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

One Book, One New Paltz committee members Linda Welles and Myra Sorin with this year’s selection, Egg-Hag by Margaret Atwood. (By Lauren Thomas)

A local tradition since 2005, One Book/One New Paltz is returning this November, and here’s your heads up on this year’s select reading group if you’re interested in participating. “We didn’t do it last year, so we lost the opportunity,” said OB/ONP committee member Linda Welles. “And last year it was really virtual.”

Like many cultural organizations that are trying to maintain services and activities during the pandemic, this group of volunteers – working under the collaboration of the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz and the Elting Memorial Library – have picked up some new technology. tools that will continue to be useful in the future. One Book 2022 will use a combination of films streamed through Kanopy, live meetings and virtual discussions; Some of the events are hybrid. This means that a large number of people can participate, including people who are at home or far away during OB/ONP week (November 13 to 19) to attend in person.

Selecting the book of the year is a complex process, with committee members actively selecting favorite authors or works; but there are some agreed guidelines, including a page limit. Organizers want to have the opportunity to read Book One after receiving a copy. Inquiring Minds bookstore in New Paltz should have a good supply on hand, and offer a 15 percent discount; Barner Books, a former partner, is now the only library that uses books. The Elting Library downtown and the Sojourner Truth Library on campus will have some copies, but according to committee member Myra Sorin, your best bet is interlibrary loan, which is ” too fast.”

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For this year’s prize, the committee would like to choose a title from the Hogarth Shakespeare novel: a project launched by Hogarth Press (which is the imprint of Penguin Random House) to commission famous authors to retells the Bard’s plays as a story in modern ways. Along with A Girl’s Story much in the public eye these days due to the overthrow of the US Supreme Court Roe v. Wadethe choice is right Egg-Hag (2016), Margaret Atwood’s reimagining of The hurricane. Much of the play’s action takes place in a men’s correctional facility, which is a perfect fit for New Paltz readers: As Welles says, “There are more prisons in this place is more than usual.”

It is widely considered to be Shakespeare’s retirement from playwriting. The hurricane it tells the story of a duke named Prospero who is freed in a coup (also a political theme) and exiled to a desert island with his three-year-old daughter Miranda. The story picks up 12 years later, when Prospero – who is a powerful sorcerer – sees his enemies approaching and summons a storm to destroy their ship. his island. A love that develops between Miranda and the son of one of her rivals involves Prospero from his first quest for revenge. There are magical creatures and magical creatures as well: the sprite Ariel and the “hag-seed” monster Caliban, both of whom are kept in servitude until their works mature. banished duke.

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Although Atwood’s most famous works are dystopian novels. Egg-Hag It’s set in Canada right now and there are really fewer surprises than the game that inspired it. The protagonist, Felix, a theater manager who has been fired by his colleagues, talks to his dead daughter, also named Miranda, but she is more of an imaginary friend than a spirit. Frustrated and humiliated, Felix lies low in a prison, teaching English classes to inmates under an assumed name and dreaming of revenge against the officers who stole his business. and the stars are rising, business and politics.

The Shakespeare course of the first director, where the actors can transform the high language of the Bard into the vernacular street, create plays and record them on video, becomes the basis successfully pretending to be in prison so that Felix’s old enemies don’t know who he is. in fact, decide to visit an official tour – thus giving a chance to find them at his mercy. “He uses the play in prison to get revenge on these two men who ruined his life,” Welles explains. “But the story is more about how to put on Shakespeare’s plays about the prisoners, and the relationships between the prisoners.”

Part of the OB/ONP program this year is a selection of film versions of The hurricane, or the films inspired by it, some of which can be viewed through Kanopy and others on DVDs that can be borrowed from the two participating libraries. (You need a Mid-Hudson Library System card to get them from Elting or SUNY New Paltz direct loan to get them through Sojourner Truth.) Two of the films will have live screenings, followed by simple group discussions: Julie Taymor’s 2010 opus uglywith Helen Mirren and Prospera, a Shakespeare Behind Bars (2005) is a document about a real work of The hurricane performed by inmates at the Luther Luckett Correctional Facility in Louisville, Kentucky. The other two films shown at OB/ONP are Paul Mazursky’s ugly (1982) and Derek Jarman The hurricane (1979).

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Book One Week begins with its Community Book Discussion and Brunch hosted by Bill Strongin, rabbi emeritus of the Jewish Community of New Paltz. Other events are scheduled with the Academic Panel, this year featuring SUNY New Paltz professors Cyrus Mulready (English), Jerry Persaud (Digital Media & Journalism, Latin & Caribbean Studies) and Anne Rochelle (Sociology) . “The Academic Panel is my favorite part of the book, with people coming from different disciplines discussing the book through a lens unique to their school,” Welles said.

Other intellectual exhibitions include that of Aimé Césaire It’s a storm, a change that makes Caliban the protagonist and classifies the novel as a meditation on colonialism; a discussion entitled “Games in prisons / prisons in games;” and one that provides an overview of the transformation of The hurricane throughout the centuries, with contemporary influences on children and youth.

To see the full schedule, including locations for live events and links to participate in Zoom discussions or download movies, visit

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