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  • Writer's pictureMax Sinsheimer

SOLD! Legends of the Common Stream (by John Hanson Mitchell)

(Photo credit: Gordon Morrison)

John is a naturalist best known for his Scratch Flat Chronicles, books that are meditations on a one acre tract of land near his home just West of Boston. Legends of the Common Stream is part of his Chronicles, and closely observes Beaver Brook from an isolated stream bank where John has spent his mornings for more than 25 years.

Legends is an account of the natural science of the plants and animals of the stream and its floodplain, but also weaves in the stories and origins of the associated folktales and myths. Tales of this sort are a human phenomenon, and so Legends is also an account of cultural groups and individuals who were involved with the brook. Prime among these is Henry Thoreau; Beaver Brook is located in Thoreau Country, and Henry often visited here. In the 1660s and 70s a Christianized Pawtucket Indian named Tom Doublet lived in a wickiup next to the brook. In the early eighteenth century, an African slave named Mingo was owned by a family whose farm bordered the stream. (Interesting fact: some Puritans had slaves.) Doublet and Mingo, and the Puritan English settlers, all had their own tales and theories about seasonal events and plants and animals.

John's editor, Brian Halley, will not be far; Legends will be published next year by Bright Leaf, the trade imprint of University of Massachusetts Press. Here is the Publisher's Marketplace deal memo:

(You'll see this is the publishing equivalent of a #latergram... I actually sold John's book in late January but have been slow to update my website!)

Congrats to John and Brian!

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