Apr 26, 2014
05:06 AMArts & Entertainment
'Eat, Pray, Love' Author Gilbert to Speak in Litchfield; She’s a Connecticut Native
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Author Elizabeth Gilbert attends the 'Eat, Pray, Love' UK premiere at the Empire Leicester Square on September 22, 2010 in London, England.
Everything about her success was surprising to Elizabeth Gilbert.
Her international bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, which was turned into a 2010 movie starring Julia Roberts, was her fourth book. Prior to the memoir, she published, The Last American Man in 2002, a biography of a modern woodsman and naturalist. Now, Gilbert has embarked on a new journey with her recently published book, The Signature Of All Things, a novel about a 19th-century female botanist.
Looking back, Gilbert was still confounded by the exploded popularity of her memoir. The book helped her discover that other people were asking the same questions that she asked, and dreaming the same dream that she had. Gratifying and humbling, she said, it was a success that came after years of writing.
“Nothing in my career would have led me to imagine that I would have a book with that impact,” Gilbert said, “My books were just regular books [which sold] relatively small numbers of copies. All of a sudden, it just exploded. I never saw it coming.”
Gilbert, a Litchfield native, will speak at Litchfield Community Center on May 1 about her thoughts on living a creative life. “Big Magic: Thoughts on a Creative Life,” is organized by the Women’s Forum of Litchfield, a group which offers thought-provoking programs with a mix of locally and internationally famous speakers.
Gilbert grew up on her parents’ Christmas tree farm in Litchfield with no neighbors, with a TV or even a record player. Consequently, they read a lot, and Gilbert and her sister entertained themselves by writing little books and plays. Gilbert described herself as a contemporary writer but an archaic reader. The reading helped shape her language in the historical novel, Gilbert said, English but not really English. She spent three years researching for that book.