52nd ANNUAL RICHARD D. WHITTEMORE
BOOK & AUTHOR VIRTUAL PROGRAM
FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2021
12 noon – 1:30 p.m. via Zoom
Geraldine Brooks, Novelist
Blake Bailey, Author of Philip Roth: The Biography
with Moderator Susan Isaacs
Cost: $50 per person
The Friends of the Library (FOL) is proud to present acclaimed authors Geraldine Brooks and Blake Bailey (see bios below). For the first time our Book & Author, the FOL’s sole fundraising event, will be held virtually on the Zoom Webinar platform. The program’s 90-minute format will be very similar to that of our traditional luncheon. Program Moderator Susan Isaacs will introduce our two featured authors, and FOL President Amy Bass will serve as emcee and lead the popular Q&A session.
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If you have questions of any kind contact FOL board member Karen Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-428-1104.
Note: Zoom is a free application. If you do not already have Zoom on your computer or the device you are using to access the event, please be assured your web browser will enable it automatically when you join your first Zoom event. If that is the case, we ask that 15 minutes before the start of the program you click the link in your confirmation email that says “Click Here to Join” (it will also be in the email reminders you will receive) to ensure that your settings are correctly configured.
IF YOU CANNOT ATTEND BUT WISH TO DONATE in support of the Book & Author Virtual Program and the FOL, click here: pwpl.org/fol/support.
BE A SPONSOR of the Book & Author Virtual Program, the FOL’s sole fundraising event. Individual and business sponsors are sought beginning at $250. Sponsorships include complimentary tickets and extensive publicity, including on-screen during the event. For information on sponsorships contact FOL board member Karen Sloan at email@example.com or 516-428-1104.
About the Featured Authors and Moderator
Geraldine Brooks is the acclaimed author of five novels: the Pulitzer Prize-winning March; the international bestsellers Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, and Year of Wonders; and, most recently, The Secret Chord. She has also written the notable nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Her first novel, Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, continues to be an international bestseller and has been translated into more than 25 languages. It tracks a housemaid’s perseverance and heroism as the bubonic plague overtakes a British village in 1666. Brooks told the FOL: “My remarks will primarily focus on Year of Wonders, which I wrote 20 years ago, never dreaming that we would be facing a pandemic in our lifetime. I will also share some thoughts about Horse, my new novel due to be published early next year.” Horse is a “braided narrative” set in three time periods: the racing world of the mid-19th century, the birth of Abstract Expressionism in New York City in the 1940s, and the present day at the Smithsonian Museums. Australian-born Brooks is an author and journalist. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald before attending the journalism master’s program at Columbia University. She later worked for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans. In 1990, with her husband Tony Horwitz, she won the Overseas Press Club Award for best coverage of the Gulf War. Horwitz, who was a featured speaker at the FOL’s Book & Author program in 2009, died in 2019. Brooks lives by an old mill pond on Martha’s Vineyard, and spends as much time as possible in Australia.
Blake Bailey is the renowned biographer of John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Charles Jackson. His recently published book, Philip Roth: The Biography, was named one of the most anticipated books of 2021 by Oprah Magazine, Associated Press, The Guardian, Financial Times, and many others, and has been acclaimed as the definitive portrait of a literary titan. Appointed by Roth and granted independence and complete access, Bailey spent years poring over Roth’s personal archive, interviewing his friends, lovers, and colleagues, and engaging Roth himself in breathtakingly candid conversations. Bailey shows how Roth emerged from a lower-middle-class Jewish milieu to achieve the heights of literary fame, how his career was nearly derailed by his catastrophic first marriage, and how he championed the work of dissident novelists behind the Iron Curtain. Bailey examines Roth’s rivalrous friendships with Saul Bellow, John Updike, and William Styron, and reveals the truths of his florid love life. Bailey remarked to the FOL: “Philip told me ‘Don’t try to rehabilitate me,’ when he chose me as his authorized biographer in 2012. ‘Just make me interesting.’ I hope I did.” Bailey is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians, and a finalist for the Pulitzer and James Tait Black Prizes. His previous book, The Splendid Things We Planned, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography. He lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter.
Susan Isaacs was dubbed “Jane Austen with a shmear” by NPR’s book critic. Among her fourteen novels are Compromising Positions, Shining Through, Lily White, and most recently Takes One to Know One. Before she took to books, she was an editor at Seventeen magazine as well as a political speechwriter. An alumna of Queens College, Isaacs serves on the Emeritus Board of the literary organization Poets & Writers and is a past president of Mystery Writers of America. She belongs to the National Book Critics Circle, PEN, and the International Association of Crime Writers. Among her honors are the John Steinbeck Award, the Writers for Writers Award, and the Marymount Manhattan Writing Center prize. Her next novel (and second of a series), Bad, Bad Seymour Brown, will be published next year. Isaacs, a longtime support of the PWPL and the Friends, said she is “over the moon” to appear with this year’s featured authors. She has served as program moderator for the Book & Author program for more than a decade. To honor her, the Friends sponsors the Susan Isaacs Collection, which contains books on issues related to women and the workplace that are marked with a special bookplate. Isaacs lives with her husband, a criminal defense lawyer, in Port Washington.