One Book/One New Paltz 2022 will tackle Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed

A book, with this year’s selection by New Paltz committee members Linda Wells and Myra Soren, hag- seed By Margaret Atwood. (Photo by Lorraine Thomas)

A local tradition since 2005, One Book/One New Paltz will be back this November, and here’s your heads up on reading this year’s select group if you think you’d like to participate. “We didn’t do it last year, so we lost momentum,” says OB/ONP committee member Linda Wells. “And last year it was completely virtual.”

As many cultural organizations try to keep services and activities alive during the pandemic, this group of volunteers — which works under the joint auspices of the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz and the Elting Memorial Library — has some new tech tips. Tools and gadgets that will prove useful in the future. A Book 2022 will work as a collection of films streamed through Canopy, live meetings and virtual discussions; Some events will be hybrids. This means that a large number of people can participate, including those who are at home or too far away to attend in person during OB/ONP Week (November 13 to 19).

Choosing a book of the year is usually a difficult process, with committee members lobbying hard for favorite authors or works; But there are certain guidelines that include a page limit. Organizers want to ensure that attendees have enough time to read a book after finding a copy. Inquiring Minds Bookstore in New Paltz should have a good supply on hand, and offers a 15 percent price discount; Barner Books, a former partner, today only stocks used books. Elting Library downtown and the Sojourner Truth Library on campus will have some copies, but, according to committee member Mira Sorin, your best bet may be an international loan, which is “very quick.”

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For this year’s presentation, the committee was keen to select a title from the Hogarth Shakespeare series: a project launched by Hogarth Press (now a spin-off of Penguin Random House) to commission noted authors to illustrate the Bard’s Retell plays in contemporary settings as novels. with the The story of the manual There is much in the public consciousness these days due to the reversal of the US Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wadeit makes perfect sense to choose hag- seed (2016), a remake of Margaret Atwood storm. Much of the play takes place in a men’s correctional facility, which made it particularly appropriate for a readership in New Paltz: as Wells notes, “There are more prisons than usual in this area.”

Widely regarded as Shakespeare’s farewell to playwriting, storm tells the story of a duke named Prospero who is deposed in a rebellion (then a politically timely topic) and exiled to a desert island with his three-year-old daughter Miranda. The story picks up 12 years later, when Prospero – who also happens to be a powerful sorcerer – has discovered his enemies in a nearby ship and has raised a storm to destroy their ship on his island. A romance that develops between Miranda and the son of one of her rivals deters Prospero from his initial quest for revenge. There are comic characters and some wizards: the sprite Ariel and the “hog-seeded” monster Caliban, both of whom are enslaved until the exiled Duke’s schemes are accomplished.

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While Atwood’s most famous works are dystopian fantasies, hag- seed It is set in modern-day Canada and actually has less spectacular elements than the game that inspired it. The protagonist, Felix, a theater festival director, ostracized by his colleagues, communicates with his dead daughter, also named Miranda, but she is more of an imaginary friend than a spirit. Angry and humiliated, Felix is ​​holed up in a rural hideout, teaching English literature courses to prison inmates under an assumed name and dreaming of revenge against the administrators who stole his job and his rising star. Are, professionally and politically.

The former director’s Shakespeare class, in which inmates had the opportunity to turn the Bard’s high-pitched language into street vernacular, perform plays and record them on video, became such a success in the prison system that Felix’s old enemies Who doesn’t know who he is. In fact, an official decided to pay a visit – thus providing an opportunity to them at your mercy. “He uses the game in prison to get revenge on the two people who ruined his life,” Wells explains. “But the story is more about how Shakespeare’s plays influenced the prisoners, and the relationships between the prisoners.”

Part of the OB/ONP program this year is a selection of filmed versions storm, or films inspired by it, some of which can be viewed through the canopy and some on DVDs that can be borrowed from two participating libraries. (You will need a Mid-Hudson Library System card from Ellington or SUNY New Paltz for borrowing privileges to access them through Sojourner Truth.) There will be live screenings of the two films, followed by refreshments. Group Discussion: 2010 opus by Julie Taymor stormHelen Mirren played Propera, and Behind Shakespeare’s Bar (2005) about the actual production of a documentary film storm Performed by inmates at the Luther Luckett Correctional Facility in Louisville, Kentucky. The other two films included in OB/ONP are by Paul Mazursky storm (1982) and Derek German J storm (1979).

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A Book Week begins with its traditional community book discussion and brunch hosted by Bill Strongan, Rabbi Emeritus of the Jewish Congregation of New Paltz. Other scheduled events include academic panels, this year featuring SUNY New Paltz professors Cyrus Mulready (English), Jerry Prasad (digital media and journalism, Latino and Caribbean studies) and Ann Rochelle (sociology). “Academic panels are always my favorite part of a book, where people from different disciplines discuss the book through the unique lens of their field,” Wells says.

Additional scholarly presentations include a focus on Amy Caesar a storm, an adaptation that makes Caliban the central character and ends the story as a meditation on colonialism. A discussion titled “Games in Prison/Games in Prison;” and another that provides an overview of the setting storm Over the centuries, including contemporary versions aimed at children and teenagers.

To view the full schedule, including live event locations and Zoom discussions or links to download movies, visit

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