Featured Author Event

Featured Author Event: Tommy Orange (Washington, DC)

Colleagues in Westminster take note: Knopf author Tommy Orange will be presenting his groundbreaking debut novel, THERE THERE, at Politics & Prose at the Wharf in Washington, DC on Monday, June 25.

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THERE THERE tells the tale of a nation and its people, shaped by violence and recovery, and memory and identity. The novel follows the paths of twelve individuals who share a common goal: to travel to the Big Oakland Powwow. While Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to reunite with the family she left behind in shame, Dene Oxendene is recovering from his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow in order to pay respect to his uncle’s memory. Through his gripping and visceral prose, Orange evokes an urgency regarding the plight of the urban Native American who faces a new kind of violence—one that takes the form of addiction, abuse, and suicide. Yet he also illustrates a coming to terms with a history of suffering and loss, and a remembrance of beauty and tradition. Tommy Orange was born and raised in Oakland, California, and is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, 2014 MacDowell Fellow, and 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow.

Featured Author Event: H. Jon Benjamin (NYC)

Actor, author and comedian H. Jon Benjamin is launching his new Dutton book, FAILURE IS AN OPTION: An Attempted Memoir, at The Strand in New York City on Tuesday, May 1, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Benjamin is best known for voicing characters, including Sterling Archer in Archer, Bob Belcher in Bob’s Burgers, Dr. Katz in Dr. Katz, and Jason in Home Movies. He will be joined at The Strand by fellow comedian, actor and writer Eugene Mirman, known for playing Yvgeny Mirminsky on Delocated, and voicing Gene Belcher on Bob’s Burgers.

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In his book, Benjamin reminds everyone that as great as success can be, failure is also an option. And maybe the best option. Breaking down one's natural ability to succeed is not an easy task, but also not an impossible one. Society as we know it is, unfortunately, opposes failure. If failure became more accepted it would make the world a different place, a kinder, gentler place, where gardens are overgrown and most people stay home with their pets. A vision of failure, but also a vision of freedom. With stories, examples of artistic and literary failure, and a powerful can't-do attitude, FAILURE IS AN OPTION is the book the world doesn't need right now but will get regardless. Fun bonus fact: H. Jon Benjamin’s first job in NYC was at The Strand!  

Featured Author Event: David Reich (Washington D.C.)

Westminster colleagues take note: Pantheon author David Reich will be discussing his groundbreaking book, WHO WE ARE AND HOW WE GOT HERE: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past, on Thursday, April 26, in Washington, D.C in the Rasmuson Theater at the National Museum of the American Indian, as part of the Smithsonian Inside Science Program. The event will begin at 6:45 p.m., with Reich’s talk followed by a book signing.

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In WHO WE ARE AND HOW WE GOT HERE, Reich allows readers to discover how the human genome provides not only all the information a human embryo needs to develop but also the hidden story of our species. Reich delves into how the genomic revolution is transforming our understanding of modern humans and how DNA studies reveal deep inequalities among different populations, between the sexes, and among individuals. Provocatively, Reich’s book suggests that there might very well be biological differences among human populations but that these differences are unlikely to conform to common stereotypes. David Reich, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, is one of the world’s leading pioneers in analyzing ancient human DNA. In a 2015 article in Nature, he was names on of ten people who matter in all of the sciences for his contribution to transforming ancient DNA data “from niche pursuit to industrial process.” Awards he has received include the Newcomb Cleveland Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Dan David Prize in the Archaeological and Natural Sciences for his computational discovery of intermixing between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.

Featured Author Event: Lesley Nneka Arimah (NYC)

Riverhead author Lesley Nneka Arimah shares her award-winning, dazzlingly accomplished debut story collection, WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MAN FALLS FROM THE SKY, at The Strand in Manhattan on Monday, April 23. Lesley will discuss her stories with fellow author Alice Sola Kim, from 7:30 to 8:30 pm, in the bookstore’s second floor Art Department.

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Arimah’s stories explore the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends, to one another and to the places they call home. The New York Times Book Review offered high praise: “Strange and wonderful… a witty, oblique and mischievous storyteller, Arimah can compress a family history into a few pages and invent utopian parables, magical tales and nightmare scenarios while moving deftly between comic distancing and insightful psychological realism…her science fiction parables, with their ecological and feminist concerns, recall those of Margaret Atwood. But it would be wrong not to hail Arimah’s exhilarating originality: She is conducting adventures in narrative on her own terms, keeping her streak of light, that bright ember, burning fiercely, undimmed.” Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up in Nigeria and the United States. Her work has received grants and awards from the Commonwealth Writers, the Elizabeth George Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, Breadloaf and others. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honor and is the recipient of an O’Henry Award, the 2017 Kirkus Prize, and is a Society of Midland Authors 2017 honoree.

Featured Author Event: Claire Dederer (Seattle)

Attention colleagues in the Pacific Northwest: Tonight author Claire Dederer is launching the paperback edition of LOVE AND TROUBLE: A Midlife Reckoning (Vintage) at the University Book Store on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, beginning at 7:00 p.m. (PDT). She will be read from her book, and following a Q&A, sign copies for attendees.

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Named one of the best books of the year by Kirkus Reviews, LOVE AND TROUBLE is a ferocious, sexy, hilarious memoir about going off the rails at midlife, when Dederer developed a sudden yearning for jailbreak. Trying to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become, she reflects on two periods in her life uncannily similar in their emotional intensity: her present experience as a middle-aged mom in the grip of unruly and mysterious new hungers, and her recollections of herself as a teenager. “Sentence for sentence, a more pleasure-yielding midlife memoir is hard to think of.” —The Atlantic Dederer is also the author of the New York Times bestseller POSER: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, and is a book critic, essayist, and reporter. A longtime contributor to the New York Times, she has also written for The Atlantic, Vogue, Slate, The Nation, and New York Magazine, among other publications.  
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Featured Author Event: Leila Slimani (Berkeley)

Northern California colleagues take note: author Leila Slimani, winner of the Prix Goncourt in France, will be discussing her novel, THE PERFECT NANNY (Penguin Books), at the new Women Lit program at the Bay Area Book Festival Theater on Sunday, April 8. Translated by Sam Taylor, THE PERFECT NANNY was named one of 2018’s Most Anticipated Books by NPR’s Weekend Edition, Real Simple, The Millions, The Guardian, Bustle, and Book Riot. Join Leila at Peet’s Theater at the Berkeley Repertory, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 p.m., followed by a book signing.

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Building tension with every page, THE PERFECT NANNY is a compulsive, riveting, bravely observed exploration of power, class, race, domesticity, motherhood, and madness—and the American debut of an immensely talented writer. When Myriam decides to return to work as a lawyer after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect nanny for their son and daughter. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite, devoted woman who sings to the children, cleans the family’s chic Paris apartment, stays late without complaint, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau. “I think this might be one of the most important books of the year. You can’t unread it. . . . If you’ve ever taken care of a kid, even if, just on a bus, someone has handed you a child for five seconds as they rummage through their purse, this will do something to you. . . . At the end of reading this book, I was so devastated, but I really felt like I was looking at the world through new eyes.” —Barrie Hardymon, NPR’s Weekend Edition Leila Slimani is the first Moroccan (and pregnant) woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt, which she won for THE PERFECT NANNY. A journalist and frequent commentator on women’s and human rights, she is French president Emmanuel Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture. Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1981, she now lives in Paris with her French husband and their two young children.

Featured Author Event: Brian Castner (Denver)

Colleagues in Colorado take note: Doubleday author Brian Castner is presenting his new book, DISAPPOINTMENT RIVER: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage, at the Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver on Thursday, March 22.  His talk begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be followed by a book signing. 

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In 1789, fourteen years before Lewis and Clark, Alexander Mackenzie traveled 1200 miles on the immense river in Canada that now bears his name, in search of the fabled Northwest Passage that had eluded mariners for hundreds of years. What he found was a river that he named “Disappointment.” Mackenzie died thinking he had failed. He was wrong. In 2016, Castner retraced Mackenzie's route by canoe in a grueling journey – and discovered the Passage he could not find.   DISAPPOINTMENT RIVER is a dual historical narrative and travel memoir that at once transports readers back to the heroic age of North American exploration and places them in a still rugged but increasingly fragile Arctic wilderness in the process of profound alteration by the dual forces of globalization and climate change. Brian Castner is a former Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer who received a Bronze Star for his service in the Iraq War.  He is also author of two other books, THE LONG WALK (2012) and All the Ways We Kill and Die (2016), and the co-editor of the anthology The Road Ahead (2017).

Featured Author Event: Ryan Holiday (Washington, D.C.)

Westminster colleagues take note: Portfolio author Ryan Holiday will be at Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C. on Friday, March 16, at 7:00 p.m. to talk about his new book, CONSPIRACY: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue.  Examining the case that rocked the media world, and the billionaire mastermind behind it, Holiday’s narrative is part cyber-era true-crime and part complex, thought-provoking investigation of questions of privacy and power in the digital age. 

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Holiday chronicles the chain of events that led to the fall of Gawker, which filed for bankruptcy in 2016. The company’s problems seemingly began in 2012, when, citing the First Amendment, Gawker founder Nick Denton refused to take down an illegally recorded video of Hulk Hogan with the estranged wife of a radio personality.  Hogan filed suit, claiming violation of his privacy rights, and was awarded $140 million. As Gawker shut down, Peter Thiel, the PayPal founder and venture capitalist, revealed that he had financed several lawsuits against Gawker, including Hogan’s, determined to get revenge on Gawker for having outed him as gay in 2007. In Holiday’s masterful telling of this nearly unbelievable conspiracy, informed by interviews with all the key players, this case transcends the narrative of how one billionaire took down a media empire or the current state of the free press.  It’s a study in power, strategy, and one of the most wildly ambitious–and successful–secret plots in recent memory. Holiday is also the bestselling author of TRUST ME I’M LYING: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, PERENNIAL SELLER: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts, and THE DAILY STOIC: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance and the Art of Living.  After dropping out of college at 19 to apprentice under Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power, Holiday went on to advise many bestselling authors and multiplatinum musicians, and served as director of marketing at American Apparel.  

Featured Author Event: Ian Buruma (NYC)

Author Ian Buruma will be presenting his latest book, A TOKYO ROMANCE: A Memoir (Penguin Press) on Thursday, March 8 at 7:00 pm at McNally Jackson Books in NYC. Buruma will be in conversation with Darryl Pinckney, followed by a book signing.

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When Buruma arrived in Tokyo in 1975, Japan was little more than an idea in his mind, a fantasy of a distant land. A sensitive misfit in the world of his upper middleclass youth, what he longed for wasn’t so much the exotic as the raw, unfiltered humanity he had experienced in Japanese theater performances and films, witnessed in Amsterdam and Paris. One particular theater troupe, directed by a poet of runaways, outsiders, and eccentrics, was especially alluring, more than a little frightening, and completely unforgettable. If Tokyo was anything like his plays, Buruma knew that he had to join the circus as soon as possible. A TOKYO ROMANCE is a portrait of a young artist and the fantastical city that shaped him. With his signature acuity, Ian Buruma brilliantly captures the historical tensions between east and west, the cultural excitement of 1970s Tokyo, and the dilemma of the gaijin in Japanese society, free, yet always on the outside. The result is a timeless story about the desire to transgress boundaries: cultural, artistic, and sexual. “Delicious… a wild ride through the late-20th-century Japanese avant-garde scene through the eyes of an innocent from across the sea.” — Kirkus, starred review Ian Buruma was educated in Holland and Japan. He has spent many years in Asia, which he has written about in God’s DustA Japanese Mirror, and Behind the Mask. He has also written Playing the GameThe Wages of Guilt, and Anglomania. Buruma is currently a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Institute for the Humanities in Washington, DC.

Featured Author Event: Amy Kaufman (NYC)

Be part of the launch of Amy Kaufman’s highly anticipated BACHELOR NATION: Inside The World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure (Dutton) at the Strand Book Store in NYC on Wednesday, March 7.  Amy will be in conversation with Emma Gray and Claire Fallon, hosts of Huffington Post’s Here to Make Friends podcast. The event will begin at 7:00 in the Rare Books Room, where wine will be served.  Please RSVP here.

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BACHELOR NATION is the first behind-the-scenes, unauthorized look into the reality television phenomenon. Los Angeles Times journalist Amy Kaufman is a proud member of Bachelor Nation and has a long history with the franchise–ABC even banned her from attending show events after her coverage of the program got a little too real for its liking. She has interviewed dozens of producers, contestants, and celebrity fans to give readers never-before-told details of the show’s inner workings: what it’s like to be trapped in the mansion “bubble”; dark, juicy tales of producer manipulation; and revelations about the alcohol-fueled debauchery that occurs long before the fantasy suite. Kaufman also explores what our fascination means, culturally: what the show says about the way we view so-called ideal suitors, our subconscious yearning for fairy-tale romance, and how this enduring television show has shaped society’s feelings about love, marriage, and feminism by appealing to a marriage plot that’s as old as Jane Austen. Amy Kaufman is a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, where she has covered film, celebrity, and pop culture since 2009. On the beat, she reports from industry events like the Academy Awards, the Sundance Film Festival and the Grammys. In addition to profiling hundreds of stars–Lady Gaga, Julia Roberts, Stevie Nicks, Jane Goodall–she has broken major investigative stories on sexual harassment in Hollywood.