For Immediate Release
September 22, 2017
[Digital image available upon request]
Williamstown, Massachusetts—Berkshires author John J. Healey introduces his new novel, The Samurai of Seville, at the Clark Art Institute on Saturday, October 7 at 2 pm. The free talk and book signing will be held in the Michael Conforti Pavilion.
Revealing one of history’s most intriguing forgotten chapters—the arrival of Japanese Samurai in Spain in 1614—Healey weaves a rich tale of dueling cultures as warriors clash with Renaissance sensibilities. Joining the author are Williams College Professor of History Eiko Maruko Siniawer, who discusses Samurai culture of seventeenth-century Japan, and Williams College Professor of Romance Languages Soledad Fox Maura, who relates the novel to her expertise in comparative literature.

The Samurai of Seville
In 1614, twenty-two Samurai warriors and a group of tradesmen from Japan sailed to Spain, where they initiated one of the most intriguing cultural exchanges in history. As the first Japanese people to visit Europe, they were received with pomp and circumstance, first by King Philip III and later by Pope Paul V. They remained for two years, after which most of the party returned to Japan. However, six of the Samurai stayed behind, settling in a small fishing village close to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where their descendants live to this day.

Healey imbues this tale of East meeting West with uncommon emotional and intellectual intensity, and a rich sense of place. He explores the dueling mentalities of the two cultures through a singular love story that blossoms between a sophisticated, restrained warrior of Japan and the baroque sensibilities of a Catholic, Renaissance Spain noblewoman.

The story is a timeless one about the discoveries and conflicts that arise from the forging of relationships across borders, both geographical and cultural.

John J. Healey was born in New York City and grew up in the Bronx, Manhattan, Southampton (Long Island), and Andalusia. He currently divides his time between Spain and the Berkshires. He directed two documentary films: Federico García Lorca and The Practice of the Wild. He studied medicine in Granada, Spain and worked in the motion picture business for fifteen years. Healey’s first novel, Emily & Herman, was published by Arcade in 2013. His new novel, The Samurai of Seville, was published in Spain in April 2016 by Esfera de los Libros and has just been published in the United States and Canada by Arcade. In the coming months it will be released in Germany, Holland, and Macedonia. He is working on a new novel, Giacomo, about James Joyce. The Samurai of Seville is to be made into a feature film spearheaded by 20th Century Fox International Pictures. 
The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 270,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday–Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit clarkart.edu or call 413 458 2303.
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