Nantucket Book Festival: Opening Night Recap
In preparation for the Nantucket Book Festival this year, the N Magazine team decided to start a small book club amongst ourselves to try and tick off as many titles of the incoming authors as we could before the start of the festivities. After journeying through the inner workings of a literary agency in the delightful coming-of-age memoir My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff, we turned the page to a very different kind of memoir: Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone.
Without question, A Long Way Gone was the most powerful, vivid, devastating book I’ve ever read, chronicling Beah’s conscription into the military as a young boy in Sierra Leone after being orphaned by bloody violence. Coming to the end of the book, mentally bruised and emotionally tattered, a question simmered on all our minds: How was this young man, who endured such unimaginable horrors, able to write something so utterly beautiful?
Last night, I got my answer when Ishmael Beah spoke from the pulpit of the Unitarian Meeting House, flanked by fellow bestsellers Scott Turow and Azar Nafisi. He was eloquent, insightful, funny, charismatic, and possessed a radiant spirit that gripped me from across the room. What a privilege it was to be in that man’s presence and to actually hear the voice that carried me through his pages.
This is just one of many stirring experiences brought to our island community by the Nantucket Book Festival this weekend. We at N Magazine couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of it. Check out a full listing of events at nantucketbookfestival.org.
– Robert Cocuzzo, Editor
Photo by Meghan Valero