Brad Kessler.jpeg

Brad Kessler.

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BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) presents a book reading by Vermont author Brad Kessler followed by a discussion about refugees on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Kessler will read from “North,” his new novel about the intertwined lives of a Vermont monk, a Somali refugee, and an Afghan war veteran. The reading will be followed by a panel discussion with Kessler, Laurie Stavrand of USCRI Vermont (Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program), and a Vermonter with a refugee background. Copies of “North” will be available for purchase at the event.

Registration for this free, in-person event is optional but encouraged. To register, visit Face coverings are required inside the museum.

“North” follows the journey of Sahro Abdi Muse from her home in Somalia to South America, along the migrant route through Central America and Mexico, to New York City, and finally, on her dangerous attempt to continue north to safety in Canada. The book also traces the inner journeys of Brother Christopher, a cloistered monk at Blue Mountain Monastery in Vermont, and Afghan war veteran Teddy Fletcher. These three lives are “woven together with intricate threads of home, flight, sanctuary, danger, hope, faith, storytelling and much more,” according to a review in Shelf Awareness.

“I’m excited to talk about this book with fellow Vermonters, many of whom, like myself, arrived in the state from elsewhere, in search of their own sanctuary,” Kessler said. “What does that mean for others in the world who are seeking the most basic sanctuary: asylum from persecution and climate change?”

USCRI Vermont has received approval from the U.S. Department of State to welcome up to 100 Afghan refugees to Vermont, beginning in October. In addition, the Ethiopian Community Development Council recently proposed Brattleboro as a new refugee resettlement site, and the organization has hired Joe Wiah, a former housing case manager for Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA), to direct the Multicultural Community Center it plans to establish in Brattleboro.

“Given these important developments, this event is especially timely and relevant,” BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld said. “We look forward to a lively and productive conversation.”

BMAC is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Allen Bros. Oil, Brattleboro Savings & Loan, C&S Wholesale Grocers, the Four Columns Inn, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, and Whetstone Station Restaurant & Brewery.