(Belfast, ME) Left Bank Books invites the public to a free talk and book signing by Maine author and gardener Margot Anne Kelley on Wednesday, June 5 at 6:30 pm. Kelley’s new book, A Gardener at the End of the World, explores how the first year of a global pandemic turned her gardening hobby into an extended reflection of the ways that the spread of food and disease has shaped human history.

The memoir-journal opens with Kelley, who lives in Port Clyde, explaining where the “end of the world” is for her: “I live near the end of the earth, half a mile from the tip of a thirteen-mile-long peninsula in Maine. This close to the point, terra firma spans less than a quarter of a mile, a sliver separating the Atlantic Ocean to the east from the Georges River to the west.”

In March 2020, when “the world broke into two,” Kelley was watching seeds germinate in her greenhouse. At high risk from illness, the planning, planting, and tending to seedlings took on extra significance. She set out to make her pandemic garden thrive and also to better understand the very nature of seeds and viruses. As seeds became seedlings, plants, and food, Kelley examined the last few millennia as successions of pandemics altered human beings and global culture. Organized in ten chapters from “March” through “December,” Kirkus Reviews writes that Kelley “transforms musings about a gardening hobby into a rich—and richly instructive historical journey through human history.”

Kelley’s garden provides a refuge and a source of life, inspiration, and hope. A Gardener at the End of the World explores questions of what we can preserve—of history, genetic biodiversity, culture, language—and what we cannot. It is for any reader curious about the overlap of nature, science, and history.

Margot Anne Kelley holds a PhD in American literature from Indiana University and an MFA in media and performing arts at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design. During a long career in academia, she taught expository writing, literature, photography, and aesthetic theory at the undergraduate and graduate levels, before becoming Editor-in-Chief of The Maine Review from 2016 to 2019.

Event and Venue Information

Left Bank Books is located at 109 Church Street in Belfast. Seating for this event is limited and reservations are recommended by calling (207) 338-9009 or emailing info@leftbankbookshop.com. Ample free parking is available in front of the shop and in an adjacent city parking lot. For more information, please visit leftbankbookshop.com.

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