You are here

Christopher Benfey & Hernan Diaz :: Canaan Meetinghouse Reading Series

c benfyChrisopher Benfey will read from his most recent biography, If: The Untold Story of Kipling’s American Years, about the years Kipling spent living in America, four of which were spent in Vermont. 

Christopher Benfey is Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College. A frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review and The New York Review of Books, Benfey has written four books about the American Gilded Age including A Summer of Hummingbirds.

"Kipling's India is familiar to us--but his America? That's an undiscovered country, or it was until Christopher Benfey found a way to put it on the map, reminding us The Jungle Book was written in Vermont and should stand as an American classic. " --Michael Gorra

h diazHernan Diaz will read from his novel In the Distance, a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer, about a young Swedish immigrant in California trying to move East to find his brother, while battling a tide of characters pushing West. 

Hernan Diaz is the author of Borges, Between History and Eternity (Bloomsbury 2012), managing editor of RHM, and associate director of the Hispanic Institute at Columbia University. He lives in New York.

"Hernan Diaz's In the Distance is exquisite: assured, moving, and masterful, as profound and precise an evocation of loneliness as any book I've ever read." --Lauren Groff


meetinghouseThe Meetinghouse Readings in Canaan, held at 7:30 pm on four Thursday evenings in July and early August are free and open to the public; no reservations needed.  (Please, no infants, toddlers or squirmers.)

Moderated by Phil Pochoda, the sponsors include James Laffan, Esq., Caldwell Estate Planning, Wachovia Securities, and Mascoma Savings Bank. The Norwich Bookstore will sell current and past books by each author at the Meetinghouse. Many of the books can also be purchased at the bookstore in advance, to be signed by the authors.

The readings are held at the 1793 Meetinghouse in Canaan, N.H.’s Historic District, located opposite the beach on Canaan Street Lake. Take Route 4 to the blinking light in Canaan; 2 miles up Canaan Street to the Old Meetinghouse. For more information, visit or call the Canaan Town Library (603) 523-9650.

Event date: 
Thursday, July 18, 2019 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
Canaan Street
Canaan, NH
If: The Untold Story of Kipling's American Years Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735221437
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Penguin Press - July 9th, 2019

A New York Times Notable Book of 2019

A unique exploration of the life and work of Rudyard Kipling in Gilded Age America, from a celebrated scholar of American literature

In the Distance Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566894883
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Coffee House Press - October 10th, 2017

Finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

A young Swedish immigrant finds himself penniless and alone in California. The boy travels East in search of his brother, moving on foot against the great current of emigrants pushing West.

A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain , Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143115083
Availability: Special Order (email to check availability)
Published: Penguin Books - March 31st, 2009

The country's most noted writers, poets, and artists converge at a singular moment in American life, a great companion to fans of the film A Quiet Passion, starring Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson.