John Barth, an award-winning novelist and author of best sellers, was recognized in Cambridge today. On this warm late spring Saturday afternoon a crowd of some 200 people gathered on the library lawn as a new interpretive sign honoring the 80-year-old author was unveiled. The Barth Celebration also included jazz saxophonist Carl Grubb, remarks from Barth, and comments from local dignitaries.
After completing the outdoor ceremony, activities moved elsewhere. Inside the library, the sponsors hosted a reception, giving guests a chance to mingle and talk. The celebration also continued along Race Street as part of Cambridge Main Street’s Second Saturday programs. All around the central business district people were checking out the galleries, shops, and restaurants as they strolled around enjoying the ambiance of a fine old business section. At the site of Whitey’s Candyland, the location of his father’s old business, bags of candy, the type the store would’ve sold, was handed out to passersby.
Born in Cambridge in 1930, the land along the Choptank River deeply influenced his writing. The Adams Floating Theatre’s visits to the Cambridge dock helped form his first novel, the Floating Opera. Set in Cambridge, it was nominated for the National Book Award in 1956. Some other works include the Sot-Weed Factor (1960) about Colonial Maryland and the Tidewater Tales (1987). There are many others. He once said: “It was my happy fate to be born and raised in the town where the real Eastern shore begins. For decades, Cambridge and its tidal waters have nourished my writing. Long may they ebb and flow!”
It was a fine afternoon and evening in Cambridge, honoring the author. Thank you Friends of the Library, the Dorchester County Library, Cambridge Main Street, the Maryland Heritage Area, the Heart of the Chesapeake County heritage Area, and the Nannie Waddell Foundation for making this program possible.