Skip to Content

Reading Groups

The Promise with Elizabeth Howard

Every Other Week Tuesdays, 6:30 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST January 10 to February 21, 2023

The Center for Fiction
& Online via Zoom

The ‘With Book’ option includes a copy of The Promise at a 10% discount from our Bookstore.


Meeting Dates:
1/10, 1/24, 2/7, 2/21
Participants may attend in person at The Center for Fiction or participate remotely via Zoom.

Damon Galgut’s novel, The Promise, published by Europa Press in 2021, was the recipient of the 2021 Booker Prize. Not a surprise for those people who are familiar with the work of this South African author.

The Promise is divided into four sections: Ma, Pa, Astrid and Anton. The narrative is written against history that is unfolding in South Africa and as James Wood, reviewing the novel in the New Yorker wrote, “The Promise suggests the demands of history and the answering cry of the novel can still powerfully converge.” Colm Tóibín called it, “Astonishing.”

Damon Galgut, weaving the stories of a one family, provides the reader with much to contemplate. Time, “which passes differently for those who’re shut out of the world.” The meaning of home. The perspective of a white South African writing now. The fear and complexities of this contemporary moment.

The novel will be discussed through four meetings, each focusing on one of the sections. Additional readings will be suggested.

Participants should read through the first section, entitled Ma, before the first meeting.

Recommended Supplemental Material:

The film Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood, tells the inspiring and true story of how newly elected President Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joins forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), to help unite their country through sport and overcome economic and racial division. It is available to rent for $3.99 on Apple TV, YouTube, Amazon, and other platforms.

the promise PBK cover final

Led by

  • Elizabeth Howard

    Elizabeth Howard

    Elizabeth Howard

    Elizabeth Howard grew up with a passion for books and reading. She received the Tilton Essay Award for outstanding expression in her writing when she was sixteen. Her articles related to communication and marketing have appeared in European Communications, Investor Relations, Law Firm Marketing & Profit Report, Communication World, The Strategist, and the New York Law Journal, among others. Her books include Queen Anne’s Lace and Wild Blackberry Pie, (Thornwillow Press, 2011), A Day with Bonefish Joe (David Godine, 2015), and Ned O’Gorman: A Glance Back (Easton Studio Press, 2016).

    She is the producer and host of the Short Fuse Podcast, conversations with artists, writers, musicians and others whose art reveals our communities through their lens and stirs us to seek change.

    She holds an M.A. from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. through the Graduate School of Political Management, an M.S. in communications design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and a B.A. in English literature from Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire. She studied at the University of Southampton in Bournemouth, U.K.

    Elizabeth Howard lives in New York City.