Mary Rakow will read from her short novel, This Is Why I Came. The story unfolds as a woman sits in prayerful meditation, waiting to offer her first confession in more than thirty years. She holds a handmade Bible on her lap that she has written anew, for herself; each story told aslant, from Jonah to Jesus, Moses to Mary Magdalen. Bernadette’s Bible traces a line where belief and disbelief touch, the line that has been her home. Mary Rakow is the author of The Memory Room, which was shortlisted for the Stanford University Libraries International Saroyan Prize in Literature, and a PEN USA/West Finalist in Fiction. She holds a Masters from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from Boston College. She lives in San Francisco where she is a freelance editor.
"(Rakow) portrays religion not as refuge, as gift, but as an arena of mistakes, passion and error, delusion—the profoundly disruptive encounter with God. An inflammatory, Blakean tour de force."