ALBANY, NY (11/06/2017) (readMedia)-- John Freeman Gill's debut novel, The Gargoyle Hunters (2017), offers readers a deeply emotional story of a boy and his dad and their connection to a brazen and seemingly impossible architectural heist -- the theft of an entire historic Manhattan building.
Praised by the Washington Post Book World as an "unabashedly charming story," The Gargoyle Hunters is told in first-person through the eyes of 13-year old Griffin Watts, who helps his father steal 19th century architectural sculptures – gargoyles – right off the faces of buildings in grimy and bustling 1970s New York City.
Gill will present the keynote talk at the University at Albany History Department's annual Researching New York Conference on Thursday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue on the University at Albany's Downtown Campus. The keynote talk, cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, is free and open to the public. There is a registration fee for the conference and more information is available at www.nystatehistory.org.
The Gargoyle Hunters was selected as a Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers Pick." In a review of the book, author Colum McCann said Gill "strips the mask off New York City in this poignant, incisive, irreverent novel about fatherhood, art, obsession, creation, and destruction ... [A] wonderful, compelling debut." The New York Times called it "Marvelously evocative ... exuberant ... eye-opening ... [an] urban Indiana Jones-like escapade." The Los Angeles Review of Books described it as "extravagantly satisfying." Annie Proulx, Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author, wrote: "The Gargoyle Hunters is wonderful, strong, funny, with yards and yards of beautiful writing. --Its pages are full of reading pleasures.... Extraordinary."
Gill, a native New Yorker and an expert on historical architecture, writes "Edifice Complex," a monthly column in Avenue that explores the biographies of historic New York City buildings and their occupants. He is a longtime New York Times contributor whose work has been anthologized in The New York Times Book of New York and More New York Stories: The Best of the City section of The New York Times. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, the International Herald Tribune, New York magazine, Premiere, Avenue, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere.
A summa cum laude graduate of Yale University, Gill received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. He lives in New York City with his wife, three children, and a smattering of gargoyles.
For additional information on Researching New York conference, which runs November 16-18, visit www.nystatehistory.org or call 518-442-5431.