit it engenders in her. . . .Readers who have traveled to Wales will relish her ability to summon that experience with a profoundly observant eye and prose that, at times, possesses an almost poetic quality. And it won't be surprising if those who've never had the pleasure of visiting this distinctive land will be struck by the urge to do so after reading her thoughtful, evocative memoir."—Shelf Awareness

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.