A New York Times best seller inspired by the true story of a mysterious and ancient volume known as the Sarajevo Haggadah, People of the Book is a sweeping adventure through five centuries of history. From its creation in Muslim-ruled, medieval Spain, the illuminated manuscript makes a series of perilous journeys through Inquisition-era Venice, turn-of-the-century Vienna and the Nazi sacking of Sarajevo.
In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed manuscript, which has been rescued once again from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with figurative paintings. When Hanna discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding - an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, and a white hair - she is determined to unlock the book’s mysteries. As she seeks the counsel of scientists and specialists, the reader is ushered into a detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book’s journey from its creation to its salvation.
People of the Book is filled with unforgettable voices from the past, but it is Hanna’s edgy, contemporary voice that makes the novel a compulsively readable adventure story that transcends the usual boundaries of historical fiction.
A native Australian, Brooks attended Bethlehem College and the University of Sydney. Following graduation, she was a rookie reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald with a special interest in environmental issues. Brooks moved to the United States after winning a Greg Shackleton Memorial Scholarship, completing a master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University in 1983. The following year, she married American journalist Tony Horwitz and converted to Judaism. As a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, she covered crises in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. In 1990 she and Horowitz received the Overseas Press Club’s Hal Boyle Award for Best Newspaper or Wire Service Reporting from Abroad for their coverage of the Persian Gulf. In 2006 she was awarded a fellowship to Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Brooks is the author of Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, March, Year of Wonders and the nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. She was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her novel March.
Thursday, March 22 • 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 22 • 7 p.m. • All Saints Church, Sanctuary • 132 N. Euclid Ave.Ms. Brooks joined Jan Sanders, Pasadena Public Library Director, in conversationas they discussed her experiences writing People of the Book. This was followed by a question and answer session from the audience.
Watch the video of the event.