Novelist Natalie Harnett to kick off ‘Authors on Main’

Novelist Natalie Harnett to kick off ‘Authors on Main’


WAKEFIELD – Award-winning novelist Natalie S. Harnett, author of “The Hollow Ground,” will kick off the sixth season of Authors on Main at Contemporary Theater on Sunday, June 28.

Harnett’s debut novel, published last year by St. Martin’s Press, recently was awarded the John Gardner Fiction Book Award by Binghamton University. Contest judge Leslie Heywood called Harnett’s writing “breathtaking in its ability to capture the embodied emotional world of a young girl growing up in challenging circumstances.”

The book is set in 1960s Pennsylvania coal country, where the underground mines are literally ablaze. Narrator Brigid Howley, on the cusp of adolescence, moves to her grandparents’ home in Barrendale, where she tries to unravel family secrets, including an Irish curse and a body in a mine shaft.

Harnett also was a finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize, the Mid-List Press First Series Award for the Novel, the Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers, and The Ray Bradbury Short Story Fellowship. “The Hollow Ground” also has been an Amazon and Audible best seller.

A native of Queens, Harnett earned an MFA from Columbia University and has received an Edward Albee Fellowship, a Summer Literary Seminars Fellowship, and a Vermont Studio Center Writer’s Grant. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Chicago Quarterly Review, The Irish Echo, The Madison Review, The MacGuffin and The New York Times.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write,” Harnett said. “I think my love for language came at a young age and was fostered by the many afternoons I spent reading early twentieth century poems to my maternal grandmother. My family’s love of made up words and my paternal grandmother’s broken English—she was an ethnic German immigrant from Slovenia—also helped.”

Her appearance will begin at 6 p.m., followed by an opportunity to buy signed copies of the book, courtesy Wakefield Books. Admission to Authors on Main events is free, although theater donations are always gratefully accepted. The program is made possible by community sponsors, including Randall, Realtors, the South County Writers Group and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Rhode Island.

The program will continue July 19 with Westerly native Carla Panciera, author of the short story collection “Bewildered,” and on Aug. 16 with Connecticut novelist Dan Pope, author of the novel “Housebreaking.”

The theater is located at 327 Main St., Wakefield, behind Phil’s Grille, with plenty of offstreet parking available.

Support Quality Local Journalism

Latest Videos