THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Benjamin Franklin House in London, the last remaining Franklin home in the world, is launching a digital book club to help more people learn about Franklin's life and work.
The book club will take place on Zoom, and will be free for participants, although donations will be encouraged to support the work of the House. The books which each Zoom session includes will also be available to purchase from the Benjamin Franklin House website.
Explaining the idea behind the book club, Dr Márcia Balisciano, Director of Benjamin Franklin House, said that despite Benjamin Franklin "being the essential American Founder and key architect of the 'special relationship' between the US and the UK", he was also an "inventor and early-adopter of technology". The digital book club is the organization's innovative response to the coronavirus pandemic, with the innovative spirit of Franklin as its inspiration.
Dr Balisciano went on to say that though the book club, the House "will bring authors and their ideas to a potentially global audience. The pandemic hasn't been easy for us; though we have reopened weekends to limited numbers, we have lost income from our normal stream of visitors who purchase tickets, buy items in our shop, and make discretionary donations during their time in the House. But with offerings like the Digital Book Club we will advance our mission to bring history and innovation to life."
The book club sessions will involve a 30 minute discussion with an expert, followed by a 30 minute Q&A in which audience members can ask questions.
The first session takes place on Wednesday September 16, from 5pm to 6pm BST, and will involve a discussion with Dr George Boudreau, a cultural historian of early Anglo-American history who will discuss Franklin's autobiography. There are two more sessions confirmed. On Wednesday 28 October, author Wendy Moore will discuss her book The Knife Man, a biography of anatomist John Hunter, who was a fellow resident of 36 Craven Street with Franklin. On Wednesday 11 November, Dr Amanda Foreman will discuss her book A World on Fire, which examines the American Civil War and the role of Britain and its citizens in the conflict.
For details on the Book Club, how to register, and other events hosted by Benjamin Franklin House, go to benjaminfranklinhouse.org/events. The House is now also open to the public in line with Government Covid-19 Guidelines, so do pay a visit if you can.