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For further information, contact the MBL Communications Office at (508) 289-7423 or e-mail us at comm@mbl.edu

For Immediate Release: January 11, 2008
Contact: Gina Hebert, 508-289-7725, ghebert@mbl.edu

Geraldine Brooks

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Will Speak About Latest Novel People of the Book at January 25 Falmouth Forum at the MBL

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author Geraldine Brooks will speak about the writing of her latest novel, People of the Book, a sweeping adventure through five centuries of history at a Falmouth Forum performance on Friday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the MBL’s (Marine Biological Laboratory’s) Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole. The lecture, titled Making Fiction from Fact: The Writing of People of the Book is presented by the MBL Associates, is sponsored by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and is free and open to the public.

Brooks’ intricate, ambitious novel inspired by a true story traces the journey of a rare illuminated Hebrew manuscript from convivencia Spain to the ruins of Sarajevo, from the Silver Age of Venice to the sunburned rock faces of northern Australia. From its creation in Muslim-ruled, medieval Spain, the illuminated manuscript makes a series of perilous journeys: through Inquisition-era Venice, fin-de-siecle Vienna, and the Nazi sacking of Sarajevo.

The novel’s main character, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed manuscript, which has been rescued once again from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with figurative paintings. When Hanna discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding, she becomes determined to unlock the book’s mysteries. As she seeks the counsel of scientists and specialists, the reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book’s journey from its creation to its salvation.

The San Francisco Chronicle calls People of the Book “...a tour de force that delivers a reverberating lesson gleaned from history.” Alan Cheuse of NPR's All Things Considered said “My one winter prediction: This erudite but suspenseful novel is going to become one of the most popular and successful works of fiction in the New Year.”

Geraldine Brooks formerly a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, where her beats included some of the world’s most troubled areas, including Bosnia, Somalia, and the Middle East. Her fiction debut, Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, was published in 10 countries and was a 2001 Notable Book of the Year for the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune. For her second novel, March, Brooks was awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. She is also the author of two acclaimed works of nonfiction, Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women, and Foreign Correspondence: A Penpal’s Journey from Down Under to All Over. Born and raised in Australia, she lives in Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, the author Tony Horwitz, and their son.

Admission to this Falmouth Forum presentation is free and open to the public. A buffet dinner is available before the lecture at 6:00 p.m. in the Swope Center located near the auditorium. Dinner tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance at either Eight Cousins Children’s Books, Main Street, Falmouth, or at the MBL’s Communications Office in the Candle House, 127 Water Street in Woods Hole. Dinner seats are limited and tickets are only available until they sell out or until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 25. All tickets are nonrefundable. For more information contact the MBL’s Communications Office at 508-289-7423.

Copies of People of the Book will be available for sale in the Lillie Auditorium lobby before and after the lecture. A book signing will follow the lecture.

The Falmouth Forum will continue throughout the winter. The remaining lectures in the series are below.
  • February 8, 2008
    "An Overview of the First Year & Looking Ahead"
    Ian Bowles, Secretary, Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

  • March 7, 2008
    "The Media and the Presidential Campaign"
    Lance Morrow, award-winning essayist for TIME magazine and author of eight books

All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information and for full lecture descriptions, visit http://www.mbl.edu/falmouthforum


The MBL is an international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. For more information, visit www.MBL.edu

The MBL Associates are a group of individuals and businesses that support the scientific mission of the MBL through their gifts to the Annual Fund. The Associates sponsor educational and research programs for the MBL and raise funds for special projects. In addition, they operate the MBL Associates Gift Shop, located on Water Street in Woods Hole, the profits from which support scientific fellowships.