The Book of Dirt: Bram Presser and Stefan Merril Block (PRINCE STREET)

Winner, National Jewish Book Awards, Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction, United States, 2018
Winner, Voss Literary Prize, 2018
Winner, NSW Premier's Literary Awards: Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, 2018
Winner, NSW Premier's Literary Awards: UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing, 2018
Winner, NSW Premier's Literary Awards: The People's Choice Award, 2018
Longlisted, Nib Waverley Library Award, 2018

"A remarkable tale of Holocaust survival, love and genealogical sleuthing."―Books + Publishing

"Lyrical, impassioned and culturally rich."―Saturday Paper

"As in Sebald's prose narratives, Presser's novel inhabits and the dynamic region between fiction and non-fiction."―Australian Book Review

"A heartfelt and original attempt to bridge the ever-growing gaps between history, memory and silence."―The Australian

This novel was written as a tribute to the author's grandparents:

All we knew was silence. My maternal grandparents never spoke of their wartime experiences. We built myths around them: he was a teacher in the camps, keeping the children busy until it was their turn to be killed; she was capable of lifting the railway sleepers used to build the tracks that brought her fellow Jews to their deaths. It was enough. We knew not to ask. When they died only a month apart, their stories went with them, entering unchallenged into the family canon. Then came the cracks. A newspaper article purporting to be based on an interview with him. Photographs of her on the arm of a mysterious man. Emails from an octogenarian Englishman claiming to have been his pupil. A bundle of letters hidden in a shoebox at the back of her sister's musty closet. Everything we thought we knew was wrong.

Bram Presser reimagines his family's experiences from these fragments, creating a powerful novel about memory, history, and identity.

Bram Presser was born in Melbourne in 1976. His stories have appeared in Best Australian Stories, Award Winning Australian Writing, The Sleepers Almanac and Higher Arc.

Stefan Merrill Block grew up in Plano, Texas. His first book, The Story of Forgetting, was an international bestseller and the winner of Best First Fiction at the Rome International Festival of Literature. Stefan’s stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR’s Radiolab, GRANTA, The Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. Stefan lives in Brooklyn. His most recent novel, Oliver Loving, is a finalist for the 2019 Premio von Rezzori and is being developed for television by Participant Media.


Event date: 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

52 Prince St
New York, NY 10012
The Book of Dirt Cover Image
ISBN: 9781925240269
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to Ship to Your Home
Published: Text Publishing Company - September 11th, 2018