HEY KIDDO Aims to Help Kids With Addicted Parents Feel Less Alone

Courtesy of NPR, Fresh Air with Terry Gross
Posted October 16, 2018

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When author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka was in the fourth grade, his grandparents called him into the living room. "I remember thinking: Oh maybe we're going to go on another family vacation," he says. (The last time they called a family meeting he learned they were going to Disney World.)

But this wasn't that kind of family meeting. Krosoczka's grandparents had insisted on taking legal custody of him as a toddler — and they were about to tell him why.

"My grandfather sat me down on the couch," Krosoczka recalls. "And he said: 'It's time we tell you the truth about your mother. She's in jail and she's a drug addict and that's why she's been gone all this time.' "

Krosoczka had seen his mother only sporadically since age 2. He had never met his father.

Throughout his childhood, Krosoczka kept this painful information hidden. "I didn't tell anybody for the longest time ..." he says. "When you have these addictions in your families, you sort of live this duality. You have this thing that you hold back from people and you put your best face forward." Read more and listen to Terry Gross’s interview with Jarrett!

Happy Pub Day, Therese Anne Fowler! A WELL BEHAVED WOMAN available today!

We couldn’t be more excited about Therese Anne’s Fowler’s beautiful new novel, A Well Behaved Woman - which hits bookstore shelves today!

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The riveting novel of iron-willed Alva Vanderbilt and her illustrious family as they rule Gilded-Age New York, from the New York Times bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.

Alva Smith, her southern family destitute after the Civil War, married into one of America’s great Gilded Age dynasties: the newly wealthy but socially shunned Vanderbilts. Ignored by New York’s old-money circles and determined to win respect, she designed and built nine mansions, hosted grand balls, and arranged for her daughter to marry a duke. But Alva also defied convention for women of her time, asserting power within her marriage and becoming a leader in the women's suffrage movement.

With a nod to Jane Austen and Edith Wharton, in A Well-Behaved Woman Therese Anne Fowler paints a glittering world of enormous wealth contrasted against desperate poverty, of social ambition and social scorn, of friendship and betrayal, and an unforgettable story of a remarkable woman. Meet Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, living proof that history is made by those who know the rules—and how to break them.

Genius....Though the novel’s lavish sweep and gorgeous details evoke a vanished world, Fowler’s exploration of the way powerful women are simultaneously devalued and rewarded resonates powerfully.
— Publishers Weekly
Nothing short of mesmerizing.
— Kirkus Starred Review
History comes alive in this immensely readable novel. Therese Anne Fowler takes us behind the velvet drapes of the Vanderbilt mansions in the late 19th century, exposing a world of passions and betrayal in which all is not as it seems. A Well-Behaved Woman is an extraordinary portrait of a strong, fascinating woman who rose above societal convention and even her own expectations to become so much more than anyone might have predicted.
— Christina Baker Kline

Announcing Melanie Benjamin's Next Novel... THE MISTRESS OF THE RITZ!

A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author Melanie Benjamin, of The Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors, where they’re welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamor and glitz to take their mind off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests—and each other.

Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For the falsehoods they tell to survive, and to strike a blow against their Nazi “guests,” spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.

But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone—the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives, and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself.

Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.

On sale, May 2019!

HEY KIDDO - Jarrett J. Krosoczka's YA Graphic Novel Takes a Personal Look at the Opioid Crisis

Courtesy of The New York Times
Posted Oct 5, 2018

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The popular author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka has explored a lot of terrain in his inventive stories for young readers. There’s “Punk Farm” where the livestock has hidden musical talents and the school where the “Lunch Lady” serves sloppy joe’s and justice. But with his latest book, a graphic memoir, Mr. Krosoczka, 40, has mined his childhood to tell a story that is very much relevant today amid the opioid epidemic plaguing the country.

“Hey, Kiddo,” which arrives in stores on Oct. 9, (Today!) is about being raised by his grandparents in Worcester, Mass., because Mr. Krosoczka (pronounced crow-sauce-KAH) did not know his father, and his mother was battling a heroin addiction that eventually claimed her life. It is a story that the author has seen resonate with audiences at schools around the country. “There are so many kids out there whose parents do terrible things,” he said during a telephone interview while on a family vacation away from their home in western Massachusetts. “It’s important for kids to know that it doesn’t make them a bad person.”

The book, published by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, is aimed at a young adult audience and may sound like heavy reading, but the story is a true reflection of the seesaw of life: There are moments of hardship and conflict, but also scenes of joy. Keep Reading…


A|U Monthly Muse - October 2018

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September 2018: Books That Empower

Good books can be an outlet where we quench the thirst for release, but they also provide a space to resist, aspire, and transform. We hope you'll check out these three titles, filled with empowered characters and rousing themes from which to draw your own strength and renewal.

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS Celebrates 1 Year on NYT Bestseller List!

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Congrats to A|U Author Lisa Wingate, who’s Before We Were Yours celebrates its one year anniversary this week as a New York Times Bestseller! This blockbuster hit is a thought-provoking and complex tale of two families, two generations apart… based on a notorious true life scandal.

Readers across the country have been captivated by Before We Were Yours, selecting for countless Book Clubs and library discussion groups. Lisa’s author events have been packed to capacity, owing in large part to the books powerful topic, and Lisa’s amazing ability to connect with readers in person.

Before We Were Yours is a perfect choice for One Book One Community programs! Interested in hosting her? The 2019 schedule is filling fast, so get in touch with us today!

Lisa Wingate could be the poster child for the perfect author. She’s gracious, kind, generous, super talented and knows how to engage an audience. The Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Clubs adore discussing her books. There is a good reason we invite her year after year; she sets the standard for great books to place in the hands of real readers. We are so thankful she continues to educate, enlighten, and tell a great story. Lisa Wingate is giving voice to those who could not tell their own.
— The Pulpwood Queens Book Club
We were thrilled to host Lisa Wingate at Books in Bloom on May 20, 2018, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Lisa Wingate’s talk focused on her inspiration for writing and the culture and background of the historical period in which her novel, Before We Were Yours, was set. The author had a very good rapport with the audience, and was very engaging, relaxed and relatable. She was an inspiring presenter, engaging her audience immediately. The hour slipped away very quickly.
— Books In Bloom Literary Festival
A [story] of a family lost and found . . . A poignant, engrossing tale about sibling love and the toll of secrets.
— People Magazine
Before We Were Yours is sure to be one of the most compelling books you pick up this year. . . . [Lisa] Wingate is a master-storyteller, and you’ll find yourself pulled along as she reveals the wake of terror and heartache that is Georgia Tann’s legacy.
— Parade Magazine

Host Post | Fall 2018

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Welcome to the Fall 2018 Authors Unbound quarterly Host Newsletter! We'll use this space to keep you updated on what other outstanding hosts around the country are up to, provide valuable information on event management and organization, and feature authors who we highly recommend for your next author engagement.

National Suicide Prevention Month - Powerful Programming

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September is National Suicide Prevention month, an annual campaign in the United States to inform and engage health professionals and the general public about suicide prevention and the warning signs of suicide. There’s not better way to bring light to this important topic than through powerful programming and author events.

Monica Wood, bestselling author of When We Were the Kennedys and One-in-a-Million Boy shares her personal story about the suicide attempt of her husband of 41 years. "People do just get completely overwhelmed with life sometimes and that is what happened,” Wood said. “And sometimes it's just a perfect storm of things that can happen. If it can happen to him, it could happen to anybody."

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Alix Strauss, NYT reporter and author of Death Becomes Them, explores mental illness and addiction through the topics of suicide, hoping to end the stigma of discussing these issues openly, particularly among young people.

By the time you finish reading this piece, someone will have committed suicide. And 44,000 American die by suicide each year, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the US. That’s an average of 121 suicides per day. If you or someone you know is struggling, please call the National Suicide Prevention line: 1-800-273-8255.

Andrew Forsthoefel Inspires Students to Listen

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Andrew Forsthoefel is the author of Walking to Listen, a travel memoir (based on his This American Life radio piece) about a year he spent walking 4,000 miles across America after his graduation from Middlebury College in 2011. 

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Walking to Listen has been chosen as the all-school read for many schools, academies and universities this fall, including Tabor Academy, Langley High School, and Elms College. Andrew has earned wonderful feedback in engaging with students as a storyteller, listening teacher, and workshop facilitator.

Andrew’s hope is to connect with more students in this way, to share the power of walking with and for one another—the power of listening. The remarkable stories in this book—stories that happened on the road, with a large and diverse array of Americans—are a testament to the ways in which listening is the keystone component for healing in our hurting country.

There’s never been a better moment to help our young people learn how to listen thoughtfully. If you’d like to explore options for a visit with Andrew, be in touch with us today!

 Village Harmony Campers read  Walking to Listen!

Village Harmony Campers read Walking to Listen!

Imbolo Mbue Featured for the Dyson School's Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series

Courtesy of Cornell Chronicle
Posted September 10, 2018

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Novelist and short story writer Imbolo Mbue will speak on the Cornell University campus Thursday, Sept. 13, as part of the Dyson School’s Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series. The 7 p.m. lecture in Kennedy Hall’s Call Auditorium is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing.

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Mbue left her native Limbe, Cameroon, to study in the U.S., and received a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a master’s from Columbia University. She became a U.S. citizen in 2014, the same year she signed a $1 million deal for her novel, “Behold the Dreamers,” which won the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. The novel has been translated into 12 languages, was adapted into an opera, is about to become a stage play, and was recently optioned for a movie.

All new first-year Dyson students read “Behold the Dreamers” over the summer and have discussed it in small groups.

Pace University Welcomes Imbolo Mbue for Convocation Keynote

Courtesy of Pace University
Posted September 5, 2018
 

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Pace University held its 11th Annual Convocation Ceremony in Pleasantville Tuesday. Convocation, the Latin word for “calling together” brought the freshmen class on campus to meet the wider Pace community.  Incoming Pace University students heard from Pace President Marvin Krislov, Provost Vanya Quiñones, fellow Pace students and award-winning author, Imbolo Mbue.

Imbolo Mbue gave the keynote speech. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Behold the Dreamers, which was read by the incoming class over the summer. Mbue's book is informed by her experience of being an African immigrant and the experiences of immigrants from around the world who shared their stories with her. Behold the Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue, is a novel that weaves together the stories of two different families during the financial crisis of 2007-2008 in New York City.

Go get 'em, Class of 2020!

 

Elle UK Announces Inaugural Big Book Award - CIRCE!

Courtesy of Elle UK Magazine
Posted Sept 4, 2018

From a long list of nine page-turning reads, the winner of the inaugural Big Book Award is a feminist romp through the classical world - Madeline Miller's Circe!

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Even if you don’t know your Athena from your Aphrodite, Circe manages to be a compelling novel for every reader. It tells the story of Homer’s The Odyssey from the point of view of Circe, the first witch in literature, infamous for turning Odysseus’s men into pigs. Here, she gets to tell her own story as a protagonist – not as a side note. As ELLE’s editor-in-chief, Anne-Marie Curtis, one of the Big Book judges, puts it: ‘I never thought I’d describe a book as a feminist romp through Greek mythology, but this is it! Madeline Miller recasts Circe’s witchery in a whole new, empowering light, and the result is a riveting tale for today’s times.’

Read Elle UK's interview with Madeline here!

Crystal Wilkinson Has a Banner Summer!

Courtesy of Broadway World Books
Posted: Aug 30, 2018

A|U author Crystal Wilkinson's novel, The Birds of Opulence, has been named the winner of the 2016 Appalachian Writers Association's Appalachian Book of the Year for Fiction. The multigenerational novel follows four generations of women in a bucolic southern black township as they live with and sometimes surrender to madness. This marks the fourth award The Birds of Opulence has won, including the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, the Weatherford Award for Fiction, and the Judy Gaines Young Book Award.

In addition to garnering awards and serving as the inspiration for public art, The Birds of Opulence was also named the debut selection of the Open Canon Book Club. The club was created by New York Times bestselling (and fellow A|U) author Wiley Cash to introduce readers to voices and portrayals of the American experience they may not have otherwise encountered in their day-to-day lives, their education, or their book club meetings. Each month, Cash will post discussion questions and host live book club discussions online and in independent bookstores.

Congrats, Crystal!

A|U Monthly Muse - September 2018

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September 2018: Titles on the Horizon

Sweater weather is almost here, and we're excited to curl up next to the wood stove with a new book! Check out these four exciting recent or forthcoming titles! 

SOLD ON A MONDAY Available Today!

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Happy Pub Day, Kristina McMorris!

We're so excited this wonderful novel is now officially out in the world! Inspired by a heartbreaking newspaper photo, Sold on a Monday follows a Depression-era reporter who snaps a photograph of two children being sold on a farmhouse porch, leading to his big break - and consequences more devastating than he ever imagined.

The photo first appeared in The Vidette-Messenger in 1948 and, in a brief caption, claimed to exhibit the desperation of a family in Chicago. As a mom herself, Kristina wondered what could have possibly pushed a parent to that point. Possible answers to that question soon became the foundation of Sold on a Monday.

Buy your copy from a independent local bookstore!

Rachel Kadish's THE WEIGHT OF INK Wins Julia Ward Howe Prize for Fiction

Courtesy of The Boston Authors Club
Posted August 27, 2018

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Congrats to Rachel Kadish, who's outstanding novel The Weight of Ink has been awarded the Julia Ward Howe Prize for Fiction.  The Boston Authors Club was founded in 1899 to further literary purposes and to promote social interaction among authors living in Boston and vicinity. The annual Julia Ward Howe Awards (named after the Club's first President) honor the Boston-area authors of outstanding adult and young reader books published in the prior year. 

Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history. 

The Weight of Ink  has previously been honored with a National Jewish Book Award, and Rachel is a previous recipient of the Association of Jewish Libraries Fiction Award, and the John Gardner Fiction Award.

 

A WELL BEHAVED WOMAN to be Developed for TV!

Courtesy of Publishers Marketplace
Posted: August 16, 2018

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It hasn't even hit bookstore shelves yet, and Therese Anne Fowler's forthcoming novel, A Well Behaved Woman is already slated for Sony Pictures Television for an upcoming series!  The novel, which follows iron-willed Alva Vanderbilt and her illustrious family as they rule Gilded-Age New York, will be published in October by St. Martin's Press.

With a nod to Jane Austen and Edith Wharton,  A Well-Behaved Woman paints a glittering world of enormous wealth contrasted against desperate poverty, of social ambition and social scorn, of friendship and betrayal, and an unforgettable story of a remarkable woman. Meet Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, living proof that history is made by those who know the rules—and how to break them.

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Fowler's first novel, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, was also adapted for television.  Amazon Prime launched the series, which starred Christina Ricci.

Congrats, Therese!  We can't wait to see Alva come to life on screen!

Trips to 50 Countries Helped Shape Kelsey Timmerman's WHERE AM I GIVING

Courtesy of Muncie Star Press
Posted Aug. 13, 2018

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Kelsey Timmerman said his latest book is going to make people uncomfortable about how they're giving back. Here's why.

In Where Am I Giving?, Kelsey Timmerman, a New York Times best-selling author, shares his own experiences learning about giving and encourages his readers to reflect on how they're helping others, which he said can be very uncomfortable for those who aren't doing quite enough. He feels that, too. He said that discomfort is the first step toward progress.

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"I feel like if you’re not doing anything to address at least some of the issues in the world, you should feel extra uncomfortable," Timmerman said. "There has to be awareness before there can be acceptance of some responsibility, and then action. I think there’s a lot that some people don’t want to be aware of." Read More...