Goucher Virtual Authors Series: Kristina Gaddy, M.F.A. ’15 and Well of Souls: Uncovering the Banjo's Hidden History

Kristina R. Gaddy, M.F.A. ’15, author of Well of Souls: Uncovering the Banjo's Hidden History and Flowers in the Gutter: The True Story of the Edelweiss Pirates, Teenagers Who Resisted the Nazis (Dutton 2020), is a Baltimore-based writer and fiddler. Well of Souls was one of The New Yorker’s best books of 2022 and named one of 2022’s Most Memorable Music Books by No Depression: The Journal of Roots Music. In an extraordinary story unfolding across 200 years, Gaddy uncovers the banjo’s key role in Black spirituality, ritual, and rebellion. Through meticulous research in diaries, letters, archives, and art, she traces the banjo’s beginnings from the 17th century, when enslaved people of African descent created it from gourds or calabashes and wood. Gaddy shows how the enslaved carried this unique instrument as they were transported and sold by slaveowners throughout the Americas, to Suriname, the Caribbean, and the colonies that became U.S. States, including Louisiana, South Carolina, Maryland, and New York. She has received the Parsons Award from the Library of Congress, the Logan Nonfiction Fellowship, and a Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Rubys artist award. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Goucher College, and an excerpt from her master's thesis won the 2015 Julia Rogers Research Prize. This will be moderated by banjo student Ben Karp ’93.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Virtual Event
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Alumnae/i Event


Administrative, Library



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