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JULY 25 ONE BOOK, ONE ND featuring Michael Patrick F. Smith

A vivid window into the world of working class men set during the Bakken fracking boom in North Dakota.

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Michael Patrick F. Smith Michael Patrick F. Smith is a folksinger and playwright currently based in central Kentucky. His plays, including Woody Guthrie Dreams and Ain’t No Sin, have been staged in Baltimore and New York. As a musician, he has shared the stage with folk luminaries such as Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, as well as several prominent indie rock bands. Smith has also worked as a stage actor, a bartender, junk hauler, furniture mover, book store clerk, contractor, receptionist, event producer, driver, office temp, stage hand, waiter, security guard, set fabricator, legal assistant, grocer, oil field hand, and now writer. THE GOOD HAND is his first book.

THE GOOD HAND is a saga of fear, danger, exhaustion, suffering, loneliness, and grit that explores the struggles of America’s marginalized boomtown workers—the rough-hewn, castoff, seemingly disposable men who do an indispensable job that few would exalt: oil field hands who, in the age of climate change, put the gas in our tanks and the food in our homes. Smith, who had pursued theater and played guitar in New York, observes this world with a critical eye; yet he comes to love his coworkers, forming close bonds with Huck, a goofy giant of a young man whose lead foot and quick fists get him into trouble with the law, and The Wildebeest, a foul-mouthed, dip-spitting truck driver who torments him but also trains him up, and helps Smith “make a hand.”

Smith brings musicality, sharp dialogue, and meticulous characterization to THE GOOD HAND and writes with great heart, humor, and the broken-in details of lived experience, providing a vivid window into the world of working-class men during the Bakken fracking boom in North Dakota. While ultimately this is a book about the value of hard work, male bonding, father-son relationships, and the boomtown mentality, it is also a book, as proven by the example of Michael, about how to become a “good hand” at writing and at creating something—about the value of artistry and creativity as good work.

This “affecting snapshot of blue-collar America in a singular place and time” (Booklist) marks the debut of a talented writer whom we are sure to hear more of.

HND Value Statement

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities North Dakota.

However, in an increasingly polarized world, we at Humanities North Dakota believe that being open-minded is necessary to thinking critically and rationally.

Therefore, our programs and classes reflect our own open-mindedness in the inquiry, seeking, and acquiring of scholars to speak at our events and teach classes for our Public University.

To that end, we encourage our participants to join us in stepping outside our comfort zones and considering other perspectives and ideas by being open-minded while attending HND events featuring scholars who hold a variety of opinions, some being opposite of our own held beliefs.

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