On March 19, the Visiting Writers Series, hosted by the English Department at NMU, is featuring John Gubbins, author of the novel Profound River, which tells the “incredible true story of Dame Juliana—the nun who invented fly-fishing.”
Gubbins, who is from Ishpeming, has a law degree from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in history from NMU. His novel evolved from a research paper he turned in while enrolled at NMU.
Profound River, portrays one of medieval England’s greatest geniuses–Dame Juliana Berners, a fifteenth century nun, who was England’s first bestselling author. For two hundred years, her works remained atop England’s bestseller’s list. She wrote books on fishing, hunting and hawking, but her most memorable book is about fishing, The Treatise of Fishing with an Angle. This was not only the first book ever written about sport fishing, but also the first book ever written about fly-fishing. Dame Juliana was England’s first published woman author and entered legend as the nun who taught field sports to generations of English sportsmen.
The story reveals the mind of Dame Juliana as an older woman reflecting on the meaning of fishing and hunting and the lessons of her turbulent youth. Throughout Profound River, Dame Juliana finds resonances of a deep spirituality fostered through years of prayer in her experiences of nature. Finally, it deals with the challenges she faces as an aged woman grappling with the day to day economic and spiritual needs of her community of sisters.