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Mark Cecil in Person

Join us in person on Tuesday, March 26 at 7 PM as Mark Cecil launches his book, Bunyan and Henry; Or, the Beautiful Destiny: A Novel. He will be joined in conversation by Whitney Scharer.

About the Book

A large-hearted reimagining of beloved all-American legends, this epic debut novel brings men of myth Paul Bunyan and John Henry alive like never before, teaming up for an adventure quest with deeper interrogations of race, class, and industrialization.

Paul Bunyan—legendary larger-than-life American lumberjack—is a man down on his luck. With a load of family debts on his broad back, he ekes out a miserable miner’s life in Lump Town, a bleak hamlet controlled by famed industrialist El Boffo. When Bunyan's wife Lucette falls ill with a disease caused by the toxic mineral Lump, he embarks on a quest to save her. His only guide: the Chilali—a mysterious creature who speaks only in questions.

Bunyan’s path leads to The Windy City—and to John Henry. Henry is not yet the “steel-drivin’” man known to folklore, but a fugitive on the run from a rigged, racist prison system. As Bunyan and Henry strive to reunite with the families they love, they must work together to solve riddles, forge weapons, brawl with a behemoth, and confront at every turn the relentless, duplicitous El Boffo.

A richly imaginative reinvention of myth, Bunyan and Henry is at once a timeless quest, a fresh origin story, and an urgent modern fable that wrestles with the two sides of the American dream—its wild idealism and cruel underbelly—to inspire the awakening of the folk hero in us all.

About the Author

Mark Cecil is host of The Thoughtful Bro show, for which he conducts interviews with an eclectic roster of award-winning and breakout storytellers. Formerly a journalist for Reuters, he is Head of Strategy for literary social media startup A Mighty Blaze and has taught writing at Grub Street in Boston. This is his first book.

About Whitney Scharer

Whitney Scharer is the author of The Age of Light, a Boston Globe and IndieNext bestseller that was named one of the best books of 2019 by Parade, Glamour Magazine, Real Simple, Refinery 29, Booklist and Yahoo. Internationally, The Age of Light won Le prix Rive Gauche à Paris, was a coups de couer selection from the American Library in Paris, and has been published in over a dozen other countries. Whitney is the recipient of a 2020 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Fellowship in Fiction, and has been awarded residencies at the Mount, the Virginia Center for the Arts, and Ragdale. She grew up in Denver, Colorado and now lives with her husband and daughter in Arlington, MA, where she is at work on her second novel.


This event is free and open to the public, but we ask that you RSVP at this link to Eventbrite

Event date: 
Tuesday, March 26, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
9 College St
South Hadley, MA 01075
Pre-Order Now Badge
Bunyan and Henry; Or, the Beautiful Destiny: A Novel By Mark Cecil Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593471166
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Pantheon - March 26th, 2024

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