BOOK LAUNCH: Steven Nightingale - "Granada"

Join us on Thursday, February 19, from 6:30 to 8 pm, for a reading and reception to celebrate the publication of Steven Nightingale's newest book and first work of non-fiction, Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God.


Granada is one of the iconic cities of the world. It stands for the culture of Al-Andalus, composed of Moslems, Jews, and Christians, who lived together in the legendary convivencia of the Spanish Middle Ages. Al-Andalus gave rise to an intellectual vanguard whose achievements can be compared only with those of classical Athens, Ming China, or Renaissance Italy.

Granada resident Steven Nightingale excavates the rich past of his adopted city and of Al-Andalus, finding a story of utopian ecstasy, political intrigue, religious exaltation, and scorching anguish. Granada witnessed a flourishing of poetry, and constructed the Alhambra, one of the most celebrated buildings in Europe. Al-Andalus brought to Europe the first modern translations of Greek philosophy, advanced mathematics, science, medicine and music, as well as transcendent mystical texts. Yet Ferdinand and Isabel’s conquest of Granada in 1492 meant the end of the culture whose achievements would empower and enrich the rest of Europe.

In the story of Granada, Nightingale finds our story, all its violence and possibility and beauty, its spiritual longing and artful dreams. It is a story that shows how we can work together, and what we can create together. And how our best work can be destroyed.


“One of the delicious literary genres is the book about a writer’s love affair with a city. Mary McCarthy’s Stones of Florence and Edmund White’s Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris come to mind. Steven Nightingale’s Granada takes its place in that radiant company.”

Robert Hass, author of What Light Can Do and The Apple Trees at Olema

“Opening Steven Nightingale’s lyrical Granada is to split a pomegranate that pours out a galaxy of seeds. Take the book with you to a garden. There, as you read, the seeds will give forth branches of poetry, music, science, mathematics, philosophy, agriculture, medicine, and all the marvels of Andalusia. Twining, they stretch up toward the brilliant sun—maybe beyond, to the divine. Yet even as they transport you on their various journeys they remain rooted in a family garden in Granada—a beautiful garden that, thanks to the author, you will know and love as he does.”

Thomas Christensen, author of 1616: The World in Motion

“This is a highly sensitively written book written by a very fortunate American author who records his visit to Andalusia (Spain) with his family to discover the immense gift to civilization the earlier Spanish community has been.

I can certainly recommend this book to all who have yet to learn how vibrant and productive the integration of Judaism, Christianity and Islam can be. Nightingale chooses the 800 years between 711-1492, in Spain.

This book can so clearly introduce you to such as the Brethren of Purity, Pythagoras, and the traditions underlying the magnificent geometry of the Al-Hambra in Granada. Not to mention the luminary Ibn Arabi, the great Sufi philosopher.”

Keith Critchlow, author of Islamic Patterns and The Hidden Geometry of Flowers


Steven Nightingale is the author of two novels, The Lost Coast and The Thirteenth Daughter of the Moon, as well as five books of sonnets. A native Nevadan, he now divides his time between his home state, the Santa Cruz mountains of California, and Granada, in southern Spain. This is his first work of nonfiction.

Event date: 
Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 6:30pm