Haystack Book Festival: “The Hidden Lives of Ordinary Things” with Dinah Lenney, Kim Adrian, and Matthew Battles

Date: 10/02/2021
Time: 2:30 pm-3:30 pm

Haystack Book Festival presents three authors of the Object Lessons Series in conversation Dinah Lenney, Kim Adrian, and Matthew Battles. Object Lessons is an essay and book series about the hidden lives of ordinary things, from sardines to silence, juniper berries to jumper cables.  Each Object Lessons project starts from a specific inspiration: an anthropological query, ecological matter, archeological discovery, historical event, literary passage, personal narrative, philosophical speculation, technological innovation—and from there develops original insights around and novel lessons about the object in question.

To accommodate varying audiences, there are three ways to attend this event:

  1. Live in-person @ the Norfolk Library* with 60 seats available
  2. In-person but live-streamed on the Norfolk Hub’s* large screen with 25 seats available
  3. Virtually live-streamed to watch from home.

*Proof of vaccination and masks required to attend in-person.

To register for your preferred viewing mode for this event, click HERE.

Dinah Lenney, the author of Coffee, is an American actress and writer. She is also the author of Bigger Than Life: A Murder, A Memoir. Coffee–it’s the thing that gets us through, and over, and around. The thing–the beverage, the break, the ritual–we choose to slow ourselves down or speed ourselves up. The excuse to pause; the reason to meet; the charge we who drink it allow ourselves in lieu of something stronger or scarier. Coffee goes to lifestyle, and character, and sensibility: where do we buy it, how do we brew it, how strong can we take it, how often, how hot, how cold? How does coffee remind us, stir us, comfort us?

Kim Adrian is the author of Sock and Dear Knausgaard as well as the editor of The Shell Game: Writers Play with Borrowed Forms, an anthology of lyric essays. Her 2018 memoir, The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet, was a Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist. Kim has taught creative writing at Brown University and currently leads online writing workshops independently, through Zoom. She is the creator of Write On, a free craft-focused newsletter for writers Who ponders the sock? This common object is something people tug on and take off daily with hardly a thought. Sock reminds us that extraordinary secrets live in mundane material realities, and shows how this floppy, often smelly, sometimes holey piece of clothing, whether machine-made or hand-knit, can also serve as an anatomy lesson, a physics primer, a love letter, a weapon, a fetish, and a fashion statement.

Matthew Battles is the author of the Object Lessons series Tree; Palimpsest: A History of the Written Word; and Library: An Unquiet History. He is a maker and thinker whose work merges literary, scholarly, and artistic forms of inquiry. His writing on the cultural dimensions of science and technology appears in such venues as The American Scholar, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, and The New York Times. Tree explores the forms, uses, and alliances of this living object’s entanglement with humanity, from antiquity to the present. Trees tower over us and yet fade into background. Their lifespan outstrips ours, and yet their wisdom remains inscrutable, treasured up in the heartwood. They serve us in many ways―as keel, lodgepole, and execution site―and yet to become human, we had to come down from their limbs. In this book, Matthew Battles follows the tree’s branches across art, poetry, and landscape, marking the edges of imagination with wildness and shadow.