The Washington Post

Richard Ford coming to D.C. this week

(Courtesy of Ecco. Photo credit Laura Wilson) (Courtesy of Ecco. Photo credit Laura Wilson)

I met Richard Ford almost 20 years ago at Library Ltd, a palatial independent bookstore in St. Louis. He was on a tour for “Independence Day,” the second in his novels about Frank Bascombe. That book won a Pulitzer Prize and a PEN/Faulkner Award, which no novel had ever done before, and I remember approaching him at the signing table with reverence and palpitations.

Library Ltd. is long gone — first a takeover by Borders, then you know the rest of that dismal story. But Ford, of course, has continued to publish fantastic books. His most recent one, “Canada,” was the best novel of 2012. It’s a magnificent story about the son of two inept bank robbers who get sentenced to prison, leaving their boy to fend for himself.

This week, I’m looking forward to meeting Ford for the second time, and I hope you’ll join us. On  Thursday evening, April 10, I’ll be interviewing him for the PEN/Faulkner Foundation at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, right across the street from the Folger Library.

(Courtesy of Ecco) (Courtesy of Ecco)

Ford will talk about his long career, read from “Canada” and maybe even tell us a little about his next  Bascombe book, “Let Me Be Frank With You,” a collection of four connected stories set in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. It’s scheduled for November.

Ford promises me that “nothing’s off limits.” We’ll have fun. I hope to see you there.

For tickets ($15), click here.

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.

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