As an ardent book lover, I've always loved hearing authors talk about their work. I've had questions answered, seen characters and plot lines in a new light, and learned what books inspire the authors who inspire me.
Among the many difficult and disheartening transitions wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, one bright spot for me has been watching the ways that those who bring authors to bookstores, stages, and festivals have pivoted to provide programs on virtual platforms. I'll always be a true believer in the magic of having people share experiences together in one room--a magic that underlies the power of live theater, music, and more. But author talks can move online with much of their real life essence intact, still creating connections between writers and readers.
These upcoming programs provide opportunities to hear some exciting Jewish writers, right in your own home, while you support bookstores and publishers and discover new titles to explore.
With everything more fluid than usual these days, I suggest that you check websites for details and to confirm.
Nancy Pearl and Jeff Schwager on THE WRITER'S LIBRARY
Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. central
If there was such a thing as a Rockstar librarian, it would be Nancy Pearl, book commentator for NPR's
, founder of
, and former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book. (There is even a librarian action figure modeled in her likeness.) For
The Writer's Library
, Pearl and playwright Jeff Schwager interviewed 23 notable American writers (among them, Michael Chabon, Jennifer Egan, and Ayelet Waldman) about the books that shaped them. Pearl and Schwager will be in conversation with author Laurie Frankel (
This Is How It Always Is
), one of the writers featured in the book.
Jami Attenberg on ALL THIS COULD BE YOURS
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020 at 7pm central
Local Chicago bookstore Women & Children First hosts Jami Attenberg (author of
All Grown Up
, which would be a wonderfully upbeat choice to read during quarantine). Attenberg will be talking about her newest novel of complicated family dynamics,
All This Could Be Yours
. Joining her will be author Susan Choi.
Brooklyn Book Festival
Sept. 28-Oct. 5, 2020
I've always wanted to attend the Brooklyn Book Festival, but the timing never quite worked out. This year, I'll be there from my couch.
Among the star writers on the festival's impressive lineup (Bill Buford, Joyce Carol Oates, Salman Rushdie, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Colson Whitehead, among them) are a diverse, international selection of young Jewish writers.
Look for best-selling graphic novelist Isabel Greenberg (
The One Hundred Nights of Hero
Glass Town: The Imaginary World of the Brontës
), Ilana Masad (
All My Mother's Lovers
), Paris Review editor Emily Nemens (
The Cactus League
), and Andrés Neuman (
Traveler of the Century
Susan Mailer on IN ANOTHER PLACE: WITH AND WITHOUT MY FATHER, NORMAN MAILER
Sunday, Nov. 15 at 6pm central
When her parents divorced in 1952, Susan Mailer--the oldest of Norman Mailer's nine children from his six wives--moved with her mother to Mexico. In her memoir, Mailer shares what it was like to shuttle between her two parents and two countries as she endeavored to emerge from the shadow of her father's fame. Mailer will be in conversation with Norman Mailer's authorized biographer, J. Michael Lennon.
To explore in the months ahead
Are there bookstores you've enjoyed in places you've visited? Check out their websites for schedules of upcoming events. My favorites for excellent event line-ups include the Strand in New York (strandbooks.com/events) and Politics & Prose in DC (politics-prose.com/events). For Jewish writers in particular, check out the Jewish Book Council (jewishbookcouncil.org), the Jewish Women's Archive (jwa.org/events), the Yiddish Book Center (yiddishbookcenter.org), and my home base at Spertus Institute (spertus.edu/programs-events), where we'll be presenting online events with celebrated Israeli author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen (Waking Lions, Liar) on Dec. 6, and Obama speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz (Here All Along) on Jan. 11.
Betsy Gomberg reads (and sometimes writes about) Jewish books. She is Spertus Institute's Director of Marketing and Communications.