We’re excited to announce the release of our September Solo, “Koppargruva” by Hugh Coyle. Alfred Nobel, inventor of nitroglycerin and inspiration for the Nobel Peace Prize, visited the United States twice. “Koppargruva,” from Hugh Coyle’s forthcoming book Peace at Last, is a fictionalized account of one of those excursions. Dubbed a killer by American journalists because of recent accidental nitroglycerin blasts in Panama and San Francisco, Nobel faces his tarnished reputation head on while searching for any sliver of redemption.
The Solo also includes a Q&A with the author, discussing the inspiration for the story, the research process, and why he became so interested in Alfred Nobel. Read “Koppargruva” today for $1.99!
Here’s an excerpt from the Solo:
Back in New York City, newspaper editorials continued to call for his immediate arrest or, at the very least, deportation; the more bloodthirsty legislators in the nation’s capitol sought to convict him retroactively for the hundreds of deaths caused that spring by accidental nitroglycerin blasts in Panama and San Francisco. Alfred had memorized the proposed law: “Every death, directly or indirectly caused by transport of his blasting oil on ships or conveyances of any kind, is to be considered murder of the first degree and is to be punished by death.” If passed, he would become a fugitive, an instant renegade. The proposal reminded him of the atmosphere in Stockholm after the first accident, which, as before and forever, reminded him of his brother Emil, dead now less than two years. Emil, who had dreamed of visiting America after completing his university degree, would have been up on the Favorite’s topmost deck now, basking in the sun and waving goodbye to each and every person on the dock below.
About The Author
Hugh Coyle’s publications include The Boston Review, New England Review, Green Mountains Review, Scribner’s American Writersseries, The Café Review, and Christopher Street, among others. His work has received a Pushcart Prize, a Bertha Morton scholarship, a Heekin award, and a grant from the Vermont Arts Council. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, he served for many years on the admissions board of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He was previously the Administrative Director of the Bread Loaf School of English, where he also produced the program’s humorous daily newsletter, The Crumb. His latest project, the historical novel Peace at Last, explores the relationship between the explosives manufacturer Alfred Nobel and the writer Bertha von Suttner, the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and one of the major inspirations for its inception. The novel-in-progress was named a semi-finalist for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship in 2014. Building upon his international research, Hugh presented a master class on Bertha von Suttner’s reliance on empathy at the Peace Palace in The Hague in June 2015. He has also presented an annual, hour-long historical slideshow, “Behind the Prize,” to coincide with the announcements of the Nobel prizes each October.