November

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Suzanne McConnell

Pity the Reader: On Writing With Style

Author, editor and writing teacher Suzanne McConnell was a student of Kurt Vonnegut’s at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop during its heyday, the period from 1965-67, when Vonnegut, along with Nelson Algren and other notable authors were in residence. This was also the period when Vonnegut was writing his masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five, and had a lot to say about the writing process. Vonnegut and McConnell became friends, and stayed in touch over the years. She has published short memoirs of him in The Brooklyn Rail and The Writer’s Digest, and led a panel at the 2014 AWP conference titled “Vonnegut’s Legacy: Writing about War and Other Debacles of the Human Condition.”

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Wee The People: Innosanto Nagara

M is for Movement

This event will take place at The Puppet Showplace Theatre, located at 32 Station St., Brookline. It is presented by Wee the People. The event is free but requires registration–please click the button above to register.

Join us for a very special storytime with children’s author Innosanto Nagara. He will read his new book, M Is for Movement; the reading will be followed a puppet show preview based on his book My Night in the Planetarium!

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M is for Movement is the story of a child born at the dawn of a social movement.
At first the protests were in small villages and at universities. But then they spread. People drew sustenance from other social movements in other countries. And then the unthinkable happened. The protagonist in this fictionalized children’s memoir is a witness and a participant, fearful sometimes, brave sometimes too, and when things change, this child who is now an adult is as surprised as anyone.

Suzanne Morris

A Trapezoid Is Not A Dinosaur!

Shape up, shapes! Triangle is hosting auditions for all the best shapes to be in his play. Circle, Square, and Star each get a part. But Trapezoid just doesn’t “fit in.” Is he even a shape? The others think he sounds like a type of dinosaur. Determined to show off his usefulness, Trapezoid tries to act like the other shapes, to no avail. Eventually, though, Trapezoid celebrates his own distinct shape properties in order to become part of the performance.

Suzanne Morris is an author, illustrator, and designer with a BFA from Parsons School of Design. She loves words, art, and the magic of a page turn. Suzanne makes her marks by hand, using pencils, ink, watercolor, and collage with digital retouching. She believes the power of the imagination is the gateway to freedom.

December

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Reimagining the Epics with Karthika Nair and Nina MacLaughlin

Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata

Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung

In Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata, Karthika Naïr retells the Mahabharata through the embodied voices of women and marginal characters, so often conquered and destroyed throughout history. Through shifting poetic forms, ranging from pantoums to Petrarchan sonnets, Naïr choreographs the cadences of stray voices. And with a passionate empathy through a chorus of bold voices, she tells of nameless soldiers, their despairing spouses and lovers, a canny empress, an all-powerful god, and a gender-shifting outcast warrior. Until the Lions reveals the most intimate threads of desire, greed, and sacrifice in this foundational epic.  »

French-Indian, poet-dance producer/curator, Karthika Naïr is the author of several books, including The Honey Hunter, illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet and published in English, French, German and Bangla. Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata won the 2015 Tata Literature Live! Award for Book of the Year (Fiction). Her latest book is the collaborative Over and Under Ground in Mumbai & Paris, a travelogue in verse, written with Mumbai-based poet Sampurna Chattarji, and illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet and Roshni Vyam.


Seductresses and she-monsters, nymphs and demi-goddesses, populate the famous myths of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. But what happens when the story of the chase comes in the voice of the woman fleeing her rape? When the beloved coolly returns the seducer’s gaze? When tales of monstrous transfiguration are sung by those transformed? In voices both mythic and modern, Wake, Siren revisits each account of love, loss, rape, revenge, and change. It lays bare the violence that undergirds and lurks in the heart of Ovid’s narratives, stories that helped build and perpetuate the distorted portrayal of women across centuries of art and literature.

Drawing on the rhythms of epic poetry and alt rock, of everyday speech and folk song, of fireside whisperings and therapy sessions, Nina MacLaughlin, the acclaimed author of Hammer Head, recovers what is lost when the stories of women are told and translated by men. She breathes new life into these fraught and well-loved myths.

Nina MacLaughlin is the author of the acclaimed memoir Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter. Formerly an editor at The Boston Phoenix, she is a books columnist for The Boston Globe and has written for publications including The Paris Review Daily, The Believer, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, Bookslut, The Daily Beast, Cosmopolitan, and The Huffington Post. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Brookline Booksmith Book Club

Celestial Bodies

The Brookline Booksmith Book Club meets downstairs at 7:30pm. To contact our moderator, email bookclub@brooklinebooksmith.com.

Discussing Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi.

In the village of al-Awafi in Oman, we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla, who chooses to refuse all offers and await a reunion with the man she loves, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families, their losses and loves, unspool beautifully against a backdrop of a rapidly changing Oman, a country evolving from a traditional, slave-owning society into its complex present.

Jokha Alharthi is the first Omani woman to have a novel translated into English, and Celestial Bodies is the first book translated from the Arabic to win the Man Booker International Prize. Alharthi is the author of two previous collections of short fiction, a children’s book, and three novels in Arabic. Fluent in English, she completed a PhD in classical Arabic poetry in Edinburgh and teaches at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat. She has been short-listed for the Sheikh Zayed Award for Young Authors and her short stories have been published in English, German, Italian, Korean, and Serbian.

Calvin Hennick in conversation with Adrian Walker

Once More to the Rodeo: A Memoir

Five years into fatherhood, Calvin Hennick is plagued by self-doubt and full of questions. How can he teach his son to be a man, when his own father figures abandoned him? As a white man, what can he possibly teach his biracial son about how to live as a black man in America? And what does it even mean to be a man today, when society’s expectations of men seem to change from moment to moment?

In this unforgettable debut memoir, Calvin Hennick holds a mirror up to both himself and modern America, in an urgent and timely story that all parents, and indeed all Americans, need to read.

Calvin Hennick is a business and technology writer based in Boston. He wrote for many years for The Boston Globe and his prize-winning work has appeared in over 50 publications.

Adrian Walker is a columnist for the Metro section of The Boston Globe. He provides commentary and opinion on local and regional news as well as society and culture. Walker started as a Metro columnist in 1998. His column appears Mondays and Fridays.

Alex Myers and Jackson Bird

Continental Divide

Sorted: Growing Up, Coming Out, and Finding My Place

Newly out as transgender, Ron finds himself adrift: kicked out by his family, jilted by his girlfriend, unable to afford to return to college in the fall. So begins Alex Myers’ debut novel Continenental Divide. From there Ron heads out to Wyoming for a new start, a chance to prove that - even though he was raised as a girl, even though everyone in Boston thinks of him as transgender - he can live as a man.

Sorted is an unflinching and endearing memoir from LGBTQ+ advocate Jackson Bird about how, through a childhood of gender mishaps and an awkward adolescence, he sorted his identity and came out as a transgender man in his mid-twenties.

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Alex Myers was born and raised in western Maine. Since high school, Alex has campaigned for transgender rights. As a female-to-male transgender person, Alex began his transition at Phillips Exeter Academy (returning his senior year as a man after attending for three years as a woman) and was the first transgender student in that academy’s history. Alex was also the first openly transgender student at Harvard, and worked to change the university’s nondiscrimination clause to include gender identity.

Jackson Bird is a YouTube creator and LGBTQ+ advocate dedicated to demystifying the transgender experience. His TED Talk “How to talk (and listen) to transgender people” has been viewed over a million times. Jackson is a recipient of the GLAAD Rising Star Digital Innovator Award and lives in New York City. You can follow him online @JackIsNotABird.

Mikki Kendall

Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists

Join us for a talk and signing with Mikki Kendall to celebrate her new book! Each ticket includes a copy of Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights.

Mikki Kendall is a writer, historian, and diversity consultant who writes about intersectionality, policing, gender, sexual assault, and other current events. Kendall’s nonfiction can be found at Time.com, the Guardian, Washington Post, Ebony, Essence, Salon, XoJane, Bustle, Islamic Monthly, and a host of other outlets. Her media appearances include BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera, WVON, WBEZ, TWIB, and Showtime. Her comics work can be found in the Swords of Sorrow anthology, the Princeless charity anthology, and in the Columbus College of Art and Design anthology of 2016.

Meredith Atwood

The Year of No Nonsense: How to Get Over Yourself an On With Your Life

In The Year of No Nonsense, Atwood shares what she learned, tackling struggles with work, family, and body image, and also willpower and time management. Ultimately, she’s the tough-as-nails coach /slash/ best friend who shares a practical plan for identifying and getting rid of your own nonsense in order to move forward and live an authentic, healthy life.

Meredith Atwood is a recovering attorney, wife, mother of two, four-time IRONMAN triathlete who had never run a mile in her life until she tackled the sport of triathlon. In 2010 she started writing and created her Swim Bike Mom blog. Over 2.5 million words later, she has built a cult following of women (and men) who desired a change in their lives–but not at the expense of their health, family or sanity.

Ryan La Sala

Reverie

All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember anything before an accident robbed him of his memories, so when three of his classmates claim to be his friends and the only people who know what’s truly going on, Kane isn’t sure what to believe or who to trust. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere–the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery–Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident, and only he can stop their world from unraveling.

Ryan La Sala grew up in Connecticut, but only physically. Mentally, he spent most of his childhood in the worlds of Sailor Moon and Xena: Warrior Princess, which perhaps explains all the twirling. He studied Anthropology and Neuroscience at Northeastern University before becoming a project manager specialized in digital tools. He technically lives in New York City, but has actually transcended material reality and only takes up a human shell for special occasions, like brunch, and to watch anime (which is banned on the astral plane). Reverie is Ryan’s debut novel.

T.J. Mitchell and Dr. Judy Melinek

First Cut

When the city’s newest medical examiner Dr. Jessie Teska discovers that a suspected overdose conceals a drug lord’s attempt at a murderous cover-up, her superiors pressure her to close the case and move on. But as more bodies land on her autopsy table, Jessie traces a plot involving opioid traffickers and a shifting terrain of tech start-ups, and she won’t stop until she has uncovered the truth–even if it means the next corpse on the slab could be her own.  »

Judy Melinek was an assistant medical examiner in San Francisco for nine years, and today works as a forensic pathologist in Oakland and as CEO of PathologyExpert Inc. She and T.J. Mitchell met as undergraduates at Harvard, after which she studied medicine and practiced pathology at UCLA. Her training in forensics at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner is the subject of their first book, the memoir Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner.

T.J. Mitchell is a writer with an English degree from Harvard, and worked in the film industry before becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad. He is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner with his wife, Judy Melinek.

David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott

Fanocracy

David Meerman Scott and his daughter Reiko are very different - one is a baby boomer business strategist, the other a millennial medical student. But both noticed that the kind of enthusiasm they once reserved for pleasures like the Grateful Dead (David) and Harry Potter (Reiko) now extends to all sorts of companies and organizations. So they teamed up to explore a big question: Why do some brands, even in supposedly boring categories like car insurance and enterprise software, attract not just customers but raving fans?  »

David Meerman Scott is an internationally acclaimed business strategist, entrepreneur, advisor to emerging companies, and public speaker. He is the author of ten previous books, including The New Rules of Marketing & PR (now in its 6th edition and in 29 languages) and Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead. In his spare time he surfs and travels around the world for great live music.

Reiko Scott earned a neuroscience degree from Columbia University and is now a medical student at Boston University. In her spare time she writes and publishes fanfiction based on her favorite fantasy worlds and loves to cosplay at Comic Con.

Laura McKowen

We Are the Luckiest

What could possibly be “lucky” about addiction? Absolutely nothing, thought Laura McKowen when drinking brought her to her knees. As she puts it, she “kicked and screamed … wishing for something – anything – else” to be her issue. The people who got to drink normally, she thought, were so damn lucky. But in the midst of early sobriety, when no longer able to anesthetize her pain and anxiety, she realized that she was actually the lucky one. Lucky to feel her feelings, live honestly, really be with her daughter, change her legacy.

Laura McKowen had a successful career in public relations and the Mad Men-esque drinking culture of advertising. After getting sober, she became recognized as a fresh voice in recovery, beloved for her soulful and irreverent writing. She now leads sold-out retreats on sobriety and is a celebrated yoga instructor.

E.J. Koh in conversation with Jennifer Tseng

The Magical Language of Others

The Magical Language of Others is a powerful and aching love story in letters, from mother to daughter. After living in America for over a decade, Eun Ji Koh’s parents return to South Korea for work, leaving fifteen-year-old Eun Ji and her brother behind in California. Overnight, Eun Ji finds herself abandoned and adrift in a world made strange by her mother’s absence. Her mother writes letters, in Korean, over the years seeking forgiveness and love–letters Eun Ji cannot fully understand until she finds them years later hidden in a box.

The Magical Language of Others weaves a profound tale of hard-won selfhood and our deep bonds to family, place, and language, introducing–in Eun Ji Koh–a singular, incandescent voice.

E. J. Koh is the author of the poetry collection A Lesser Love, winner of the Pleiades Editors Prize (Louisiana State U. Press, 2017). Her poems, translations, and stories have appeared in Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, and World Literature Today, among others. She is the recipient of The MacDowell Colony and Kundiman fellowships and a 2017 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship, and was runner-up for the 2018 Prairie Schooner Summer Nonfiction Prize.

Patricia Marx & Roz Chast

You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time

Enter code BOSTON to purchase tickets before 111.

The perfect Valentine’s Day or anniversary gift: An illustrated collection of love and relationship advice from New Yorker writer Patricia Marx, with illustrations from New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast. Every ticket to this event includes a copy of You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples.

Joseph Finder

House on Fire

Nick Heller is at the top of his game when he receives some devastating news: his old army buddy Sean has died of an overdose. Sean, who once saved Nick’s life, got addicted to opioids after returning home wounded from war.

Then at Sean’s funeral, a stranger approaches Nick with a job, and maybe also a way for Nick to hold someone accountable.

Joseph Finder is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen previous novels, including Judgment, The Switch, Guilty Minds, The Fixer, and Suspicion. Finder’s international bestseller Killer Instinct won the International Thriller Writers’ Thriller Award for Best Novel of 2006. Other bestselling titles include Paranoia and High Crimes, which both became major motion pictures.

Eitan Hersh

Politics Is for Power

In Politics Is for Power, pioneering and brilliant data analyst Eitan Hersh shows us a way toward more effective political participation. Aided by political theory, history, cutting-edge social science, as well as remarkable stories of ordinary citizens who got off their couches and took political power seriously, this book shows us how to channel our energy away from political hobbyism and toward empowering our values.

Eitan Hersh received a PhD from Harvard University in 2011. He served for six years on the faculty of Yale University as assistant professor of political science and resident fellow of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies before becoming a tenured associate professor of political science at Tufts University. His peer-reviewed articles have been published in the major political science journals. Hersh is the author of Hacking the Electorate and Politics Is for Power.

Eric Smith and Karen McManus

Don't Read the Comments

One of Us is Next

Slay meets Eliza and Her Monsters in Eric Smith’s Don’t Read the Comments, an #ownvoices story in which two teen gamers find their virtual worlds—and blossoming romance—invaded by the real-world issues of trolling and doxing in the gaming community.

Karen McManus’s One of Us is Next is the highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling thriller everyone is talking about, One of Us Is Lying! There’s a new mystery to solve at Bayview High, and there’s a whole new set of rules.

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Eric Smith is an author, prolific book blogger, and literary agent from New Jersey, currently living in Philadelphia. Smith cohosts Book Riot’s newest podcast, HEY YA, with non-fiction YA author Kelly Jensen. He can regularly be found writing for Book Riot’s blog, as well as Barnes & Noble’s Teen Reads blog, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. Smith also has a growing Twitter platform of over 40,000 followers (@ericsmithrocks).

Karen McManus earned her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MA in journalism from Northeastern University. She is the New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying, Two Can Keep a Secret, and, coming January 2020, One of Us Is Next. Her work has been published in more than 40 countries.

February

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Helen Fremont

The Escape Artist

In the tradition of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home or George Hodgman’s Bettyville, Fremont writes with wit and candor about growing up in a household held together by a powerful glue: secrets. Her parents, profoundly affected by their memories of the Holocaust, pass on a penchant for keeping their lives neatly–even obsessively–compartmentalized, as well as a zealous determination to protect themselves from the dangers of the outside world.

Helen Fremont is the author of the national bestseller After Long Silence. Her works of fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, Ploughshares, and The Harvard Review. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, she has been a teaching fellow at Bread Loaf and a teaching fellow at the Radcliffe Institute. From 1999–2008 she was a Scholar in the Women’s Studies Research Center Scholars Program at Brandeis University. She works as a public defender and lives with her wife in Boston.

Joanna Schaffhausen

All the Best Lies

The highly anticipated third novel in the award-winning Ellery Hathaway mystery series.

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department gave up hope of solving the case - but then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins; his murdered mother; and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham.

Joanna Schaffhausen wields a mean scalpel, skills developed in her years studying neuroscience. She has a doctorate in psychology, which reflects her long-standing interest in the brain—how it develops and the many ways it can go wrong. Previously, she worked for ABC News, writing for programs such as World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and 2020. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter.

Ben Gundersheimer

Lilah Tov Good Night

As the moon rises, a family steps into the night on a journey toward a new beginning. Along the way their little girl delights in the wonders of nature, saying good night–lilah tov–to the creatures and landscapes they pass. Wherever she looks–on land, in the sky above and even, eventually, in the water below her boat–there are marvels to behold. “Lilah tov to the birds in the trees, lilah tov to the fish in the sea.” When their travels are finally over, her parents tuck her in tight, safe and ready for dreams in their new home.

A former teacher with a Masters of Education, Ben Gundersheimer (aka Mister G) is a Latin GRAMMY Award winner for Best Children’s Album, and has been called “a bilingual rock star” by the Washington Post and “irresistible” by People magazine. His dynamic, original music has won praise from the Boston Globe, Chicago Sun Times, New York Post, and Parents magazine. He tours internationally headlining major venues in cities including New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Austin, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New Orleans. He also wrote the picture book Señorita Mariposa. He lives in Whately, Massachusetts.

Javad Djavahery in conversation with Emma Ramadan

My Part of Her

“A searing novel, by Iranian exile Djavahery, of love and betrayal in a time of revolution…. Djavahery’s novel is an aching evocation of paradise lost, one that is impossible to regain, even in our narrator’s searching dreams. Vivid, shattering, and utterly memorable.”

Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

For our unnamed confessor, the summer months spent on the Caspian Sea during the 1970s are a magically transformative experience. There, he is not the “poor relative from the North,” but a welcome guest at his wealthy cousin Nilou’s home and the gatekeeper of her affections. He revels in the power of orchestrating the attentions of her many competing admirers, granting and denying access to her would-be lovers and divulging intimate details of her life. In a moment of jealousy and youthful bravado, he betrays and humiliates an unlikely suitor, unwittingly setting into motion a series of events that will have drastic repercussions for all of them as the country is forever transformed by the Iranian Revolution a few short years later.

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Over the course of twenty years, the lingering effects of that summer propel the friends in their vastly different responses to radicalization as the country is plunged into political and cultural turmoil with the rise of a strict religious regime. Their surprising final reunion reveals the consequences of revenge and self-preservation as they each must decide whether and how to forget the past. In My Part of Her, translated from French by Emma Ramadan, celebrated exiled Iranian author Javad Djavahery captures the innocence of youth, the folly of love, and the capriciousness of fate as these friends find themselves on opposing sides of the seismic rifts of history.

About the author:

Javad Djavahery was forced to leave Iran at the age of twenty, escaping to France as a political refugee, and is now based in Paris. Djavahery has produced several films and writes screenplays and fiction. He has two short story collections in Persian and two novels in French. My Part of Her is his English-language debut.

About the translator:

Emma Ramadan is a literary translator based in Providence, RI where she is the co-owner of Riffraff bookstore and bar. She is the recipient of a PEN/Heim grant, an NEA translation grant, and a Fulbright fellowship for her translation work.

Kerri Maher

The Girl in the White Gloves

Grace knows what people see. She’s the Cinderella story. An icon of glamor and elegance frozen in dazzling Technicolor. The picture of perfection. The girl in white gloves. But behind the lens, beyond the panoramic views of glistening Mediterranean azure, she knows the truth.

Kerri Maher is the author of The Kennedy Debutante, and This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World under the name Kerri Majors. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and founded YARN, an award-winning literary journal of short-form YA writing. A writing professor for many years, she now writes full time and lives with her daughter and dog in a leafy suburb west of Boston.

Noé Álvarez

Spirit Run

An electrifying debut memoir from the son of working-class Mexican immigrants, Noé Álvarez fled a life of labor in fruit-packing plants to run in an Indigenous marathon from Canada to Guatemala. Running through mountains, deserts, cities, and the territory his parents left behind, Álvarez forges a new relationship with the land, and with the act of running, carrying with him the knowledge of his parents’ migration, and–against all odds, in a society that exploits his body and rejects his spirit–the dream of a liberated future.

Noé Álvarez was born to Mexican immigrant parents and raised working-class in Yakima, Washington. He holds degrees in philosophy and creative writing from Whitman College and Emerson College, respectively. He studied conflict analysis, peacemaking, and conflict resolution at American University and in Northern Ireland, received a fellowship at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, and researched U.S. drug policy, military aid, and human rights issues in Colombia’s Putumayo jungles. He lives in Boston, where, until recently, he worked as a security officer at the Boston Athenæum.

Katherine Stewart

The Power Worshippers

Katherine Stewart shows that the real power of the American religious right lies in a dense network of think tanks, policy and legal advocacy groups, and pastoral organizations, embedded in a growing network of international alliances with like-minded religious nationalists around the world. The Power Worshippers is a brilliantly reported book of warning and a wake-up call.

Katherine Stewart is one of the leading authorities on the political aspects of the Religious Right. The author of The Good News Club, she contributes to the New York Times, the American Prospect, the Washington Post, the Nation, the Guardian, the Advocate, Slate, and the Atlantic. In 2014, she was named Person of the Year by the national civil liberties group Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Erin Dionne

Balletball

Nini loves everything about ballet–the sparkles, the costumes, the twirling! But in the spring there’s only baseball practice. Baseball is nothing like ballet. Or is it?

Erin Dionne is the author of the picture book Captain’s Log: Snowbound and several middle-grade novels, including Lights, Camera, Disaster and Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking, an Edgar Award nominee. Erin is an associate professor of liberal arts at Montserrat College of Art in Massachusetts.

Mark Rader

The Wanting Life

The Wanting Life tells the intertwined stories of three Novak family members: Father Paul, a closeted gay Catholic priest who’s dying of cancer and has secrets he desperately wants to share; Britta, his self-destructive sister and caretaker, who’s struggling to find meaning in a world without her beloved husband; and Maura, a 39-year-old artist torn between family and the man she believes is her one, true love.

Mark Rader has had stories published in Glimmer Train, Epoch, The Southern Review and shortlisted for an O. Henry Award, the Best American Non-Required Reading anthology, and a Pushcart Prize. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons.

Helen Epstein (Franci Rabinek Epstein)

Franci's War

The engrossing memoir of a spirited and glamorous young fashion designer who survived World War ll, with an afterword by her daughter, Helen Epstein, who joins us for this event. Franci’s War is the powerful testimony of one incredibly strong young woman who endured the horrors of the Holocaust and survived.  »

Franci Rabinek Epstein was born into a privileged family in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1920 and educated at the Ecole Francaise, Lycee de Prague, and the Deutsches Staatsrealgymnasium before dropping out to apprentice in her mother’s haute-couture Salon. At 18, Franci became the owner of the Salon and in 1940 she married Joe Solar. She regarded the Nazi concentration camps as her university. After liberation, she returned to Prague and married Kurt Epstein in 1946. In 1948, after the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, she emigrated to New York City and established a new fashion salon on the Upper West Side. She lectured at universities on her experience during the war before dying of a brain aneurysm in 1989.

Helen Epstein is a veteran arts journalist and author or translator of ten books of non-fiction including the trilogy Children of the Holocaust, Where She Came From: A Daughter’s Search for Her Mother’s History; and The Long Half-Lives of Love and Trauma. Born in Prague, she grew up in New York City. Her reviews and articles have appeared in many newspapers, magazines, and websites.

Loree Griffin Burns

You're Invited to a Moth Ball

Kids are usually asleep when moths come out at night. But discovering the diverse moth population is simple–stay up late and set up a party for moths! Nature centers and museums host events called Moth Balls each summer, but kids can create their own right at home with this handy guide.

Loree Griffin Burns is an award-winning writer who holds a PhD in biochemistry. Each of her books draws heavily on both her passion for nature and her experience as a working scientist. She is the author of Life on Surtsey: Iceland’s Upstart Island; Citizen Scientist: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery in Your Own Back Yard; and Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It.