Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award of 1923
Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 6:00 pm
Hybrid: Boston Public Library's Rabb Hall and Virtually on Zoom
Join us for the liveliest book debate in Boston! The Hundred Year Retroactive Book Award of 1923 will be held on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 6:00 pm in Boston Public Library's Rabb Hall. This free hybrid event will debate the enduring literary merits of three bestsellers published in 1923. This year’s contenders are Felix Salten's Bambi, a Life in the Woods; Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet; and Agatha Christie's Murder on the Links. The books will be championed by Harvard professor Maria Tatar, historian Paul Wright, and mystery writer Julie Hennrikus, respectively. Boston DJ Kennedy Elsey will moderate the lighthearted debate, after which the audience will vote to determine the winner of the Retroactive Book Award of 1923.
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Meet the presenters
Maria Tatar will defend Felix Salten’s Bambi, a Life in the Woods. She is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and Chair of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University. Her expertise lies in children's literature, German literature, and folklore. Recent work includes The Heroine with 1,001 Faces and The Annotated Peter Pan, which commemorates 100 years of J.M. Barrie's novel Peter and Wendy. She has also written books about Weimar Culture, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and childhood reading. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, she has written for the New York Times, the New Republic, and the Harvard Crimson. Her work has been featured on the Today Show and in Harvard Magazine.
Felix Salten’s Bambi, a Life in the Woods
Written by Austrian author and literary critic, Felix Salten, Bambi is one of the first novels dealing with humanity’s impact on the environment. Salten’s book is filled with a menagerie of woodland creatures who talk and have distinct personalities as they star in a tale about loss, love, and responsibility. The book would later be immortalized as an animated Disney film, which is still avidly watched by children today.
Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
Lebanese-American writer, poet Kahlil Gibran weaves 26 fables about the human condition in The Prophet. One of the most translated books in the world, The Prophet, is told from the perspective of Al Mustapha, a prophet who is journeying home. Each chapter represents a conversation with a person the prophet happens upon during his travels and delves into all-encompassing themes such as love, death, joy, sorrow, good, and evil.
Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Links
Meet the moderator
Previous Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Awards
The Associates of the Boston Public Library's Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award is now in its twenty-fourth year.