Literature Program

Thursday, August 16, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.


Co-sponsored/co-presented by:
Hallwalls, Talking Leaves...Books, & Just Buffalo present

Howard Frank Mosher

Reading & Presentation by Vermont North Country Novelist & Screenwriter

Howard Frank Mosher—author of the new novel On Kingdom Mountain (2007), and the earlier Vermont North Country novels Disappearances, Where the Rivers Flow North, Marie Blythe, A Stranger in the Kingdom, Northern Borders, The Fall of the Year, The True Account, & Waiting for Teddy Williams—will present a slide show about his work and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, where most of his work is set, followed by a reading from On Kingdom Mountain, featuring the feisty, memorable, and unforgettable Miss Jane Hubbell Kinneson, who among other things is rewriting the Bible and Henry David Thoreau.


Talking Leaves...Books, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, and Just Buffalo Literary Center are delighted to team up once again to introduce Vermont novelist Howard Frank Mosher to the Buffalo reading and film-going publics. If you think that an artist with three names requires three community mainstays to bring him here, your thinking is flawed. It's not the length of his name, but the breadth, depth, and quality of his fiction, and the quality of the films it has spawned (along with our longtime habit of working together), that links us in August for two Thursday evening events, both in the cinema at Hallwalls, both starting at 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, August 9, 7:00 p.m.: the Buffalo Premiere of director Jay Craven's Disappearances, a spellbinding tale of high-stakes whiskey-running based on Mosher's award-winning first novel, published in 1977. Starring Kris Kristofferson, and featuring Geneviève Bujold, Gary Farmer, and William Sanderson (Deadwood), the film completes a trilogy of what Craven calls "Vermont frontier films" that began with Where the Rivers Flow North (starring Rip Torn, Tantoo Cardinal, & Michael J. Fox) and A Stranger in the Kingdom (starring David Lansbury, Ernie Hudson, & Martin Sheen). All three films are based on the Mosher novels of the same titles.

Set during Prohibition, Disappearances tells the story of Quebec Bill Bonhomme (Kristofferson), an impossible dreamer and schemer who needs fast cash after a freak lightning storm destroys his barn. Despite forebodings from his skeptical and mystical sister, Cordelia (Bujold), Quebec Bill hatches a plan to steal twenty cases of liquor from feral Canadian whiskey pirate, Caracjou (Lothaire Bluteau) and smuggle it back across the Vermont-Canadian border. He takes along his 15-year-old-son, Wild Bill (Charlie McDermott), his inscrutable brother-in-law (Farmer), and his cranky hired man (Sanderson). Together, they cross the border into Canadian wilderness—and a haunted and elusive past—for three unforgettable days "full of terror, full of wonder." What they find is the stuff of genuine legend.

Boston Phoenix called Disappearances "an extraordinary accomplishment…a Peckinpah-style Eastern Western." American Film Institute wrote "Palpable, intimate and magical…operates on powerful metaphorical levels." Variety called it as "mesmerizing…poetic...[and] "stirringly acted." Reuters calls it "impressive…graceful...[and] eerily beautiful." Yankee calls it "stunning." The Boston Globe adds, "wild adventure...pure fun." New York Times critic Stephen Holden calls Disappearances "beautiful and raw...lovingly handmade…[and] "imbued with a robust charm." The film is rated PG-13.

Thursday, August 16: author Howard Frank Mosher will appear in person to discuss his process of fiction writing and, in particular, how he wrote his new novel and tenth book, On Kingdom Mountain, which book critic Jeffret Lint has called "Mosher at his peak": "Mosher may very well be the most authentic, the most illuminating, pleasurable and rewarding writer at work today."

On Kingdom Mountain tells the story of Miss Jane Hubbell Kinneson, bookwoman, bird carver, and Vermont individualist, and her battle to preserve the ancestral mountain where she lives from development. Miss Jane is someone you'll want to bring along to your next community gathering or confrontation. Using his hilarious slide show presentation "Where in the World Is Kingdom County?", Mosher discusses all aspects of his writing process, from how and where he has found his material to the transformations his novels go through from outline to finished book—often 50 drafts later. As part of his presentation, he will discuss the on-site filming, in "Kingdom County," of the recently released movie Disappearances, based on his novel of the same name. His presentation concludes with an uproarious account of "the Great American Book Tour," followed by a reading from his new novel, and a book signing. This event is free and open to the public; copies of Mosher's many books will be available for purchase, and are currently available at Talking Leaves…Books.

Over the course of the past thirty years and ten books, Howard Frank Mosher has transformed the wild and beautiful corner of Vermont where he lives into some of the most compelling, unique, humorous, and memorable American contemporary fiction, populated with a cast of engaging, funny, complicated, unforgettable characters. He is particularly adept at creating strong, feisty, non-stereotypical women; at elucidating the complex rites of passage of curious, innocent teenagers; and at linking the fate of the corner of the world he's chosen to illuminate to a larger historical and national context. His is a world you'll want to enter again and again, as distant as the isolated northern border of the U.S. and Canada, as near as the corner bar or town library, as historic as the American Revolution, as contemporary as today's global environmental and racial issues.

A Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award, the New England Book Award, and the ACLU Excellence in the Arts Award, Mosher is a funny, candid, and informative speaker who describes the writing life not as it is often imagined to be, but as it usually is. In addition, he has probably visited more independent bookstores in the U.S. than any other writer or person.

Some publications related to this event:
July and August, 2007 - 2007