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Chad Harbach

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Literary young man Chad Harbach (a founding editor of Brooklyn lit-mag n+1) has hit a home-run with his first novel, The Art of Fielding. Ostensibly about an unlikely baseball star in a liberal arts college, this big American novel is also about male friendship and team spirit, written in the intelligent, addictive prose style of Jonathan Franzen and Dave Eggers. The Art of Fielding is a book about baseball in the same way that Moby Dick (Harbach’s inspiration) is a book about a whale – absolutely and not at all.

Joining us at the Comedy Theatre for our 10 series, Harbach spoke with the Wheeler Centre’s Associate Director Jenny Niven about literature’s relationship with baseball, the ‘terrifying’ experience of attending Harvard as a expatriate of the Midwest (and how Fielding’s Henry mirrors this feeling); the origin and logic of many of the book’s characters (self-possessed Owen, Pella’s ‘desire for desire’), the [‘male-centric world’](\40m51s) of the book, Harbach’s self-doubt as a writer and the satisfaction of editing. Answering the last question from the audience, Harbach reveals the process of the debut novel as one imbued with fear, faith and determination.

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