opening her grief wounds and bringing readers inside her journey

Author Melanie Brooks to speak in Belfast about ‘A Hard Silence: One Daughter Remaps Family, Grief, and Faith’

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BELFAST — Left Bank Books, in downtown Belfast, invites the public to a talk and book signing by Melanie Brooks, author of the just-released memoir A Hard Silence: One Daughter Remaps Family, Grief, and Faith When HIV/AIDS Changes it All, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m., at the bookshop.

Brooks’s earlier memoir, Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Trauma, was a compilation of interviews she conducted with writers — including Mark Doty, Abigail Thomas, Richard Blanco, Andre Dubus III and many others — about how they turned personal tragedies into compelling stories.

A Hard Silence is an intimate glimpse into Brooks’s memories of coping with the tragedy of her father’s death from having received contaminated blood in 1985 during open-heart surgery. At that time, public perception of HIV/AIDS was widely misunderstood and shaped by fear, prejudice, and homophobia. Afraid of this stigma and wanting to protect his family, Brooks’s father, a renowned Canadian surgeon, decided to keep his illness a secret — a secret they’d all have to keep for the ten years before his death, when Brooks was twenty-three. Living in the shadow of AIDS for a decade, Brooks carried the weight of the uncertain trajectory of her father’s health and the heartbreaking anticipation of impending loss silently and alone. It became a way of life.

With candor and vulnerability, Brooks opens her grief wounds and brings readers inside her journey, twenty years after her father died, to finally understand the consequences of her family’s silence. Brooks writes that “Living with that secret during the formative years of my life shaped my sense of self, worldview, faith, and family.”

Brooks teaches professional writing at Northeastern University, narrative medicine in the MFA program at Bay Path University in Massachusetts, and creative writing at Nashua Community College in New Hampshire. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Stonecoast writing program at the University of Southern Maine. Her work has been published in the HuffPost, Yankee Magazine, the Washington Post, Ms. Magazine, and other notable publications. Though her Canadian roots run deep, she lives in New Hampshire with her husband, two children (when they are home from college), and two Labs.

A Hard Silence will be released September 12. Contact Left Bank Books to reserve a copy in advance.

Reservations for this free event are strongly recommended, according to Left Bank, in a news release. Reservations can be made by calling the shop (207.338.9009) or emailing:

Ample free parking is available in front of the shop and in an adjacent public parking lot.

Event Date: 

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 7:00pm

Event Location: 

Left Bank Books


Left Bank Books
Belfast, ME 04915
United States