Paul Harding

Easton Press Paul Harding books

Tinkers - signed modern classic - 2013

Author Paul Harding

Paul Harding, born on February 28, 1967, is an American author and musician known for his distinctive voice in contemporary fiction. Born in Wenham, Massachusetts, Harding's literary career gained significant attention with the publication of his debut novel, Tinkers. Harding's path to becoming a novelist included diverse experiences. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and later pursued a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Additionally, Harding is a classically trained drummer and has been involved in various musical projects.

Tinkers, published in 2009, is a novel that weaves together the stories of an elderly clock repairman, George Washington Crosby, and his father, Howard Aaron Crosby, who worked as a tinker. The novel explores themes of time, memory, and the intricacies of family relationships. Tinkers received widespread critical acclaim and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2010, bringing Harding's literary talent to the forefront. Harding's writing is characterized by its poetic prose and contemplative exploration of human existence. His ability to capture the profound moments in ordinary lives resonated with readers and established him as a noteworthy voice in contemporary American literature.

Following the success of Tinkers, Paul Harding continued his literary pursuits. He published his second novel, Enon, in 2013, which follows the grandson of the protagonist from Tinkers as he grapples with grief and loss. While Enon did not achieve the same level of commercial success as his debut, it further showcased Harding's skill in portraying the complexities of human emotion.

In addition to his writing, Paul Harding has taught creative writing at various institutions, including Harvard University. His influence on aspiring writers is not only evident in his teaching but also in his willingness to share insights into the creative process. Paul Harding's work is celebrated for its lyrical quality, introspective narratives, and the profound beauty he finds in the ordinary. While he may not be a prolific author, the impact of his novels, particularly Tinkers, has left an enduring mark on contemporary literature. For the latest information on Paul Harding and any new contributions to the literary world, it is advisable to check more recent sources.


An old man lies dying. Confined to bed in his living room, he sees the walls around him begin to collapse, the windows come loose from their sashes, and the ceiling plaster fall off in great chunks, showering him with a lifetime of debris: newspaper clippings, old photographs, wool jackets, rusty tools, and the mangled brass works of antique clocks. Soon, the clouds from the sky above plummet down on top of him, followed by the stars, till the black night covers him like a shroud. He is hallucinating, in death throes from cancer and kidney failure. Surrounded by his children and grandchildren, George Washington Crosby drifts in and out of consciousness, back to the wonder and pain of his impoverished childhood in Maine. As the clock repairer’s time winds down, his memories intertwine with those of his father, an epileptic, itinerant peddler and his grandfather, a Methodist preacher beset by madness.

A methodical repairer of clocks, he is now finally released from the usual constraints of time and memory to rejoin his father, an epileptic, itinerant peddler, whom he had lost seven decades before. In his return to the wonder and pain of his impoverished childhood in the backwoods of Maine, he recovers a natural world that is at once indifferent to man and inseparable from him, menacing and awe inspiring.

At once heartbreaking and life affirming, Tinkers is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, illness, faith, and the fierce beauty of nature.

The story behind this New York Times bestselling debut novel the first independently published Pulitzer Prize winner since A Confederacy of Dunces received the award nearly thirty years before is as extraordinary as the elegant prose within it. Inspired by his family’s history, Paul Harding began writing Tinkers when his rock band broke up. Following numerous rejections from large publishers, Harding was about to shelve the manuscript when Bellevue Literary Press offered a contract. After being accepted by BLP, but before it was even published, the novel developed a following among independent booksellers from coast to coast. Readers and critics soon fell in love, and it went on to receive the Pulitzer Prize, prompting the New York Times to declare the novel’s remarkable success “the most dramatic literary Cinderella story of recent memory.”

That story is still being written as readers across the country continue to discover this modern classic, which has now sold over half a million copies, proving once again that great literature has a thriving and passionate audience.

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