Author Talk With Melanie BrooksTuesday November 7, 2023
6:00 PM until 7:00 PM
Melanie Brooks visits the Adams Center for a reading and discussion of her new memoir, "A Hard Silence." Brooks recounts her experience during Canada’s worst public health disaster. Mismanagement of the country’s blood supply contaminated plasma to be knowingly distributed nationwide, infecting close to 2,000 Canadians with HIV, with Brooks’s surgeon father among them, after he received a blood transfusion during open-heart surgery in 1985.
At a time when HIV/AIDS was misunderstood and public perception was shaped by fear, prejudice, and homophobia, victims faced ostracism and persecution. Afraid of such stigma, Brooks’s father and their family kept his disease a secret. They did not know that her father would live past that first year, but he did. From the time she was 13 until she was 23, Brooks’s family lived in the shadow of AIDS. She carried the weight of uncertain trajectory and her father’s health and heartbreaking anticipation of impending loss silently and alone, as it had become apart of her way of life.
“A Hard Silence” is an intimate glimpse into Brooks’s memories of coping with the tragedy of her father’s illness and enduring the loneliness and isolation of not being able to speak. With candor and honestly, Brooks opens her wounds and brings her reader inside her journey, twenty years after her father died, to finally understand the consequences of her family’s silence, to interrogate the roots of stigma and discrimination responsible for the ongoing secret-keeping, and to show how she’s learned to be authentic.
Brooks teaches creative nonfiction in the MFL program at Bay Path University and professional writing at Northeastern University. She presently lives in Nashua, New Hampshire and is also the author of “Writing Hard Stories,” a book released in 2017.
Copies of “A Hard Silence” will be on sale for purchase following the author talk.
Location: Adams Center
to go to the Kingston Public Library