Pamelo Petro, "The Long Field"

Main Point Books and The Welsh Society of Philadelphia welcomes Pamela Petro, author of "The Long Field: Wales and the Presence of Absence, a Memoir." This new book, perfect for fans of "H Is for Hawk," is an intimate memoir of belonging and loss and a mesmerizing travelogue through the landscapes and language of Wales.

The event is Sunday, October 22nd at 4 pm in our lower level event space. Reservations are requested via Eventbrite; walk-ins are welcome. Books are for sale through Eventbrite and the store's website, and will be available during the event. Signed copies can be mailed within the U.S.

About the Author

Pamela Petro is a writer, artist, and educator and the author of four books, including "Sitting Up with the Dead: A Storied Journey through the American South" and "Travels in an Old Tongue: Touring the World Speaking Welsh." Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic, Granta, Guernica, Paris Review, and others. Pamela teaches creative writing at Smith College and in Lesley University’s MFA Program, and is codirector of the Dylan Thomas Summer School at the University of Wales, where she is a fellow. Pamela is also a visual artist who lives in Northampton, MA, with her partner, Marguerite, and Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Topaz.

About the Book

Hiraeth is a Welsh word that's famously hard to translate. Literally, it can mean "long field" but generally translates into English, inadequately, as "homesickness." At heart, hiraeth suggests something like a bone-deep longing for an irretrievable place, person, or time—an acute awareness of the presence of absence.


In "The Long Field," Pamela Petro braids essential hiraeth stories of Wales with tales from her own life—as an American who found an ancient home in Wales, as a gay woman, as the survivor of a terrible AMTRAK train crash, and as the daughter of a parent with dementia. Through the pull and tangle of these stories and her travels throughout Wales, hiraeth takes on radical new meanings. There is traditional hiraeth of place and home, but also queer hiraeth; and hiraeth triggered by technology, immigration, ecological crises, and our new divisive politics. On this journey, the notion begins to morph from a uniquely Welsh experience to a universal human condition, from deep longing to the creative responses to loss that Petro sees as the genius of Welsh culture. It becomes a tool to understand ourselves in our time.


A finalist for the Wales Book of the Year Award and named to the Telegraph's and Financial Times's Top 10 lists for travel writing, The Long Field is an unforgettable exploration of “the hidden contours of the human heart.”

Event date: 

Sunday, October 22, 2023 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Event address: 

Main Point Books


The Long Field: Wales and the Presence of Absence, a Memoir By Pamela Petro Cover Image
ISBN: 9781956763676
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Arcade - August 15th, 2023