Friday, February 3, 2012

Bill Henderson's memoir

With All My Dogs, his memoir about childhood, marriage and most prominently, the dogs throughout his life, Bill Henderson teaches his readers about living with a heart open to love. In the book he reflects on a life that was sometimes glorious and sometimes trying, but almost always soothed by the presence of a dog.

Henderson has said that this memoir is his near seventy-year life story, and that in previous memoirs, leaving out his dogs had been an “oversight.” It has become clear that the inclusion of his thirteen dogs was a great decision, because All My Dogs has received incredible reviews, most recently from the Washington Post, which said, “memoirs like this don’t happen along very often.” The author says that the public reaction is “becoming overwhelming” but that he is thrilled with the feedback he has received. Having just done an interview with the BBC, All My Dogs has gone international. In his BBC segment, Henderson speaks of two of the dogs that have significantly impacted his life, Sophie and Lulu. The former saved his marriage, while the latter became his companion when both were diagnosed with cancer. Lulu is considered particularly special to Henderson. In the prelude of All My Dogs, he writes, “Of the many dogs I have known, she was my life dog, the one closest to my heart.”

At Henderson’s recent book signing at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor, NY the bookstore was packed with enthusiastic readers. By the end of the event, they had sold out of books. When asked about his success, Henderson says that he is “especially thankful to Godine” for being so in love with the books they publish. He feels that this small publishing house has been a huge pleasure to work with because of the individual attention a memoir such as All My Dogs has received. Up next: He is planning to write about a little stone chapel he is building on his property in Maine.

Bill Henderson is founder of Pushcart Press and editor and publisher of the annual Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, now in its thirty-fifth year. He is the author of the memoirs His Son (Norton, 1981), Her Father (Faber and Faber, 1995), Tower (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000), and Simple Gifts (Free Press, 2006). He received the 2006 Poets & Writers/Barnes & Noble "Writers for Writers" citation and the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle.

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