A|U Authors

Sweet Briar's Common Read is a Conversation Between Two Books, "Across Thousands of Years"

Courtesy of Sweet Briar College
Posted Aug 12, 2019

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Sweet Briar College’s Common Read selection for the 2019-2020 academic year features not one book, but a pair of books “in dynamic and rich conversation with one another across thousands of years,” says Director of the Center for Creativity, Design and the Arts Carrie Brown. They are Madeline Miller’s No. 1 New York Times best-selling novel Circe — about the legendary sorceress and goddess who (among other things) turns men into pigs in “The Odyssey” — and Emily Wilson’s celebrated translation of The Odyssey, the first English translation by a woman.

The writers will visit campus and bookend the year: Madeline Miller on Thursday, Nov. 7, and Emily Wilson on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Their presentations are free and open to the public.

“Both books are full of magic and mystery and monsters and morality,” Brown says. “They delve into the classical story of Odysseus’s return from the Trojan War with fresh insights about the experiences of women once seen only in the shadows of the famous epic.” Both have been praised for their language, she notes, as well their “visionary perspective and imaginative reach,” which makes them not just great works of literature, but also fun to read. And in both, Brown adds, “women emerge as modern, sympathetic and formidable figures in a literary and cultural landscape once dominated by a focus on the male experience.”

Schlow's Author Spotlight will Feature Jamie Ford, Madeline Miller and George Packer

Courtesy of StateCollege.com
Posted July 25, 2019

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Three months. Three best-selling authors. This fall, the Schlow Library Foundation and partners will present Author Spotlight, with three award-winning writers visiting State College on three different days.

Jamie Ford begins the series with his visit to Schlow’s Downsbrough Community Room in September. Madeline Miller then comes to Schlow in October. Finally, George Packer will be at the Days Inn on South Pugh Street in November. Book signings and sales, courtesy of Webster’s Bookstore Cafe, follow each event.

Author Spotlight brings new and best-selling authors to the Centre Region. It provides an opportunity to share in the writers’ experiences of creating new worlds and characters that inspire critical thinking, cultivate empathy, and explore new ideas. The authors will leave time for audience questions after each presentation.

Ford’s debut novel, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet," spent two years on the New York Times Best Sellers list and won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. His second book, "Songs of Willow Frost," also was a national best seller. His latest novel is "Love and Other Consolation Prizes." Ford will be at Schlow from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21.

Miller’s first novel, "The Song of Achilles," was awarded the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a New York Times best seller. Her second novel, "Circe," became a No. 1 New York Times best seller and won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Miller will be at Schlow from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17.

Packer is a journalist, novelist and playwright. He is best known for his writings in The New Yorker about U.S. foreign policy and for his book, "The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq." He also wrote "The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America," covering the history of America from 1978 to 2012. The book received the National Book Award for Nonfiction. His latest book, "Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century," was released in May 2019. Packer will be at the Days Inn from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4.

“Bringing popular authors to our library stage forges a more intimate link between writer and reader,” Schlow director Cathi Alloway said. “It's a great way to gain insight into the authors' experiences, insights, and wisdom, and to share the joy of reading in a special way.”

HEY, KIDDO wins the NAIBA Carla Cohen Free Speech Award!

Courtesy of NAIBA
Posted Aug 8, 2019

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Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s ground-breaking graphic memoir wins another huge honor - the NAIBA Carla Cohen Free Speech Award! The idea for this award came from a desire to not only honor an amazing bookseller and past president of NAIBA, but to honor Carla as would be most fitting.

The NCCFSA will be awarded to a children's book, as awareness of constitutional rights needs to begin at the beginning of true consciousness. Educating children about their rights by putting the books into their hands that will allow them to question, imagine, and dream is essential to the survival of independent bookstores and dare we say, humanity.

Independent bookstores are the places where freedom of speech and anti-censorship are integrated into everything we do. We are spaces where difference-of ideas, sexuality, spirit, politics, and philosophy-is embraced and not feared. Politics and Prose has been exactly this kind of place for the past 27 years. Independent bookstores are essential to their communities and hence to a truly democratic nation. The survival of our bookstores relies on children becoming informed and engaged in our midsts. Only through the nurturing of this future community will we ensure having a customer base on which to rely.

Congrats, Jarrett!

Imbolo Mbue's New Novel in the Works: HOW BEAUTIFUL WE WERE

Courtesy of Okay Africa
Posted Aug 5, 2019

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The second novel from the mind behind Behold the Dreamers, Imbolo Mbue, is set to tell another poignant, but relatable story on the African experience.

How Beautiful We Were, the novel's current title, has been acquired by Penguin Random House for its North American rights. The publisher says the book is "a story told through multiple perspectives about what happens when an African village decides to fight back against an American oil company that is destroying their land."

This storyline calls to mind that many real-life instances of oil-rich communities standing up and demanding what's owed due to major oil companies destroying their environments and livelihoods over decades.

Mbue, who was also included in the inaugural OkayAfrica 100 Women list, made her mark with her debut, Behold the Dreamers in March of 2016. Behold the Dreamers also led Mbue to be awarded the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction as well as be selected in Oprah Winfrey's Book Club, Brittle Paper adds.


CIRCE Series Finds a Home at HBOMAX!

Courtesy of: Deadline.com
Posted July 30, 2019

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In a competitive situation, streamer HBO Max has given an 8-episode straight-to-series order to Circe, a drama series adaptation of Madeline Miller’s International bestseller of the same name. The project hails from top feature writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Jurassic World). Chernin Entertainment is producing with Endeavor Content through the companies’ scripted drama venture.

Written and executive produced by Jaffa and Silver, Circe is a modern take on the world of Greek mythology told from the powerful feminist perspective of the goddess Circe, who transforms from an awkward nymph to a formidable witch, able to challenge gods, titans and monsters alike.

Circe tells an epic story of love, loss, tragedy and immortal conflict, all through the eyes of a fierce female lens,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. “I’ve been a longtime fan of Rick and Amanda’s work and their ability to simultaneously build epic imaginative worlds while creating emotional dynamic characters. In partnership with Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping, we have the dream team to bring Circe to life.”

For Jaffa and Silver, this marks a foray into television and an extension of their relationship with Chernin Entertainment on the feature side where they have collaborated on the Planet of the Apes franchise.

Jaffa and Silver co-wrote and produced the most recent Planet of the Apes trilogy, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes. 

In addition to Planet of the Apes, the duo recently also successfully rebooted another blockbuster movie franchise, co-writing the 2015 Jurassic World. Upcoming tentpoles co-written by Jaffa and Silver include Disney’s live-action Mulan and the first two Avatar sequels.

Published in 2018, Miller’s Circe was a breakout success, launching to strong reviews and landing at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list (for a 16-week stay), and selling over half a million books in the U.S. alone. The book was shortlisted for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction and was the Winner of the 2019 Indie Choice Award. It has been translated in 22 languages.

Peter Heller's THE RIVER Tops Forbes List for 10 Summer Books Recommendations!

Courtesy of Forbes
Posted July 2, 2019

The River by Peter Heller (Knopf)

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Hillary Taylor, bookseller at Lemuria Books in Jackson, Mississippi: “The River by Peter Heller is a fantastic book by an amazing author. It has all of the elements you need for a great summer read: friendship, adventure, outdoor, survival, canoeing. Set against a Canadian backdrop, it has a great mystery element that keeps it fast paced. I couldn't put it down.”

We’re currently adding dates to Peter’s Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 schedule, so if you’re interested in hosting him for an event, be in touch with us soon!

A|U Monthly Muse - July 2019 (Reading with Kids)

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July 2019: Reading with Kids

Summer has officially arrived. The end of school brings wide open days to kids of all ages, days that seem to stretch longer than usual. Whether your children’s days are filled with camps or vacations, sports or sleepovers, summer jobs or family time, longer days mean extra hours for reading. From picture books to young adult graphic novels, this month’s featured writers bring humor and tenderness to topics serious and light. These award-winning and nationally-renowned authors serve up stories that have the power to instill a lifelong love of reading… and we don’t have to tell—you who likely have fond memories of spending July afternoons in the shade of a leafed out tree—what a wonderful gift this is.

Boys and Girls Club of Tupelo Gear up for GINNY MOON this Fall!

Courtesy of WCBI News
Posted June 28, 2019

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Boys and Girls Club members in Tupelo are taking part in a city wide initiative that promotes reading and literacy. “Tupelo Reads” is an annual program that encourages residents to read the same book, and come together for activities promoting literacy.

This year’s book is Ginny Moon  the story of an autistic teenager.  Volunteers with “Tupelo Reads” have spent the past few days at the Haven Acres Boys and Girls Club, talking about key themes of the book with the young people. One of the most important is compassion.

“That was a big takeaway that they may encounter people who are different , not just with autism spectrum, but many other things and to deal with people that might be different in a compassionate way,” said Lisa Reed, chairperson of “Tupelo Reads.”

The book’s author, Benjamin Ludwig will visit Tupelo in September for “Tupelo Reads” community events.

Melanie Benjamin Wows Readers in Orlando!

Courtesy of Southwest Orlando Bulletin
Posted June 21, 2019

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Melanie Benjamin took to the podium for the 14th annual Southwest Author Series and infused laughter with wisdom. She shared how she first wanted to be an actress and dreamed of playing other people on stage. But then she married, joking that marriage is where dreams go to die.

“Melanie Benjamin was incredibly engaging with a great sense of humor,” Colin Galloway (president of the Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips) said. “It was fun. We all enjoyed it.”

Benjamin has two children. At a school event, she saw a poster her son had made indicating the stay-at-home mom was a “cleaning lady.” That set her off on a journey to become more. She decided to try her hand at writing and soon was hired to write a parenting column and short stories for a local magazine. But she said that her writing meant authoring a book.

Then she came across a photograph of a little girl dressed in rags and learned she was Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the inspiration for Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Benjamin wanted to know more about the girl’s life and wrote her first historical fiction book — Alice I Have Been — under a pen name.

Benjamin captivated the audience with tales of how she came up with the ideas for her subsequent books and teased some of the storylines. She encouraged would-be writers to get out, see things and read, read, read.

Writer’s Block Bookstore, an independent bookseller in Winter Park, sold copies of Benjamin’s books, which she autographed while chatting with participants after the presentation. The bookstore sold out of most of her titles.


A|U Monthly Muse - June 2019 (Beach Reads)

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June 2019: Beach Reads

As the days warm and spring shifts into summer, you might find yourself with an open afternoon and a beckoning chaise lounge. Whether you’re poolside, lakeside, or languishing on a beach, the longer days call for losing yourself in a good read. Beach reads come in all stripes and those written by this month’s featured writers, though different in topic and tone, all deliver engaging storytelling. In other words, you won’t want to put them down. Complete with intrigue and intelligence, these books prove that with deft treatment, powerful material can see the bright of day.

A|U Authors Team Up on Nonfiction Follow-Up to BEFORE WE WERE YOURS

Courtesy of Shreveport Times
Posted May 29. 2019

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NYT Bestselling Author Lisa Wingate wrote Before We Were Yours, which has sold more than 1.5 million copies and just came out in paperback last week. Two years ago, when author Judy Christie read an early copy of that novel, she felt it was one of the best books I’d read in a long time – in part because it was inspired by a piece of little-known and gripping Southern history and Lisa had written such a compelling fictionalized account.

In Before and After (due from Ballantine Books on Oct 22, 2019) Lisa and Judy write of first family meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed, and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace brothers, sisters and cousins. In a culmination of art-meets-life, long silent victims of the corrupt system returned to Memphis with Lisa and Judy to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion…with what were startling and emotional results. The book is available for pre-order from your favorite booksellers, including at Amazon and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.

Before and After makes a great companion book to Before We Were Yours One Book One Community selections - and it’s a powerful book for stand alone events as well! Both Lisa and Judy are available for speaking engagements - and if you’d like to explore further, be in touch with us today!

FALL AND RISE - Limited TV Series Planned for 20th Anniversary of 9/11

Courtesy of Deadline
Posted April 3, 2019

Lionsgate Television Group/3 Arts will mount an event limited series about 9/11. They have acquired exclusive television rights to Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11, based on the Mitchell Zuckoff book that HarperCollins published April 30, 2019. The book is a comprehensive character-driven nonfiction narrative account of the worst terrorist attacks in American history.

The aim is to have a limited series ready for the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks. The series, which will soon be shopped to broadcasters and streamers, with a showrunner to be set shortly after, will focus on a group of cross-section of people who found themselves at the center of unimaginable events. It will cover the events that brought them in proximity of terror attacks that destroyed the Twin Towers and D.C. government buildings, and the lasting impact it had on their lives. It will likely be eight hours in length.

Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 is the perfect One Book One Community, and All Campus Reads title! Be in touch with us today to schedule an event with this award winning and talented author.

A|U Monthly Muse - May 2019 (Dark Worlds)

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May 2019: Dark Worlds

From Grimm’s Tales to Game of Thrones, humankind have long been obsessed with the particular intrigue found in dark tales. Though these kinds of stories can be based on historical events, they also seem to reside on the edge of two worlds: the world of what might be and the world as we know it. Casting light into dark recesses, this month’s featured authors travel to this space between worlds to create new, vibrant ones. You’ll lose yourself entirely to these stories, willingly treading along in these dark, but transformative, worlds.

Cumberland County College Announces One Book Title - GINNY MOON

Courtesy of: The Daily Journal
Posted May 2, 2019

Cumberland County College’s “One Book, One College” 2019-20 reading campaign has launched with the selection of Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig. Now in its 16th year, CCC’s successful One Book, One College concept was designed to get the campus and the community to bond by discussing relevant themes covered in a single book. A recommended read on CCC’s campus, members of the community are also urged to read the book.

Ginny Moon is a poignant and inspirational story of an autistic teenager who is searching for a place to call home. Ginny has been in foster care for years after being taken from her abusive birth mother and moved around to different homes. She is finally in a place where she’ll be safe and protected, with a family who will love and nurture her. But Ginny has no intention of belonging. She is determined to get back to her birth mother and make things right…even if it means going back to a place that was extremely dangerous.

A lifelong teacher of English and writing, Ludwig lives in New Hampshire with his family. He holds a master’s in English education and a Masters in Fine Arts in writing. Shortly after he and his wife married, they became foster parents and adopted an autistic teenager. Ginny Moon is Ludwig’s debut novel and was inspired in part by his conversations with other parents at Special Olympics basketball practices.

Cumberland’s One Book, One College program is highlighted each year with an on-campus visit by the author. The public is invited to meet Ludwig during his presentation and book signing on Oct. 16.

2019 Indies Choice Book Award Winners Announced!

Courtesy of BookWeb
Posted May 1, 2019

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Today, the American Booksellers Association announces the winners of the 2019 Indies Choice Book Awards and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards, as voted on by independent booksellers nationwide.

Earning yet another accolade is our very own Madeline Miller, and her breath-taking novel, Circe, which was named the Adult Fiction Book of the Year - and the Audiobook of the year!

Also recognized this year:

Thrity Umrigar for The Secrets Between Us - Audiobook Honor
Jarrett J. Krosoczka for Hey, Kiddo - Young Adult Honor Book

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Madeline Miller's CIRCE Shortlisted for the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction!

Courtesy of: The Gaurdian
Posted April 28, 2019

Big Congrats to Madeline Miller, who’s Circe, a twist on the story of the witch who seduces Homer’s Odysseus, has been named to the shortlist for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction - the most prestigious annual book award celebrating and honoring Women’s fiction. Founded in 1996, the Prize was set up to celebrate the originality, accessibility and excellence in writing by women and to connect world-class writers with readers everywhere. Madeline won the prize for her first novel, The Song of Achilles, in 2012.

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In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Heather Armstrong Details How She 'Died 10 Times' to Cure Depression

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Courtesy of The New York Post
Posted April 20, 2019

Heather B. Armstrong was never a mommy blogger who presented an idyllic picture of parenthood. Her Dooce.com — which began in 2001 — is full of candid posts about her postpartum depression, divorce and struggles as a single mother.

But in 2016, Armstrong reached a nadir: She woke up every day wishing she were dead.

“I had this demon in my head saying, ‘You’re never going to feel better,’ ” the 43-year-old told The Post.

So she decided to take part in a clinical trial that would temporarily leave her brain-dead — 10 times.

That experience is the subject of her book “The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times in Order to Live,” out Tuesday. In it, Armstrong details her brutal 18 months of treatment-resistant depression, as well as the medical experiment, in which doctors used propofol anesthesia to flatline her brain ­activity for 15 minutes.

Armstrong, a Salt Lake City resident, has suffered depression since high school and had her first nervous breakdown while at Brigham Young University. After she gave birth to her daughter Leta 15 years ago, she checked herself into a psych ward for postpartum depression. (She also has daughter Marlo, 9.)

Yet the 18 months before she began the clinical trial were the worst she had ever experienced. It started in 2015, when she signed up to run a marathon. The intense training proved too much, with travels, work and family. Armstrong felt so overwhelmed that she stopped showering and brushing her hair. She also stopped taking her medications, which weren’t working. Keep reading…

Elizabeth Rush's RISING Named a Finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize!

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Courtesy of Pulitzer.org
Posted Apr 16, 2019

Elizabeth’s Rush’s Rising was named a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction along with In a Day’s Work by Bernice Yeung; Eliza Griswold’s Amity and Prosperity was named the prize winner this year.

Hailed as “deeply felt” (New York Times), “a revelation” (Pacific Standard), and “the book on climate change and sea levels that was missing” (Chicago Tribune), Rising is both a highly original work of lyric reportage and a haunting meditation on how to let go of the places we love.

With every passing day, and every record-breaking hurricane, it grows clearer that climate change is neither imagined nor distant—and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways. In Rising, Elizabeth Rush guides readers through some of the places where this change has been most dramatic, from the Gulf Coast to Miami, and from New York City to the Bay Area. For many of the plants, animals, and humans in these places, the options are stark: retreat or perish in place.

Weaving firsthand testimonials from those facing this choice—a Staten Islander who lost her father during Sandy, the remaining holdouts of a Native American community on a drowning Isle de Jean Charles, a neighborhood in Pensacola settled by escaped slaves hundreds of years ago—with profiles of wildlife biologists, activists, and other members of these vulnerable communities, Rising privileges the voices of those too often kept at the margins.

Congrats Elizabeth!!