Free Shipping Anywhere in the World

Shop over 1 Million Toys in our Huge New Range

A Solemn Pleasure
By

Rating

Product Description
Product Details

Table of Contents

I. A Room in London The writer lives for two months in London, in another writer's cramped but atmospheric refuge. Spirit and Vision In this essay, the question "why write?" is posed and by way of an answer, Walt Whitman is shown to be a writer of compassionate witness, in contrast to the profit-based pressures of the marketplace. From the Deep South to the Desert South: An Epiphyte's Confession Aware of the power of region in fiction, the writer wonders if her own bland, semi-erased origins will be an obstacle to her literary ambitions. On Kaspar Hauser In the British Library, composing a fictional account of the German-born feral child, Kaspar Hauser, the writer comes to see books as devotional objects, holy histories, reliquaries of the human mind. II. Time and Biology: On the Threshold of the Sacred How inescapable pressures of temporality and mortality upon any writer's work can be met with cultivated courage and an undiminished passion for expressing emotional truths. Elephant in the Dark In this essay, an argument is made for "point of view" as being one of the most critical, early decisions to be made by the writer when embarking on a new story. The Gift of Warwick A powerful, bittersweet arc of community can emerge in a writing workshop over weeks or months, attesting to attachments formed by a common vulnerability of writers and their shared passion for language and story. III. Doxology The origins and history of the dachshund lead into the author's own love for her miniature male dachshund, Simon. A Solemn Pleasure When the writer reluctantly travels to a writing residency in a castle outside of Edinburgh, Scotland, weeks after her mother's death, her grief is given perspective when she discovers a cemetery of ancient headstones, each inscription a compressed, often tragic, story. A Graven Space In this reflective essay on Georgia O'Keefe, a question emerges: is it possible we idealize the lives of renowned artists in an attempt to unconsciously avoid responsibility for the success or failure of our own creativity? Decomposing Articles of Faith Here is an unorthodox, even heretical, response to familiar phrases of Catholic prayer by the writer, herself an unorthodox, even heretical, Catholic. IV. Finding Ashton In this piece, the writer embeds with six female soldiers in Panjshir Province, Afghanistan, and forms an unexpected attachment to the youngest, Senior Airman Ashton Goodman, who will be killed by an IED outside Bagram Air Field four months later. "Still, God Helps You": Memories of a Sudanese Child Slave The harrowing story of a Sudanese boy captured from his village and enslaved by the Janjaweed, only to escape years later into still more harrowing circumstances, as told to the writer by William Akoi Mawwin, now the writer's informally adopted son. Circle of Friends Bereft and directionless, in quiet crisis, the writer travels with photographers Angela Fisher and Carol Beckwith to the remote Omo River region of Ethiopia, gaining an unexpected perspective on aging and loneliness. V. On Bibliomancy, Anthropodermic Bibliopegy and the Eating Papers An essay on books, focusing on the use of books for divination, on rare but extant books bound in human skin, and on the ancient healing practice of eating words written on paper.

Promotional Information

Co-op available Significant bound galley printing for media and booksellers. Additional eGalley distribution to media, booksellers, and librarians through Edelweiss. National print, public radio, and online campaigns, targeting coverage on nationally broadcast public radio programs; major daily newspapers; popular magazines (particularly women's magazines); literary magazines (New Yorker, Harper's, etc.); travel magazines; literary journals; and popular and literary websites (Brian Pickings, Flavorwire, etc.). Tour to include bookstore appearances in Phoenix, AZ; Tempe, AZ; Tucson, AZ; Washington, DC; Boston, MA; New York, NY; and Philadelphia, PA and at AWP in Minneapolis, MN Simultaneous eBook publication and promotion Postcards available Academic marketing plans include Consortium Required Reading newsletter advertising and outreach to prominent MFA and journalism programs Giveaways through Goodreads and LibraryThing Blurbs possible from Leslie Jamison, Roxane Gay, David Shields, and many others Promotion through the author's website (www.melissapritchard.com) and BLP's social media networks and website (www.blpress.org) Marketing and publicity efforts supported by Molly Mikolowski of A Literary Light

About the Author

Melissa Pritchard is the author of eight books of fiction, including the novel Palmerino and the story collection The Odditorium, as well as the essay collection A Solemn Pleasure (forthcoming from Bellevue Literary Press in 2015). Among other honors, her books have received the Flannery O'Connor, Janet Heidinger Kafka, and Carl Sandburg awards and two of her short fiction collections were New York Times Notable Book and Editors' Choice selections. Pritchard has worked as a journalist in Afghanistan, India, and Ethiopia, and her nonfiction has appeared in various publications, including O, The Oprah Magazine, Arrive, Chicago Tribune, and Wilson Quarterly. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Foreword contributor Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the best-selling novel Remember Me Like This, a Barnes & Noble Discover selection and New York Times Editors' Choice, and Corpus Christi: Stories. He's also the editor of Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer. He is the Paul and Catherine Buttenweiser Director of Creative Writing at Harvard University.

Reviews

Praise for A Solemn Pleasure Firecracker Award Finalist Poets & Writers "Best Books for Writers" selection Literary Hub "Best Books about Books" selection Image: Art, Faith, Mystery "Top Ten of the Year" selection Publishers Weekly "Top 10: Literary Biographies, Essays & Criticism" Foreword Reviews "Books for Grads" selection "Altogether magnificent. . . . [The essay "Spirit and Vision"] bears that cynicism-disarming quality of a commencement address and enchants the psyche like an incantation. . . . [Pritchard] ends the piece like one might a commencement address-and if this were one, it would certainly be among the greatest commencement addresses of all time. . . . Complement A Solemn Pleasure, seriously pleasurable in its entirety, with Susan Sontag's advice to writers, Virginia Woolf on writing and self-doubt, and Cheryl Strayed's no-nonsense wisdom on the craft." -Brain Pickings "Pritchard's essay collection is one to keep by your bedside to read again and again. Like Lewis Hyde's The Gift, Pritchard plumbs the depths of why we write, in order to uncover the important reasons we need to write. . . . A Solemn Pleasure is a treasure of a book. Keep it nearby, because in the darkest depths when you are confronted with the beautiful pain of the blank page, Pritchard will remind you how words can create light. . . . And know that this book will give you super powers." -Atticus Review "Invite[s] underlining, re-reading, and reading aloud. . . . Pritchard [is] a beautifully descriptive stylist and deeply committed artist. . . . A Solemn Pleasure is not only a great way for readers to meet [her], but an excellent choice to mark the launch of Bellevue Literary Press' new series, The Art of the Essay." -Rain Taxi Review of Books "Elegant, funny. . . . Pritchard's own prose embodies her conviction that great writing involves both imagining the inner life of its subjects and a `bearing witness' to the human condition and the transcendent mystery that surrounds it." -Image: Art, Faith, Mystery "Pritchard once again validates the assertion that all true art is moral, as it instructs by seeking to improve life." -World Literature Today "A spirited, intelligent, wide-ranging exploration of the joys, frustrations, and trials of the life of the writer." -Colorado Review "Ethically rich. . . . Pay attention to the surge of [Pritchard's] mind and the spiritual energy she demonstrates." -Spirituality & Practice "As insightful as it is engaging. . . . Pritchard will make you cry, think, and laugh; each essay is filled with wit and wisdom. . . . A great read for writers, readers looking for enlightenment, and those who savor nonfiction that explores the spiritual through the everyday." -Library Journal (starred review) "Moving. . . . Readers will treasure the book's numerous memorable moments." -Publishers Weekly "Heartfelt . . . bear[s] powerful witness to suffering, compassion, and transcendence." -Kirkus Reviews "From grief to daily rituals to the shape of a dachshund, Pritchard insightfully connects the most obscure of subjects to reveal gems of truth about the human experience." -Foreword Reviews "Full of lovely sentences that often achieve an almost mystical, spiritual power." -NewPages "A fine, delicate essayist. . . . Pritchard's writing is inspiring." -Literary Hub "Gorgeous and moving. . . . Each of these essays confirms that to write is to think and feel, to take part in the profound and sacred act of witness. Read together-and the book is so arresting that many readers will finish it in a single sitting-the essays amount to a clear and irrefutable mandate for empathy." -BRET ANTHONY JOHNSTON, director of Creative Writing at Harvard University, author of Remember Me Like This, and editor of Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer (from the Foreword) "`Great writers are witnesses to the spirit of their age,' Melissa Pritchard declares. And in her splendid collection of essays, A Solemn Pleasure, she bears witness to matters great and small, from the quotidian joys of a borrowed room in London to the life and example of Georgia O'Keeffe to the plight of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Art is for her `a form of active prayer,' which leads her to journey both inward and outward, notably to Afghanistan, where the consequences of the war on terror become tragically clear. This is the spirit of our age, gracefully rendered in Pritchard's essays, which will stand the test of time." -CHRISTOPHER MERRILL, director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa and author of The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War "Melissa Pritchard has written an incredible book that is an important testament to the role of the writer as society's moral and spiritual compass. In A Solemn Pleasure, Pritchard meshes the personal with the political in a bold and deeply honest composition that will make every reader a more compassionate human being. This book is written from the heart. It will refresh your passions and inspire the deepest yearnings of your soul. I found myself underlining, taking notes, and feeling inspired to write." -JEN PERCY, author of Demon Camp Praise for Melissa Pritchard "A writer at the height of her powers." -Oprah.com "Dreamy and delightful." -NPR's All Things Considered "Wildly imaginative. . . . Endearingly quirky." -Glamour "Precise and lucid." -New York Times Book Review "Pritchard polishes the strange and makes it shine." -LESLIE JAMISON, San Francisco Chronicle "One of our finest writers." -ANNIE DILLARD "Melissa Pritchard's voice is completely her own." -TAYARI JONES "I have admired Melissa Pritchard's writing for several years now for its wisdom, its humble elegance, and its earthy comedy." -RICK MOODY "Melissa Pritchard is a treasure." -BRADFORD MORROW "Melissa Pritchard's prose, that darkly lyrical firmament, is brightened by the dizzy luminous arrangement of her stars and satellites, her great gifts to us: humor, irony, kindness, brilliance." -ANTONYA NELSON "A writer of immense talent." -PETER STRAUB "No one is quite so brilliant at voicing the all-but-impossible-to-track interior lives of the most complex human beings as is Melissa Pritchard." -BRAD WATSON
Praise for A Solemn Pleasure Firecracker Award Finalist Poets & Writers "Best Books for Writers" selection Literary Hub "Best Books about Books" selection Image: Art, Faith, Mystery "Top Ten of the Year" selection Publishers Weekly "Top 10: Literary Biographies, Essays & Criticism" Foreword Reviews "Books for Grads" selection "Altogether magnificent. . . . [The essay "Spirit and Vision"] bears that cynicism-disarming quality of a commencement address and enchants the psyche like an incantation. . . . [Pritchard] ends the piece like one might a commencement address and if this were one, it would certainly be among the greatest commencement addresses of all time. . . . Complement A Solemn Pleasure, seriously pleasurable in its entirety, with Susan Sontag's advice to writers, Virginia Woolf on writing and self-doubt, and Cheryl Strayed's no-nonsense wisdom on the craft." Brain Pickings "Pritchard's essay collection is one to keep by your bedside to read again and again. Like Lewis Hyde's The Gift, Pritchard plumbs the depths of why we write, in order to uncover the important reasons we need to write. . . . A Solemn Pleasure is a treasure of a book. Keep it nearby, because in the darkest depths when you are confronted with the beautiful pain of the blank page, Pritchard will remind you how words can create light. . . . And know that this book will give you super powers." Atticus Review "Invite[s] underlining, re-reading, and reading aloud. . . . Pritchard [is] a beautifully descriptive stylist and deeply committed artist. . . . A Solemn Pleasure is not only a great way for readers to meet [her], but an excellent choice to mark the launch of Bellevue Literary Press' new series, The Art of the Essay." Rain Taxi Review of Books "Elegant, funny. . . . Pritchard's own prose embodies her conviction that great writing involves both imagining the inner life of its subjects and a 'bearing witness' to the human condition and the transcendent mystery that surrounds it." Image: Art, Faith, Mystery "Pritchard once again validates the assertion that all true art is moral, as it instructs by seeking to improve life." World Literature Today "A spirited, intelligent, wide-ranging exploration of the joys, frustrations, and trials of the life of the writer." Colorado Review "Ethically rich. . . . Pay attention to the surge of [Pritchard's] mind and the spiritual energy she demonstrates." Spirituality & Practice "As insightful as it is engaging. . . . Pritchard will make you cry, think, and laugh; each essay is filled with wit and wisdom. . . . A great read for writers, readers looking for enlightenment, and those who savor nonfiction that explores the spiritual through the everyday." Library Journal (starred review) "Moving. . . . Readers will treasure the book's numerous memorable moments." Publishers Weekly "Heartfelt . . . bear[s] powerful witness to suffering, compassion, and transcendence." Kirkus Reviews "From grief to daily rituals to the shape of a dachshund, Pritchard insightfully connects the most obscure of subjects to reveal gems of truth about the human experience." Foreword Reviews "Full of lovely sentences that often achieve an almost mystical, spiritual power." NewPages "A fine, delicate essayist. . . . Pritchard's writing is inspiring." Literary Hub "Gorgeous and moving. . . . Each of these essays confirms that to write is to think and feel, to take part in the profound and sacred act of witness. Read together and the book is so arresting that many readers will finish it in a single sitting the essays amount to a clear and irrefutable mandate for empathy." BRET ANTHONY JOHNSTON, director of Creative Writing at Harvard University, author of Remember Me Like This, and editor of Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer (from the Foreword) "'Great writers are witnesses to the spirit of their age,' Melissa Pritchard declares. And in her splendid collection of essays, A Solemn Pleasure, she bears witness to matters great and small, from the quotidian joys of a borrowed room in London to the life and example of Georgia O'Keeffe to the plight of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Art is for her 'a form of active prayer,' which leads her to journey both inward and outward, notably to Afghanistan, where the consequences of the war on terror become tragically clear. This is the spirit of our age, gracefully rendered in Pritchard's essays, which will stand the test of time." CHRISTOPHER MERRILL, director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa and author of The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War "Melissa Pritchard has written an incredible book that is an important testament to the role of the writer as society's moral and spiritual compass. In A Solemn Pleasure, Pritchard meshes the personal with the political in a bold and deeply honest composition that will make every reader a more compassionate human being. This book is written from the heart. It will refresh your passions and inspire the deepest yearnings of your soul. I found myself underlining, taking notes, and feeling inspired to write." JEN PERCY, author of Demon Camp Praise for Melissa Pritchard "A writer at the height of her powers." Oprah.com "Dreamy and delightful." NPR's All Things Considered "Wildly imaginative. . . . Endearingly quirky." Glamour "Precise and lucid." New York Times Book Review "Pritchard polishes the strange and makes it shine." LESLIE JAMISON, San Francisco Chronicle "One of our finest writers." ANNIE DILLARD "Melissa Pritchard's voice is completely her own." TAYARI JONES "I have admired Melissa Pritchard's writing for several years now for its wisdom, its humble elegance, and its earthy comedy." RICK MOODY "Melissa Pritchard is a treasure." BRADFORD MORROW "Melissa Pritchard's prose, that darkly lyrical firmament, is brightened by the dizzy luminous arrangement of her stars and satellites, her great gifts to us: humor, irony, kindness, brilliance." ANTONYA NELSON "A writer of immense talent." PETER STRAUB "No one is quite so brilliant at voicing the all-but-impossible-to-track interior lives of the most complex human beings as is Melissa Pritchard." BRAD WATSON

Ask a Question About this Product More...
Write your question below:
Item ships from and is sold by Fishpond.com, Inc.
Back to top