Talk on Solomon Northup, Main Character in 12 Years a Slave Film

In anticipation of the screening of the film 12 Years a Slave at this year's Telluride by the Sea Film Festival, author David Fiske will talk about Solomon Northup, the man behind the memoir of the same name.

Fiske's book (co-authored by Prof. Clifford Brown and Rachel Seligman) is titled Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years A Slave. It provides a compelling chronological narrative of Northup's entire life, from his birth in an isolated settlement in upstate New York to the activities he pursued after his release from slavery. This comprehensive biography of Solomon Northup picks up where earlier annotated editions of his narrative left off, presenting fascinating, previously unknown information about the author of the autobiographical Twelve Years A Slave.

Northup was tricked into leaving Saratoga Springs, New York in 1841, and was sold as a slave. After twelve years, he was rescued and wrote a book about his experiences, which is the basis of Steve McQueen's new film.

This book examines Northup's life as a slave and reveals details of his life after he regained his freedom, relating how he traveled around the Northeast giving public lectures, worked with an Underground Railroad agent in Vermont to help fugitive slaves reach freedom in Canada, and was connected with several theatrical productions based upon his experiences. The tale of Northup's life demonstrates how the victims of the American system of slavery were not just the slaves themselves, but any free person of color-all of whom were potential kidnap victims, and whose lives were affected by that constant threat.

"Fiske, Brown and Seligman's Solomon Northup is the best current biography available. The facts they have uncovered are invaluable--the living descendants they have identified, precious." - Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Talk and book-signing on September 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm, at RiverRun Bookstore, 142 Fleet Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 603-431-2100.

See the event listings at RiverRun's web site: