Mayor's Book Club

This was originally published several months ago, so it may be out of date.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Contact: Kanya Lyons, 512-974-7379

Mayor's Book Club

"A Friend of Mr. Lincoln" by Stephen Harrigan

In collaboration with the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation and the City of Austin Mayor's Office, we invite all of Austin to join us for Mayor's Book Club 2016, featuring the latest novel from local author Stephen Harrigan, A Friend of Mr. Lincoln

In the midst of a unique and tumultuous presidential election year, we thought it fitting to look back and examine the rise of one of America's most honored leaders. Whether or not historical fiction is a staple in your home library, you're sure to find this novel compelling for its rich and well-drawn characters and its distinct depiction of Abraham Lincoln, one that's both convincing and surprising. 

We invite you to check out a copy of A Friend of Mr. Lincoln, read with us, and check out our exciting series of educational events exploring the novel from various points of view – from that of the writer, the reader, the fictional characters, and from a broader historical perspective.

About the Book 

A Friend of Mr. Lincoln, offers a galvanizing portrait of Abraham Lincoln during his Springfield years, when he risked both his sanity and his ethical bearings in search of the great destiny he believed to be his. 

Set in Illinois in the 1830s and 1840s, we find Abraham Lincoln as a circuit-riding lawyer, a member of the state legislature, and a man of almost ungovernable ambition. To his friends, he is also a beloved figure, by turns charmingly awkward and mesmerizingly self-possessed—a man of whom they, too, expect big things. It is through Lincoln’s friend, a fictional poet, Cage Weatherby, that we will come to know Lincoln in his twenties and thirties, as a series of formative, surprising incidents unfolds—his service in the Black Hawk War, his participation in a poetry-writing society, and a challenge to a duel that begins as a farce but quickly rises to lethal potential. 

Cage both admires and clashes with Lincoln, sometimes questioning his legal ethics and his cautious stance on slavery. But he is by Lincoln’s side as Lincoln slips back and forth between high spirits and soul-hollowing sadness and depression, and as he recovers from a disastrous courtship of one woman to marry the beautiful, capricious, politically savvy Mary Todd. It is Mary who will bring stability to Lincoln’s life, but who will also trigger a conflict that sends the two men on very different paths. 

About the Author 

Stephen Harrigan is a Faculty Fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas and a founding member of the Texas Book Festival. His books include The Gates of the Alamo, Jacob's Well, Comanche Midnight, and Remember Ben Clayton. He is a longtime contributor to Texas Monthly, and his articles and essays have appeared in a wide range of other publications as well. Harrigan is also an award-winning screenwriter who has written many movies for television. The Eye of the Mammoth, a career-spanning collection of his essays, was published in 2013 by the University of Texas Press. 

About the Mayor's Book Club 

The Mayor’s Book Club is an annual citywide reading campaign to develop a community experience through reading and discussion of shared books. Additionally, the program’s goal is to broaden and deepen an appreciation of literature in the Austin community, to increase the visibility of the Austin Public Library, and to promote its value to the entire community.