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April 6, 2019 @ 5:00 pm
A sharply funny dive into writing workshops, for-profit education, and the gulf between believers and nonbelievers
With humor and empathy, The Art of Waiting author Belle Boggs plumbs the troubled waters dividing America in her debut novel, The Gulf. Marianne is in a slump: barely able to support herself teaching, not making progress on her poetry, about to lose her Brooklyn apartment. When her novelist ex-fiancé, Eric, and his venture capitalist brother, Mark, offer her a job directing a low-residency school for Christian writers at a motel they’ve inherited on Florida’s Gulf Coast, she can’t come up with a reason to say no.
The Genesis Inspirational Writing Ranch is born, and liberal, atheist Marianne is soon swimming in applications from writers whose beliefs she has always opposed, but whose money she’s glad to take. Mark eventually finds an investor in God’s Word God’s World, a business that develops for-profit schools for the Christian market, but their involvement becomes increasingly problematic. As unsavory allegations mount and with a hurricane bearing down on the ranch, Marianne must face the consequences of her decisions.
About the Author:
Belle Boggs is the author of The Art of Waiting and Mattaponi Queen. Her stories and essays have appeared in the Paris Review, Harper’s Magazine, Slate, and elsewhere. She teaches in the MFA program at North Carolina State University.
Advance Praise for The Gulf
“I love a misguided entrepreneurial scheme and The Gulf starts with one of the best! Add to that a vividly drawn group of literary hopefuls and a spiritual conspiracy and what started out feeling like a farce turns into a deliciously sharp commentary on the stories we tell ourselves.”—Jade Chang
“Wit and humor abound in The Gulf, and so do great wisdom and compassion. With her wonderful short stories and essays, Belle Boggs has established herself as both a stellar writer of fiction and a brilliant voice on important issues within our society; in this fine novel, her many talents come together, delivering a community of memorable characters and a compelling story as suspenseful in its emotional twists and turns as the approaching hurricane.”—Jill McCorkle
“Belle Boggs puts her keen eye on the writing workshop as a kind of lab for examining differing parts of America, and the result is a wildly engaging exploration of characters finding their way through connection, and through language.” —Aimee Bender