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Ethan Hawke Reads Marilynne Robinson's GILEAD in Special Audio Recording

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The audio recording will be made available to the public from October 19 through October 29.

Ethan Hawke Reads Marilynne Robinson's GILEAD in Special Audio Recording

Actor-writer-director Ethan Hawke will bring Marilynne Robinson's beloved novel Gilead to life in a special audio recording that will be made available to the public from October 19 through October 29 at

The recording was commissioned and produced by the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center, which has hosted readings by many of the world's best-known novelists, poets and playwrights since 1939.

Gilead takes the form of a letter being written by an aging preacher to his young son and is an intimate tale of three generations of Iowa's Ames family, from the Civil War to the cusp of the civil rights movement. It is a story of fathers and sons and the spiritual and moral battles that still rage at America's heart. "It is a novel as big as a nation, as quiet as thought and moving as prayer. Matchless and towering," wrote Kirkus Reviews. Robinson won the Pulitzer Prize for Gilead in 2005.

The recording, comprised of five episodes which will be released on October 19 (streaming access is $25), features Hawke reading an abridgment of the novel. For him, it was a passion project, and a tribute to a favorite author: " Gilead has always been deeply moving to me. There's something about Robinson's writing-it's just who you want to be. You leave the book feeling grateful for being alive," said Hawke. "The world feels so rocky right now, it's kind of nice to have her peace-to touch it like a stone."

Hawke will take part in a virtual conversation about this and other current projects with John Lahr, who recently profiled him for The New Yorker, on Wednesday, October 21, at 4 pm ET. (Access to the conversation is included in the purchase of the recording.)

Marilynne Robinson has followed Gilead with three more novels, Home, Lila and Jack- set in the same small town and featuring the same characters, albeit from different points of view; the author has made Poetry Center appearances, including an October 13 virtual conversation about Jack, with Ayana Mathis.

Ethan Hawke is a four-time Academy Award nominated actor, filmmaker, and author, and is currently the executive producer, co-writer and star of the new Showtime mini-series The Good Lord Bird, in which he portrays the abolitionist John Brown, a character who appears in the pages of Gilead. Hawke's film acting credits include Boyhood, Training Day, Before Sunset, Dead Poets Society, Reality Bites and many others. His directing credits include Blaze and Seymour: An Introduction, among others. He is also the author of Rules For A Knight, The Hottest State, Ash Wednesday, and the graphic novel Indeh. His new novel, A Bright Ray of Darkness, comes out in February 2021.

This reading of Gilead was meant to take place before a live audience in 92Y's Kaufmann Concert Hall, following recent literary performances of Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, Toni Morrison's The Source of Self-Regard and Don DeLillo's "Pafko at the Wall"-but those plans changed with the shutdown in March.

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