A couple of years ago, author Paul Harding rearranged pas­sages from the draft of what would become his Pulitzer Prize-​​winning novel “Tin­kers” using scis­sors, scotch tape and a stapler.

What a sur­prise,” recalled Harding, who dis­cussed his award-​​winning debut novel at North­eastern University’s Meet the Author series ear­lier this week. “I had a novel in my hands.”

It was a novel, how­ever, without a pub­lisher. It sat in a drawer for three years, Harding said, while pub­lisher after pub­lisher turned down the man­u­script in what he referred to as “per­fectly polite” and “per­fectly obnox­ious” ways.

Last year, Bellevue Lit­erary Press—a tiny non­profit run out of what Harding called a “glo­ri­fied janitor’s closet”—published the book, the story of a dying man who strug­gles to recall his impov­er­ished child­hood in Maine.

The book received good reviews from The New Yorker and The Boston Globe and Harding started a grass­roots cam­paign to gen­erate interest in the novel. He toured book­stores and book clubs in people’s living rooms, where, he said, “I ate a lot of casseroles.”

He had a screaming fit when he found out that he’d won the Pulitzer Prize.

It was the only time in my life that I’ve had a waking blackout,” said Harding, who has taught writing at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity and the Uni­ver­sity of Iowa. “The facts out­stripped my ability to believe in them. There’s some­thing that’s still detached about it.”

Harding drew inspi­ra­tion for the novel from his grand­fa­ther, who often told him sto­ries of his child­hood in northern Maine, and from his own time spent “playing with grass and birch bark near creeks.”

The ways in which char­ac­ters interact with nature play a major role in the book, which Harding described as an “imag­ined ver­sion of his grandfather’s sto­ries that achieved their own integrity.”

Harding, a drummer in the now defunct rock band Cold Water Flat, said he’s “kind of an ersatz com­poser” who writes as if he’s making a collage.

He favors char­acter devel­op­ment over plot, and described the writing in “Tin­kers” as “unlin­eated poetry that is very lyrical.”

And now he has a well-​​known, well-​​heeled pub­lisher for his next two novels, Random House.

As part of the Meet the Author event, the Uni­ver­sity unveiled the Anna & Eugene M. Rep­pucci Alumni Reading Room, a space in Snell Library for alumni to con­duct research, attend spe­cial func­tions and network.

North­eastern received a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Reppucci’s son, Eugene M. Rep­pucci Jr., E ’60, MEd ’65, Hon ’95, to build the reading room.

This is a true symbol of what we want our alumni to do,” said Jack Moynihan, vice pres­i­dent for alumni rela­tions and The North­eastern Fund.

The key to this is Huskies helping Huskies,” he added, noting that Rep­pucci and his wife, Corinne, are life­long sup­porters of the Uni­ver­sity who can often be found cheering on the Huskies at Matthews Arena.