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Olivia Wolfgang-Smith at Harvard Book Store

May 19, 2023 @ 7:00 pm


May 19, 2023
7:00 pm
Event Categories:


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States


Harvard Book Store
(617) 661-1515



in conversation with HANNA HALPERIN


Harvard Book Store welcomes OLIVIA WOLFGANG-SMITH—fiction writer whose work has appeared in SalamanderNinth Letter, and The Common—for a discussion of her debut novel Glassworks. She will be joined in conversation by HANNA HALPERIN, award-winning author of Something Wild.

A Return to In-Person Events

Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:

  • Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.

About Glassworks

In 1910, Agnes Carter makes the wrong choice in marriage. After years as an independent woman of fortune, influential with the board of a prominent university because of her financial donations, she is now subject to the whims of an abusive, spendthrift husband. But when Bohemian naturalist and glassblower Ignace Novak reignites Agnes’s passion for science, Agnes begins to imagine a different life, and she sets her mind to getting it.

Agnes’s desperate actions breed secrecy, and the resulting silence echoes into the future. Her son, Edward, wants to be a man of faith but struggles with the complexities of the mortal world while apprenticing at a stained-glass studio.

In 1986, Edward’s child, Novak-just Novak-is an acrobatic window washer cleaning Manhattan high-rises, who gets caught up in the plight of Cecily, a small town girl remade as a gender-bending Broadway ingénue.

And in 2015, Cecily’s daughter Flip-a burned-out stoner trapped in a bureaucratic job firing cremains into keepsake glass ornaments-resolves to break the cycle of inherited secrets, reaching back through the generations in search of a family legacy that feels true.

For readers of Mary Beth Keane, Min Jin Lee, and Rebecca Makkai, Glassworks is “an era-spanning, family and chosen-family following, marvel of a debut.” (CJ Hauser, author of FAMILY OF ORIGIN)

Praise for Glassworks

“Rendered in achingly gorgeous prose, Glassworks sweeps across generations, forging an engrossing portrait of a complex inheritance—a wise and inventive debut.” ―Jennine Capó Crucet, author of Make Your Home Among Strangers

“With warmth, vividness, and humor, Wolfgang-Smith examines what we inherit and what is lost to silence and shows us how people come into themselves alongside the fragile legacies they build. A dazzling new voice.” ―Cara Blue Adams, author of You Never Get It Back

“In her brilliant and expansive debut, Glassworks, Olivia Wolfgang-Smith opens a window into the lives of four individuals separated across time and bound together by blood and vocation—here, glass is science, an art, an obstacle, a means for income, and the preserver of mystery. As these characters search for purpose and reason in their specific timelines, Wolfgang-Smith guides them with an empathetic eye, allowing them to act with pure heart and gumption, and daring readers to do the same. A refreshing, queer novel packed with found families, buried secrets, and intricate imagery, Glassworks is—simply put—stunning.” ―Christopher Gonzalez, author of I’m Not Hungry But I Could Eat