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Brunch with Bromfield

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Brunch with Bromfield

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Join author Stephen Heyman and Ohioana's David Weaver for a brunchtime discussion/q&a in celebration of the 125th anniversary of Louis Bromfield's birth.

Louis Bromfield was a World War I ambulance driver, a Paris expat, and a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist as famous in the 1920s as Hemingway or Fitzgerald. But he cashed in his literary success to finance a wild agrarian dream in his native Ohio. The ideas he planted at his utopian experimental farm, Malabar, would inspire America’s first generation of organic farmers and popularize the tenets of environmentalism years before Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

A lanky Midwestern farm boy dressed up like a Left Bank bohemian, Bromfield stood out in literary Paris for his lavish hospitality and his green thumb. He built a magnificent garden outside the city where he entertained aristocrats, movie stars, flower breeders, and writers of all stripes. Gertrude Stein enjoyed his food, Edith Wharton admired his roses, Ernest Hemingway boiled with jealousy over his critical acclaim. Millions savored his novels, which were turned into Broadway plays and Hollywood blockbusters, yet Bromfield’s greatest passion was the soil.

In 1938, Bromfield returned to Ohio to transform 600 badly eroded acres into a thriving cooperative farm, which became a mecca for agricultural pioneers and a country retreat for celebrities like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall (who were married there in 1945).

Stephen Heyman's sweeping biography, THE PLANTER OF MODERN LIFE, a 2021 Ohioana Book Award finalist, unearths a lost icon of American culture. While Bromfield’s name has faded into obscurity, his mission seems more critical today than ever before.

Stephen Heyman has written for the NEW YORK TIMES, SLATE, VOGUE, and many other publications. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Leon Levy Center for Biography and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He lives in Pittsburgh

Buy THE PLANTER OF MODERN LIFE: https://www.bookloft.com/book/9780393868463

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