Virtual Event - February 17th - Michigan Fiction Author John Smolens


John Smolens has published eleven works of fiction, most recently Day of Days. His work has appeared in publications such as The North American Review, The Southern Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Columbia Journal of Literature and Art, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. He was educated at Boston College, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Iowa, and he has taught at Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, and is professor emeritus, Northern Michigan University. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Michigan Author of the Year Award from the Michigan Library Association. Day of Days - In the spring of 1927, Andrew Kehoe, the treasurer for the school board in Bath, Michigan, spent weeks surreptitiously wiring the public school, as well as his farm, with hundreds of pounds of dynamite. The explosions on May 18, the day before graduation, killed and maimed dozens of children, as well as teachers, administrators, and village residents, including Kehoe’s wife, Nellie. A respected member of the community, Kehoe himself died when he ignited his truck, which he had loaded with crates of explosives and scrap metal. Decades later, one survivor, Beatrice Marie Turcott, recalls the spring of 1927 and how this haunting experience leads her to the conviction that one does not survive the present without reconciling hard truths about the past. In its portrayal of several Bath school children, Day of Days examines how such traumatic events scar one’s life long after the dead are laid to rest and physical wounds heal, and how an anguished but resilient American village copes with the bombing, which at the time seemed incomprehensible, and yet now may be considered a harbinger of the future.

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