One Book New Canaan, the town-wide reading initiative, culminates with a visit from Nathaniel Philbrick, the author of the selected book, "In the Heart of the Sea: the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex."
Philbrick will speak at 7 p.m. Friday, April 4, at New Canaan High School.
A winner of the National Book Award in 2000 for "In the Heart of the Sea" and a 2007 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for history for "Mayflower," Philbrick also will speak about his most recent release, "Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution."
One Book New Canaan is led by the New Canaan Library, and his appearance is presented in partnership with Elm Street Books.
During February and March, residents of all ages joined together in reading his epic historical narrative of the 1821 tragic fate of the whaleship Essex, and gathered at events at the library.
Philbrick has a bachelor's degree in English from Brown University and a master's degree in America literature from Duke University.
Early in his career, Philbrick worked for "Sailing World" magazine; later, he was a freelancer and wrote/edited several sailing books, including "Yachting: A Parody."
After moving to Nantucket in 1986, he became interested in the history of the island and wrote "Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People," which was released in a revised and updated edition in 2011.
He was offered the opportunity to start Nantucket's Egan Maritime Institute in 1995, and, in 2000, he published "In the Heart of the Sea," followed by "Sea of Glory" in 2003, "Mayflower" in 2006 and "The Last Stand" in 2010. Philbrick's "Why Read Moby Dick?" was released in October 2011. His latest book was released in 2013.
Additionally, prior to Philbrick's appearance, Mike Dyer will present "The Art of the Yankee Whale Hunt" 5 p.m. Sunday, March 30, in the library's Adrian Lamb Room.
Dyer, senior maritime historian at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, will describe the culture and challenges surrounding the industry in the 1800s. With visual images of whalers, whaling scenes, geographic perspectives and scrimshaw, Dyer will illustrate the age of sperm whaling, covering the regions typically visited by Nantucket whalers of the period from approximately 1800 to 1840.
All library programs are free but registration is required and can be done by visiting newcanaanlibrary.org or calling 203-594-5003.