Tag Archive | "literature"

Critic and Essayist Daphne Merkin at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor

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By Tessa Raebeck

Daphne Merkin, called “one of the most daring and ruminative writers of our time” by her editors at The New York Times Magazine, will be at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor on Saturday, September 13, at 5 p.m.

A literary critic, essayist and novelist, Ms. Merkin has written a novel, two collections of essays and columns and reviews. She has written for such publications as The New Republic, The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine and is a regular contributor to ELLE.

At Canio’s, Ms. Merkin will read from her latest collection of essays, “The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, The Brontes and The Importance of Handbags,” released in 2014.

“Merkin’s hilarious and insightful essays include self-revelatory reflections on personal appearance (lip gloss, pedicures), accounts of personal obsessions, thoughts about fashion and celebrities, and more,” Canio’s said in a press release.

The book includes essays on Betty Friedan, Diane Keaton and Truman Capote.

Kirkus Review said Ms. Merkin’s work consists of “essays that go down like candy but nourish like health food.”

Canio’s Books is located at 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-4926 or visit caniosbooks.com.

Chariots of Firefighters: The Practice of Firematic Competition in New York State

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Firematic Competition. Photo by Michael Heller.

Firematic Competition. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Tessa Raebeck

Award-winning—and Sag Harbor Express—photographer and journalist Michael Heller has continued his documentation of the friendly competition of fire departments in “Chariots of Firefighters: The History and Practice of Firematic Competition in New York State—Volume II: The Practice.” “Volume I: The History” was published in 2009.

The histories, the second of which Mr. Heller spent the last five years writing, chronicle the birth and rise of inter-department contests over 200 years and the present practice of modern-day firematic competition, with detailed descriptions and historic photographs alongside Mr. Heller’s stunning work.

“It is an in-depth look into a unique culture and facet of the world of firefighting in the United States that is unparalleled anywhere else in the entire world,” said a press release about the books, which chronicle a custom that is more prevalent in New York State than anywhere else.

An active volunteer firefighter with Hook & Ladder Co. #1 of the East Hampton Fire Department for the last 25 years, Mr. Heller has used his camera to document both fires and firematic competition. He has won numerous awards from the New York Press Association, the International Fire Photographers Association and other organizations for his writing and photography. In 2004, Mr. Heller took home the Grand Prize “Golden Firefighter Award” in the international photography Bombero de Oro (“Fire Photography Contest”) held in Spain.

Both volumes of “Chariots of Firefighters” are self-published and available for purchase here. For more information, email Mr. Heller at mheller@nysdrillteams.com. To see Mr. Heller’s portfolio, visit hellercreative.com.

One Hundred Writers Under One Tent for East Hampton Library’s 10th Annual Authors Night

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Philip Keith talks to an attendee at East Hampton Library's 9th Annual Authors Night in 2013. Photo courtesy of East Hampton Library.

Philip Keith talks to an attendee at East Hampton Library’s 9th Annual Authors Night in 2013. Photo courtesy of East Hampton Library.

By Tessa Raebeck

With bookstores closing their doors nationwide, one event continues to honor the feeling of a hardcover in your hand and the smell of fresh pages, rather than the glare of yet another screen. The 10th Annual Authors Night at East Hampton Library gathers a collection of over 100 celebrated authors in all genres — and thousands of their books — under one tent.

The library’s largest fundraising event, Authors Night started in 2005 with a few local authors, and has quickly grown to include some of the top writers from around the world. In previous years, the number of participants swelled to several hundred, but the library has scaled back to around 100 to “keep the focus on quality rather than quantity,” PR representative Keri Lamparter said.

On Saturday, August 9 at 5 p.m. at Gardiner Farm in East Hampton, newcomers and longtime participants, writers of cookbooks and suspense thrillers, and winners of Pulitzer Prizes and National Book Awards will sign books and talk shop with an expected 2,500 attendees.

“It’s the hugest book singing you’ve ever seen,” Ms. Lamparter said.

James McBride will sign copies of “The Good Lord Bird,” a comedic novel about the life of notorious abolitionist John Brown that won the 2013 National Book Award.

“I wanted to do an event that was book related and not just a dinner party or not just a gala, to celebrate the library,” said Sheila Rogers, who started Authors Night 10 years ago and remains on board as an event co-chair (and is currently unable to put down “The Good Lord Bird.”) “and [also] really engage the authors that are in our community. Then we expanded to authors from all over the world.”

Most of the writers share a personal connection to the East Hampton Library and many of the books being shared Saturday were written in the library’s study carrels.

Landscape historian and Sag Harbor resident Mac Griswold did the research for her biography about the Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island, “The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island,” at the library.

Broadcast journalist and author Lynn Sherr, who has written several books on prominent female American figures like Susan B. Anthony, lives in East Hampton. She will bring her latest book, “Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space,” published this year, to Authors Night.

“With every book, she makes sure that the East Hampton Library gets a copy of her book—and we’re so happy to have her,” Ms. Rogers said.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and part-time East Hampton resident Bob Caro, “the most wonderful author,” according to Ms. Rogers, is returning this year with a selection of his work. Best known for his biographies, the journalist and author will sign copies of “The Power Broker,” his 1974 biography of Robert Moses, who planned much of New York City, and “The Years of Lyndon Johnson,” a five-volume (four of which are written thus far) biography of the former president.

“They’re big books,” said Ms. Rogers, “they’re not a weekend read at the beach. You really learn something from these books and you learn something by going to a dinner party when he speaks, because he is probably the most knowledgeable person about Lyndon Johnson that exists on the planet.”

For an additional price, ticket holders can attend private dinner parties with a selection of authors at homes across the East End. With dinners at 32 private homes, it is “the largest simultaneous dinner party in East Hampton happening all at one time,” Ms. Lamparter said.

With every single book donated by its publishing company, the proceeds from Authors Night account for over 10-percent of the library’s operating budget.

“It’s really great because all of the proceeds go to the library and, obviously, the library is a non-profit and a really great cause,” Ms. Lamparter said. “And it also speaks to the literary tradition out here, the artists/writers literary tradition.”

“The most exciting thing,” added Ms. Rogers, “is really seeing how the writers feel about the event, how they love it, how important it is for them to get this exposure—to be part of it and to support the library. For me, it’s all about supporting the East Hampton Library.”

The book signing and cocktail reception will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Gardiner Farm, located at 36 James Lane in East Hampton. Tickets are $100. Dinner parties begin at 8 p.m. across the East End. Tickets include entry to the earlier book signing reception and range in price from $250 to $2,500. To purchase tickets and find more information, visit authorsnight.org/info.html.

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do August 1 to 3

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"Reclining Blue" by Christine Matthäi is on view at the Monika Olko Gallery In Sag Harbor.

“Reclining Blue” by Christine Matthäi is on view at the Monika Olko Gallery In Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

The roads are clogged, the beaches are packed and somehow August has arrived. You know what that means? There’s even more to do this weekend! Have some highlights on us:

 

The Neo-Political Cowgirls latest performance “VOYEUR” opened Thursday, July 31, and will run performances August 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9. An inside/out theatre installation on-site at Parsons Blacksmith Shop in Springs, “VOYEUR” examines friendship, womanhood and the boundaries of theatre. Click here for the full story and here for more information and tickets.

"SPLASH" by Kia Andrea Pedersen.

“SPLASH” by Kia Andrea Pedersen.

 

Saturday at the Monika Olko Gallery in Sag Harbor, friends, Shelter Island residents and fellow artists Christine Matthäi and Kia Andrea Pederson will showcase their latest work. Originally from Germany, Ms. Matthäi specializes in abstract photography. Ms. Pederson uses more earthy mediums. In the exhibition, “The Call of the Sea,” their work is joined together by its shared celebration of the ocean.

An opening reception will be held at the gallery, located at 95 Main Street in Sag Harbor, on Saturday, August 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit will be on view through August 22.

 

East Hampton welcomes David Sedaris, widely considered to be one of his generation’s best writers,
who will be hosting an evening at Guild Hall on Sunday, August 3. The humorist authored such bestsellers as “Naked,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim,” and “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.”

For more information, click here.

The evening starts at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a book signing. Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. Click here for tickets.

 

The Peconic Land Trust’s major event, Through Farms and Fields, is Sunday, August 3. The benefit features a country supper at hte property of Peconic Land Trust board member Richard Hogan and Carron Sherry, on historic Ward’s Point on Shelter Island. It will honor the conservation philanthropy of Barbara J. Slifka. There is an online auction, as well as a silent auction that will be held the night of the event.

Female Friendship, Literature and Obsession in “Shirley”

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By Tessa Raebeck

Author Susan Scarf Merrell will read from "Shirley" June 21 at BookHampton in Southampton.

Author Susan Scarf Merrell will read from “Shirley” June 21 at BookHampton in Southampton.

While writing “Shirley,” Susan Scarf Merrell worried for her protagonist, Rose. Rose is caught between the world in her own head and the real one outside of it in the novel, which examines themes of obsession, creativity and womanhood in the 1960s.

Shirley,” which Ms. Merrell will read from at BookHampton in Southampton Saturday, centers on the relationships that evolve when pregnant Rose and her husband Fred move in with celebrated writer Shirley Jackson and her husband, the literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman. With dark twists and multilayered characters, the historical fiction novel celebrates literature while delving into its underbelly.

“Reading both Shirley and Stanley’s letters, journal entries, essays and books, I began to hear the voice of Rose developing in my mind,” Ms. Scarf Merrell said in a press release. “The shift from researching a non-fiction work to beginning a novel was quite abrupt.”

“One sudden moment of realization (I was out in the woods walking my dog, and started taking notes using the voice recorder on my cell phone), and the project took on an entirely different form. But I think one of Shirley Jackson’s many gifts was an ability to massage real life events into fiction; in some ways, this was an inevitable turn of events for me,” she added.

“Jackson has always been one of the more intriguing and misunderstood writers of her generation, a woman writer at the cusp of feminism’s second wave who nevertheless was erroneously dismissed for writing mere ‘domestic fiction,’” Booklist said in a review of “Shirley.” “Merrell brings this complicated and compelling woman to life through the kind of taut and intimate thriller Jackson herself would have been proud to call her own.”

Susan Scarf Merrell will read from “Shirley” Saturday, June 21, at 5 p.m. at BookHampton, located at 16 Hampton Road in Southampton. For more information, call (631) 283-0270.

Writer, Poet and Activist Alexis De Veaux to Sign Latest Work “Yabo” at Canio’s in Sag Harbor

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By Tessa Raebeck

Poet, writer and activist Alexis De Veaux will be at Canio's Books in Sag Harbor at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 14.

Poet, writer and activist Alexis De Veaux will be at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 14.

Award-winning author Alexis De Veaux has two critical concerns: making the racial and sexual experiences of black female characters central and disrupting boundaries between forms.

In her latest fiction work, “Yabo,” Ms. De Veaux explores those concerns in a collection of prose and poetry. The activist author will be on hand Saturday, June 14, at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor to read excerpts, sign books and celebrate her new publication.

“O yes, there are other heres. Simultaneous to this one,” reads the prelude. “Echoes. Or did you think the story you were told, the story you grew up believing, repeating, about the past, present, and the future—and the commas you see here separating those stories—was all there is?”

As a writer for Essence Magazine in 1990, Ms. De Veaux was the first North American to interview Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison. She has traveled extensively as an artist and lecturer and has received multiple literary awards for her biographies of Billie Holiday and Audre Lorde.

Ms. De Veaux will read from “Yabo” and sign copies of her book at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 14 at Canio’s Books, 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor.

Sag Harbor Novelist Robert Boris Riskin Reading of “Deadly Secrets” at Canio’s Books

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Author Robert Boris Riskin.

Sag Harbor author Robert Boris Riskin.

By Tessa Raebeck

Sharing the latest adventures of crime solver Jake Wanderman, Sag Harbor resident and novelist Robert Boris Riskin will read from his new thriller, “Deadly Secrets,” on Saturday, June 7, at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor.

A detective with a knack for solving crimes and quoting Shakespeare, Jake travels to London and Paris to track down a “Hamptons murderer.”

Mr. Riskin first introduced Jake in his previous novel, “Deadly Bones,” a humorous but thrilling mystery novel. He also wrote “Scrambled Eggs,” a satirical look at the art world set on the East End.

Mr. Riskin’s reading on Saturday will begin at 5 p.m. Canio’s Books is located at 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-4926 or visit caniosbooks.com.

Artists as Babysitters: Gabrielle Selz Unveils Memoir on New York City Art Scene of the Sixties

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GabrielleSelzCover

By Tessa Raebeck

GabrielleSelzHeadshot

Gabrielle Selz.

Gabrielle Selz of Southampton will release her new memoir. “Unstill Life” at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill Friday.

The writer recounts her childhood growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in New York City, among art and artists during the peak of Abstract Expressionism. Ms. Selz’s father, Peter Selz, became the chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art shortly after her birth.

The family home was filled with artists like Mark Rothko and Willem De Kooning, and Ms. Selz recounts both the excitement and the ruin of the day.

Starting Friday, May 2 at 6 p.m., the evening includes a short film screening, a reading from “Unstill Life,” a book signing with Ms. Selz and a question and answer session with special guest Peter Selz.

For tickets and more information, visit parrishart.org/programs/662 or call 283-2118.

Dog Walks and Cocktails: Second Annual Steinbeck Festival at the Bay Street Theatre

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Artists recreate the "Grapes of Wrath" cover on their way to the Steinbeck Festival in Salinas, California last year. Image courtesy of the National Steinbeck Center.

Artists recreate the “Grapes of Wrath” cover on their way to the Steinbeck Festival in Salinas, California last year. Photo courtesy of the National Steinbeck Center.

By Tessa Raebeck

In 1960, John Steinbeck and his French poodle Charley left their home in Sag Harbor to drive across America, meeting with strangers and staying at campgrounds in an effort to reconnect with the country the 58-year-old Steinbeck had been writing about for decades.

As part of the 2nd Annual Steinbeck Festival at Bay Street Theatre May 1 to 4, the “Travels with Charley” Dog Walk will honor Mr. Steinbeck’s account of the journey, “Travels with Charley: In Search of America,” which became a bestseller.

Author John Steinbeck.

Author John Steinbeck.

In conjunction with the annual festival hosted by the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California, the author’s birthplace, Bay Street is hosting eight film screenings and other celebratory events across four days. The festival begins Thursday, May 1 with a screening of “Tortilla Flat,” the 1942 film adaptation of Mr. Steinbeck’s 1935 novel and first commercial success. The 1992 version of “Of Mice and Men” with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise and “Grapes of Wrath” starring Henry Fonda will screen on Saturday, May 3.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, “Grapes of Wrath” will be further honored at a cocktail reception at a private waterfront estate sponsored in part by Wölffer Estate Vineyard Saturday evening. While sipping on the namesake vintage of Wölffer winemaker Roman Roth, “The Grapes of Roth,” guests can view Mr. Steinbeck’s home and writing studio by boat from Upper Sag Harbor Cove.

At the “Travels with Charley” Dog Walk Sunday morning, dogs and their owners will walk a loop from Bay Street to Haven’s Beach and back, finishing the festival with a “Bones and Bagels” reception at the theatre.

For $150, the VIP Pass for the festival includes the cocktail reception, film festival and dog walk. The dog walk alone is $35, film festival passes are $30 and individual film tickets are $10 each. For tickets and information, call 725-9500 or visit baystreet.org.

Philip Schultz reads from “The Wherewithal” at Canio’s Books

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Author Philip Schultz will read at Canio's Books Saturday.

Author Philip Schultz will read at Canio’s Books Saturday.

By Tessa Raebeck

Poet, author and Pulitzer-prize winner Philip Schultz, of East Hampton, will return to Canio’s Books to read from his latest novel in verse form, “The Wherewithal” on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Called “one of the literary renditions of the Shoah I know,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Saul Friedlander, “The Wherewithal” tells the story of Henryk Wyrzykowski, a haunted young man taking refuge from the Vietnam War draft in a San Francisco basement. Using the time to translate his mother’s diaries concerning the Jedwabne pogrom, a massacre in July 1941, during the German occupation of Poland, of over 300 Polish Jews.

Mr. Schultz has authored a memoir, “My Dyslexia” and seven poetry books, earning a Pulitzer Prize for “Failure.” He is founder and director of the Writer’s Studio in New York City.

The reading will be Saturday, April 5 at 5 p.m. at Canio’s Books, 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 725.4926.