Kingdom Under Glass, a nonfiction narrative by 2005 Pew Fellow Jay Kirk, is available today! He will lecture and sign books at the Academy of Natural Sciences tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. A book party will immediately follow at the Rose Tattoo (19th and Callowhill Streets, Philadelphia).
From an interview with Jay Kirk on the Macmillan Web site:
What led you to tell the story of Carl Akeley?I first ran across the name Carl Akeley while working on a story for Harper's. It was a piece about all of these inexplicable sightings of mountain lions in the eastern United States. The thing is, the eastern mountain lion (aka cougar, puma) has been extinct since 1888, and yet there were, and still are, more cougar sightings than Elvis sightings. It was the first story I wrote that got me into the whole natural-history thing, however paranormally tinged, but I realized that, for me, here was the really essential story about America that's never gone away, and it's never going away because it's part of our collective national DNA, and that's our relationship with the wilderness. So in addition to spending a lot of time roaming mountainsides in Appalachia with game wardens and amateur cougar experts, I was reading a lot of history about how we had wiped out the cougar, along with just about everything else, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and somewhere in there, I read something in passing about this "famous taxidermist" who had once "Strangled a Leopard with His Bare Hands." It was just a moment of research serendipity. I can honestly say that my first thought was: I want to write a book about this guy.
Lecture, book signing
Academy of Natural Sciences
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Buy the book and listen to Jay Kirk talk about writing Kingdom Under Glass >
Read an excerpt >
Meet the 12 artists who received a 2010 Pew Fellowship >