Colby-Sawyer College will host this season’s Local Arts Forum, featuring presentations in April by Spring Ledge Farm owner Greg Berger and award-winning novelist and Professor of English at Dartmouth College Ernest Hebert.
The forum will begin on Thursday, April 4, when Greg will share images of New London’s Spring Ledge Farm and discuss sustainability and local food resilience. The presentation will take place at 4 PM in the Archives Reading Room at the Susan Colgate Cleveland Library/Learning Center.
Ernest will continue the forum on Thursday, April 18, with a discussion of his work, also at 4 PM in the Archives Reading Room. Admission to both events is free.
Greg started working at Spring Ledge Farm during his sophomore year of high school. He returned in 2005 with a degree in plant science from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and purchased the farm from its original owners, John and Sue Clough.
A year-round enterprise, Spring Ledge Farm comprises over 60 acres and 13 greenhouses devoted to the farm’s selection of fresh, seasonal produce; ornamental plants; and 230 varieties of cut-your-own flowers. The New Hampshire Department of Agriculture has recognized Spring Ledge as a Farm of Distinction, an honor given to farms that do an outstanding job of appealing to the non-farm public.
Ernest will discuss his most recent work, Never Back Down. Part fiction and part autobiography, the book explores what might have been Hebert’s life had he never attended college through the story of Jack Landry, a Keene resident struggling with the rift between his grandiose ambitions and his working class, rural reality.
Ernest describes fiction writing as a method to recycle reality: “It’s like a long lie you tell a psychiatrist. It’s a hideout for truth. It’s beauty. It’s bullticky. It’s everything you can feel, compressed into words. It’s the music an elephant experiences in the soles of his feet that tells him there’s an earthquake a thousand miles away.”
Hebert is most widely known for his five-novel Darby series that depicts changes that the fictional town of Darby, New Hampshire, undergoes during the course of 25 years. A New Hampshire native, he has pioneered the genre he refers to as Hick Lit.
“I love working people,” he explains. “The guys who collect garbage, the women who take care of old people in nursing homes, the wait people, the ditch diggers and lumber jacks and fishers, the taxi drivers and maids – they’re the backbone of America.”
The Local Arts Forum (formerly Books Sandwiched In) is sponsored by the Friends of the Library, a community group that supports Colby-Sawyer College and its students through purchasing select books for the college’s Susan Colgate Cleveland Library and supporting a range of literary events and programs at the college.