Mary Anna Barbey

September 14, 2022: SEASON OPENER

Mary Anna Barbey (VC 58, 73) discusses her life as a journalist and novelist in Switzerland and her new English translation of her 2004 French novel Prosperity Mill (Independently published 2022).

Susannah Marshall was fourteen when the strike broke out at Prosperity Mill. For months, her small town in North Carolina would be shaken by scenes of conflict, terror and even murder.

Sixty-five years later, a renowned historian, Susannah returns to her hometown in a final attempt to understand the world-famous walkout led by the communists. Will she discover some clue, some piece of information that will put her mind at rest? What role did her own family play in the tragic events? And if she finds the truth, will anyone want to hear her story?

Based on the history of the 1929 textile strike in Gastonia, North Carolina, this work of fiction explores the way historical conflict can impact individual lives. By reviving events almost forgotten, Susannah's quest also reaffirms the importance of passing on stories from one generation to the next.

Mary Anna Pope Barbey was born in Durham, North Carolina. She grew up in Connecticut, then married and moved to Switzerland where she has lived for over sixty years. She has published twelve books in French. Her translation of Prosperity Mill is her first publication in English.


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