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Film Based on Leah Hager Cohen’s Novel ‘The Grief of Others’ to be Shown at Holy Cross

Author and filmmaker to discuss movie after screenings
October 2nd, 2015 by 
Leah Hager Cohen

The Working Writers Series at the College of the Holy Cross will present two screenings of the film “The Grief of Others.” The film is based on the book “The Grief of Others” (Riverhead Books, 2011) written by critically acclaimed author Leah Hager Cohen, the James N. and Sarah L. O’Rielly Barrett Professor in Creative Writing at the College. The events will take place in Seelos Theatre on Oct. 21 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Patrick Wang, who wrote and directed the film, will join Cohen after each screening to discuss the film and offer a behind the scenes perspective with the audience.

“Every time I hear Patrick speak I learn something new,” Cohen says, “not just about the film or the process of translating text into moving image and sound, but about art itself, and how it can guide our learning about our own humanity.”

The feature film chronicles the life of a family struggling with a tragic loss when an unexpected visitor arrives. The guest stirs up the pain and emotion of past betrayals but also conjures an unforseen gift: an outlet for the family to awaken from sadness. “The Grief of Others” cast includes Rachel Dratch (“Saturday Night Live”), Wendy Moniz, and Trevor St. John (“One Life to Live”). This past spring, “The Grief of Others” premiered nationally at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin, TX, and internationally at the Cannes Film Festival.

“I’m grateful to the College for supporting the work by bringing both the film and the filmmaker to campus,” Cohen says, looking forward to the events. “The post-screening discussions should be especially vibrant.”

“The Grief of Others” was long-listed for the Orange Prize; selected as a New York Times Notable Book; and touted as one of the best books of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle, Kirkus Reviews, and Globe and Mail.

Cohen has published several novels including “No Book but the World” (Riverhead Books, 2014) and “Heart, You Bully, You Punk” (Penguin Books, 2003). She has received nominations for the IMPAC Dublin International Literary Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She is also a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book review.

Director Wang’s first film, “In the Family,” was nominated for the 2012 Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and was screened at the College in 2012.

The events are also sponsored by the Barrett Chair in Creative Writing, Arts Transcending Borders, and the Seelos Film Series.

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