Literary Cocktail Hour features Ruth Ozeki on Dec. 10
Ruth Ozeki

Literary Cocktail Hour features Ruth Ozeki on Dec. 10

BRATTLEBORO — On Friday, Dec. 10, the Brattleboro Literary Festival concludes its 20th anniversary year with a Literary Cocktail Hour at 5 p.m., featuring award-winning novelist Ruth Ozeki.

Register for the free online event at

Ozeki will discuss her new book, The Book of Form and Emptiness, with local writer Stephanie Greene.

The book tells the story of 13-year-old Benny Oh who, one year after the death of his beloved musician father, begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house - a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce.

Although Benny doesn't understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry, and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.

The New York Times said of Ozeki's writing: “Adept at magical realist fiction, Ozeki ensouls the world. Everything in her universe, down to a windowpane and a widget, has a psyche and a certain amount of agency and can communicate, if only with the few human beings granted the power to understand them.”

A novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest, Ozeki's books have garnered international acclaim for their ability to integrate science, technology, religion, environmental politics, and global pop culture into unique, hybrid, narrative forms.

Ozeki divides her time among western Massachusetts, New York City, and British Columbia, Canada; she teaches creative writing at Smith College, where she is professor of humanities.

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