Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Biographers in the House?

If you're a biographer or historian, you really need to attend The Compleat Biographer Conference. This year, on May 21 at the National Press Club in Washington DC, the Biographers International Organization will be hosting its 2nd annual conference.

It's an amazing chance to network and learn from renowned biographers, agents, editors, publicity directors, librarians, archivists, and social networking experts. Highlights of the daylong conference include sixteen workshops on such topics as organizing your research, funding your work, turning research into narrative, interview techniques, writing the young adult biography as well as an opportunity to participate in Agent Speed Dating {maybe attend the Author/Agent Fit workshop first...}

The luncheon keynote address will be given by none other than NYSL trustee Robert Caro. NYSL Member Stacy Schiff will be interviewed and will sign copies of her latest blockbuster biography Cleopatra at an end of day reception.

May 21, 2011
The National Press Club
Washington DC

Conference Information

Monday, March 28, 2011

Open Mic. Closed Mic.

Ok, so I admit that it really isn't an Open Mic. You can't just show up and expect to read. But the 16 Library members that signed up in advance and read from their newly published or work in progress were terrifically entertaining nonetheless. We had a packed house for the Library's 4th Open Mic (Closed Mic?) last Thursday night.

As I was acting as hostess and emcee, I had the unenviable job of marking time and enforcing the 5 minute reading rule. I may have been as nervous as the writers, my heart racing as the timer I was using clicked down the seconds; as a result, I surely missed some nuances in the readings and I definitely couldn't take down notes as I had hoped. In any case, here's a rundown on the evening...If you were there, please feel free to add your two cents to the comments below.

Someone has to go first and that job fell to Betsy Hulick, a member of the Library's poetry writing group, who read two potent poems from a collection called Shorts {along with one referencing a certain male anatomical part that got a good laugh}.

Fiction was well represented on Thursday. The first of 7 fiction offerings began with E.E. Liberty's forthcoming spy thriller Aquarius. Carol Rial, who runs the Great Reads reading group at NYSL, gave us a taste of Another Manhattan, her novel in progress.

Donald Paneth then stirred up the journalist-heavy crowd with a scathing critique of the current media with his Proposal for a new type of newspaper. The missive prompted a number of readers who followed him to out themselves as journalists to the crowd.

Former WSJ reporter {as we now know} Lauren Lipton, author of The Mating Rituals of the North American WASP, read from her as yet unnamed new novel.

Lauren Lipton

Unusual for our Open Mics, there were only 3 poets on the program. Carlyn Parker mused about a life of traveling and then finding herself widowed with an empty nest in a series of poems from her book Riding the Waves: A Memoir in Poetry and Prose.

Eric Best, another former journalist {San Francisco Examiner}, read the prologue from his moving and emotional memoir Into My Father's Wake. CUNY biology professor Sally G. Hoskins then changed the tone with a dose of canine insight in Doggedly Dreaming, a hilarious, laugh out loud essay from her book in progress called Not As Expected: A Scientist Looks at 21st Century Life.

Sally G. Hoskins is Doggedly Dreaming

A Portuguese Fado singer in Providence, RI is the protagonist in Cathy Torigian's atmospheric novel in progress, Fatima, who we first heard at Open Mic II.

Jack Levin then gave us What Men Don't Know {in only 5 minutes!}, a theater work in progress, which he later confessed he wrote the night before.

The remaining fiction came from Marion Cuba, author of Shanghai Legacy, who read from her latest historical fiction in progress, The Crucible of Vichy and Gary Schlesinger shared a chapter of his novel A Son and A Father, which is currently in revision.

Playwright C.S. Hanson called on friend and actor Vince Gatton to help read a scene from Etruscan Lovers and Other Fools, which was developed at LaMama and just finished a run at The Cornwall Town Hall in Cornwall, CT.

C.S. Hanson and Vince Gatton

From Sydney LeBlanc, we learned that x=3 (or it should, anyway) from the first chapter of her humorous memoir of growing up in Louisiana, Escape Velocity.

As the readings wound down, another journalist, Patricia Lawler Kenet read her short story Jeremy's Dream. And the Library's very own Alan Behler closed the readings with two powerful poems, one an ode to his vanishing hometown, Detroit.

After the readings, member writers and audience members finished up the wine and snacks and mingled and networked. We took a few pictures once we remembered we had a camera. Here's a link to all the snaps.

Thanks again to all our readers and to the rapt audience for a great evening!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Remembering Steven Kroll

All of us at the Library were saddened by the news that member writer Steven Kroll died last week.

Steven Kroll presenting A Neighborhood of Stories with young fans at the Library last April.

Head Librarian Mark Bartlett shared the following remembrance of Steven:

"I was so saddened to hear that author and Library member Steven Kroll died last week.

Steven was a lovely and kind man. We first met two years ago at his good friend Richard Peck's book launch for A Season of Gifts. The Children's Library was so pleased to feature Steven as part of our National Library Week month-long celebration in April 2010. In a presentation called "Neighborhood of Stories", he spoke about the inspiration for his storytelling. He entertained an appreciative audience of kids, parents and Library staff. Steven signed a copy of the Library week poster and it hangs in my office in the Library. My sister is a school teacher in Toronto and I'm happy to note that I gave her two of Steven's recent books, which she uses in her classroom library."

Steven was the author of over ninety books for children and young adults, including Jungle Bullies (2009) and The Biggest Pumpkin Ever (1984). A tribute to Steven can be found on the PEN American Center website. He will be missed.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Unexpected New York with Sandy Miller

Member Sandy Miller discusses his latest book Unexpected New York at the Brooklyn Historical Society on Sunday.

Sunday, March 13, 2pm
Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Jonathan Franzen and Jhumpa Lahiri at the New School on Friday

NYSL member Jonathan Franzen (Freedom) and Jhumpa Lahiri (Unaccustomed Earth) will read from their latest novels tomorrow at the New School.

Friday, March 11, 7 pm
The New School

Tishman Auditorium, Alvin Johnson/J. M. Kaplan Hall, 66 West 12th Street
$10 register by email: boxoffice@newschool.edu or call: 212.229.5488.

Tonight's Event with Laura J. Snyder Postponed

Unfortunately, for medical reasons, member Dr. Laura J. Snyder has had to postpone tonight's event on her new book The Philosophical Breakfast Club .

It will now take place on Thursday, April 7, at 6:30 p.m. in the Members’ Room. Anyone currently registered has a confirmed space for the new date; if you have prepaid, that will carry over.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters

Congratulations to members Louis Begley and Robert A.M. Stern who have been voted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Academy is a distinguished honor society of 250 architects, composers, artists, and writers. Election to the Academy is a singular honor for Americans in the arts.

Louis Begley is the author of 11 books of fiction and non-fiction. Wartime Lies was a finalist for the National Book Award and About Schmidt was made into a movie starring Jack Nicholson. His non-fiction includes his latest work, the highly acclaimed Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters.

Robert A.M. Stern is an award winning architect whose work has been classified as postmodernist. He is Dean of the Yale School of Architecture and is the author of numerous books on architecture, including the National Book Award finalist New York 1930

Begley and Stern join NYSL members Robert Caro, Joan Didion, Jules Feiffer, Francine du Plessix Gray, Shirley Hazzard, and Tom Wolfe as members of the Academy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Support your fellow member writers

Hi all, just a reminder that there's still time to register for this Thursday's talk at the Library...

Library member Laura J. Snyder will discuss her new book The Philosophical Breakfast Club about how a small group of men working in the early nineteenth century made a number of significant discoveries and, together, brought about a scientific revolution.

Thursday, March 10, 6:30pm
Members' Room
$10 with advance registration/$15 at the door

Friday, March 4, 2011

Monday night events

Some options for Monday, March 7:

FDR's Funeral Train: A Betrayed Widow, a Soviet Spy, and a Presidency in the Balance
Author Robert Klara discusses his latest book at Books at the Bar
6 p.m. (reading and signing starts with a cocktail reception)
New York City Bar Association
42 W. 44th Street between 5th and 6th Aves

Linda Gordon: Picturing Women in the Great Depression
The popular image of women during the Great Depression is dominated by rural themes: mothers protecting their families from fierce dust storms and greedy bank managers, Ma Joad from The Grapes of Wrath, and Dorothea Lange’s iconic “Migrant Mother.” But as Denys Wortman’s vivid slice-of-life cartoons of New York in the depression show, urban women were also hit hard by the economic disaster.
6:30 p.m.
$6 when you mention the Writing Life blog
Reservations required: 917-492-3395 or e-mail programs@mcny.org
Museum of the City of New York
5th Ave at 103rd Street

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jules Feiffer in person Saturday

Looking for something to do this Saturday?
Library member Jules Feiffer will be at the Museum of the Moving Image this weekend for a screening and discussion of I Want to Go Home. Feiffer's script won a best screenplay award at the Venice Film Festival for this spoof of comic strips, Gershwin music, and pulp fiction.

Directed by Alain Resnais and starring Adolph Green, Linda Lavin, GĂ©rard Depardieu.

Saturday, March 5, 7pm
Museum of the Moving Image

36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, Queens
Free with museum admission
Event Info