Librarian Douglas Westerbeke Talks About his Epic Debut Novel with Bexley Public Library Director Ben Heckman!

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 - 7:00pm
Gramercy Books
2424 East Main Street
Bexley, OH 43209

Ohio Librarian Douglas Westerbeke’s A Short Walk Through A Wide World charts the incredible, adventurous life of one woman as she journeys the globe trying to outrun a mysterious curse that will destroy her if she stops moving. Douglas will be in conversation with Bexley Public Library Director Ben Heckman. 

The event is free. Registration is required. A Short Walk Through A Wide World is available for purchase at the event or at Gramercy Books. 

THE BEXLEY PUBLIC LIBRARY is Gramercy's Community Partner for this author program.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue meets Life of Pi in this dazzlingly epic that Shelf Awareness calls: “A wild romping adventure, a poignant tale of relationships and interconnectedness, and a compelling journey of self-discovery.” 

Paris, 1885: Aubry Tourvel, a spoiled and stubborn nine-year-old girl, comes across a wooden puzzle ball on her walk home from school. She tosses it over the fence, only to find it in her backpack that evening. Days later, at the family dinner table, she starts to bleed to death.

When medical treatment only makes her worse, she flees to the outskirts of the city, where she realizes that it is this very act of movement that keeps her alive. So begins her lifelong journey on the run from her condition, which won’t allow her to stay anywhere for longer than a few days nor return to a place where she’s already been.

From the scorched dunes of the Calashino Sand Sea to the snow-packed peaks of the Himalayas; from a bottomless well in a Parisian courtyard, to the shelves of an infinite underground library, we follow Aubry as she learns what it takes to survive and ultimately, to truly live. But the longer Aubry wanders and the more desperate she is to share her life with others, the clearer it becomes that the world she travels through may not be quite the same as everyone else’s...

Fiercely independent and hopeful, yet full of longing, Aubry Tourvel is an unforgettable character fighting her way through a world of wonders to find a place she can call home. A spellbinding and inspiring story about discovering meaning in a life that seems otherwise impossible, A Short Walk Through a Wide World reminds us that it’s not the destination, but rather the journey—no matter how long it lasts—that makes us who we are. 

Though a screenwriter by trade, Douglas Westerbeke has been a librarian at one of the largest libraries in the United States. Cinema and literature have had a strong influence on him, from the adventures of Indiana Jones and Forrest Gump to Borges, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, and the work of Viktor Frankel. Westerbeke has also spent the last decade on the local panel of the International Dublin Literary Award, which inspired him to write his own book. 

Bexley Public Library Director Ben Heckman is a proud 2003 graduate of Capital University with a degree in education. After a short time as a teacher and as a manager with Starbucks, Ben’s passion for learning led him to Bexley Public Library, where he began his career at the circulation desk. Ben earned his Master’s in Library Science Degree in 2014, and served as BPL’s public services manager and as assistant library director before becoming director in 2017. Ben’s appreciation for serving the Bexley community reminds him daily of Mark Twain’s quote, “Find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”