Clifford Garstang The Last Bird of Paradise

Friday, February 23 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Join us for an evening with Clifford Garstang, in conversation with Jay Kauffmann.

Join us for a reading with author Clifford Garstang, who will read from his new novel, The Last Bird of Paradise. A conversation with author Jay Kauffmann will follow. This in-person event will be cosponsored by WriterHouse and will be free and open to the public. We recommend arriving early for the best seating.

About the Book: Two women—a New York lawyer and an English artist—reluctantly move to Singapore during times of upheaval at home. In 2002, in the aftermath of 9/11, Aislinn Givens leaves her law firm to join her husband in Southeast Asia. While rebuilding her legal career in a venerable local firm, she encounters mysterious paintings by Elizabeth Pennington, an Englishwoman who fled to Singapore in 1914 at the onset of World War I. Through interwoven narratives, The Last Bird of Paradise explores the resentment caused by colonial and neocolonial exploitation and the resulting violence that engulfs these women and the men they love.

About the Author: Clifford Garstang is the author of the novels The Last Bird of Paradise, Oliver’s Travels, and The Shaman of Turtle Valley, as well as the short story collections House of the Ancients and Other Stories, In an Uncharted Country, and What the Zhang Boys Know, winner of the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction. A former international lawyer, he is also the editor of the anthology series Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet and the cofounder and former editor of Prime Number Magazine. He lives in Staunton, Virginia.

About the Moderator: Jay Kauffmann is a former international model, travel writer, and award-winning poet. He attended Brandeis University and the University of California, Berkeley, and holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He has taught at Randolph College, the University of Virginia, and the Miller School of Albemarle. Author of The Mexican Messiah and Other Stories (forthcoming from Cornerstone Press), he was runner-up for the 2023 Leapfrog Global Fiction Prize and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in CutBank, Hunger Mountain Review, Prime Number, The Writer’s Chronicle, upstreet, Mid-American Review, and other journals and anthologies.

The Last Bird of Paradise will be released on February 22. To order the book, please see below for the New Dominion Bookshop book order form or call the shop at 434-295-2552.

"Garstang’s sympathetic imagination transports us in the manner of my favorite kind of fiction—that which convinces the reader of setting and character not because of the author’s resemblance to the protagonist but because the author is a virtuoso shapeshifter and spell weaver."

—Robin Hemley

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