Grubbie Debut: Mark Cecil, author of Bunyan and Henry or, The Beautiful Destiny, in conversation with Steve Almond

Porter Square Books: Boston Edition and GrubStreet are delighted to present the latest installment of the Grubbie Debut event series, featuring debut author Mark Cecil! Join us for a celebration of his novel Bunyan and Henry or, The Beautiful Destiny on Tuesday, April 30 at Porter Square Books: Boston Edition (50 Liberty Dr. Boston, Ma 02210). Author Steve Almond will join Cecil in conversation, and the author talk will be followed by a signing line.

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This event is co-presented by GrubStreet and Porter Square Books



A large-hearted reimagining of beloved all-American legends, this epic debut novel brings men of myth Paul Bunyan and John Henry alive like never before, teaming up for an adventure quest with deeper interrogations of race, class, and industrialization.

Paul Bunyan—legendary larger-than-life American lumberjack—is a man down on his luck. With a load of family debts on his broad back, he ekes out a miserable miner’s life in Lump Town, a bleak hamlet controlled by famed industrialist El Boffo. When Bunyan's wife Lucette falls ill with a disease caused by the toxic mineral Lump, he embarks on a quest to save her. His only guide: the Chilali—a mysterious creature who speaks only in questions.

Bunyan’s path leads to The Windy City—and to John Henry. Henry is not yet the “steel-drivin’” man known to folklore, but a fugitive on the run from a rigged, racist prison system. As Bunyan and Henry strive to reunite with the families they love, they must work together to solve riddles, forge weapons, brawl with a behemoth, and confront at every turn the relentless, duplicitous El Boffo.

A richly imaginative reinvention of myth, Bunyan and Henry is at once a timeless quest, a fresh origin story, and an urgent modern fable that wrestles with the two sides of the American dream—its wild idealism and cruel underbelly—to inspire the awakening of the folk hero in us all.

Mark Cecil is an author, journalist and host of The Thoughtful Bro show, for which he conducts author interviews with an eclectic roster of award winning and bestselling writers. He has written for The Millions, Reuters and Embark Literary Journal, among other publications. He is Head of Strategy for A Mighty Blaze and he has taught writing at GrubStreet and The Writers Loft. His debut novel Bunyan and Henry or, The Beautiful Destiny is forthcoming in spring 2024 from Pantheon Books.

Steve Almond is the author of a dozen books, including the NYT bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His new book, Truth Is the Arrow, Mercy Is the Bow, is about craft, inspiration, and how to overcome the anxieties and inhibitions that keep us from doing our deepest work at the keyboard.


Celebrating over 25 years as the nation's leading and largest independent center for creative writing, GrubStreet is the place where writers develop their craft – and themselves – through the power of writing and sharing their work. GrubStreet offers hundreds of creative writing programs and events for writers from all backgrounds and ages at its Center for Creative Writing in the Seaport, in many Boston neighborhoods, and online. Scholarships are available for all offerings, and many programs are free. At its center, GrubStreet also hosts a community lounge, a podcast studio, Porter Square Books: Boston Edition, and a Writers’ Stage. Learn more at

Event date: 

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

Porter Square Books: Boston Edition
50 Liberty Dr.
Boston, MA 02210

RSVP Form: 

RSVP to attend our event with Mark Cecil!

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Bunyan and Henry; Or, the Beautiful Destiny: A Novel By Mark Cecil Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593471166
Availability: In Stock: Click Title to See if it's in CAMBRIDGE or BOSTON
Published: Pantheon - March 26th, 2024


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