This is a hybrid event, offered both in-person and virtually.
To sign up to attend virtually and watch the livestream on Crowdcast, click the "Register" button.
No registration is required to attend in person. Doors will open at 10:45 a.m. for coffee and pastries. Please enter the Community Room via the doors on Hinds Plaza. The talk will begin at 11 a.m.
Akash Kapur will be joined in conversation by Gilbert King.
About the Book:
It’s the late 1960s, and two lovers converge on an arid patch of earth in South India. John Walker is the handsome scion of a powerful East Coast American family. Diane Maes is a beautiful hippie from Belgium. They have come to build a new world — Auroville, an international utopian community for thousands of people. Their faith is strong, the future bright.
So how do John and Diane end up dying two decades later, on the same day, on a cracked concrete floor in a thatch hut by a remote canyon? This is the mystery Akash Kapur sets out to solve in "Better to Have Gone," and it carries deep personal resonance: Diane and John were the parents of Akash’s wife, Auralice. Akash and Auralice grew up in Auroville; like the rest of their community, they never really understood the deaths.
In 2004, Akash and Auralice return to Auroville from New York, where they have been living with John’s family. As they reestablish themselves in the community, along with their two sons, they must confront the ghosts of those distant deaths. Slowly, they come to understand how the tragic individual fates of John and Diane intersected with the collective history of their town.
Akash Kapur is the author of "India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India" and the editor of an anthology, "Auroville: Dream and Reality." He is the former Letter from India columnist for the international New York Times, the recipient of a Whiting Grant, and has written for various leading publications. He grew up in Auroville and returned there to live with his family after boarding school and college in America. He lives in Princeton.
Gilbert King is the writer, producer, and host of "Bone Valley," a nine-part narrative podcast about murder and injustice in 1980s central Florida, from Lava For Good podcasts. He is the author of three books, most recently, "Beneath a Ruthless Sun." His previous book, "Devil in the Grove" was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2013. A New York Times bestseller, the book was also named runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. King has written about race, civil rights and the death penalty for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. He was a 2019-2020 fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars at the New York Public Library. King’s earlier book, "The Execution of Willie Francis," was published in 2008. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.