Monday, January 22, 2018

What's happening, Boswell edition: Benjamin Ludwig (in person) on Tuesday, Alex Prud'homme (by video) on Thursday

Here's what's happening at Boswell this week.

Tuesday, January 23, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Benjamin Ludwig, author of Ginny Moon

Meet Ginny Moon. She's mostly your average teenager: she plays flute in the school band, has weekly basketball practice and reads Robert Frost poems for English class. But Ginny is autistic. What's important to her might seem a bit…different: starting every day with exactly nine grapes for breakfast, singing along to Michael Jackson, taking care of her baby doll…and crafting a secret plan of escape.

Ginny has been in foster care for years and for the first time in her life she has found her forever home. After being traumatically 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. This is exactly the kind of home that all foster kids are hoping for. But Ginny has other plans.

Read this HuffPost interview with Stephanie Vanderslice, where she talks to Ludwig about the origin of the book. The voice came first! Vanderslice also name checks Kaye Gibbons's Ellen Foster. How could I not have immediately compared the two books, especially when Jane told me to start thinking of the book as more of an adoption story than a special needs story. Yes, we've been discussing this at length at Boswell.

About the author: A former English teacher and new-teacher mentor, Benjamin Ludwig holds an MAT in English education and an MFA in creative writing. His novella, Sourdough, was the recipient of the 2013 Clay Reynolds Prize for the Novella. Ludwig’s inspiration for Ginny Moon came from his own daughter, and the stories of other parents whom Ludwig met while attending Special Olympics basketball games.

Thursday, January 25, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
A book club discussion and video chat with Alex Prud’homme, author of The French Chef in America: Julia Child's Second Act

This book club is free and open to all and is sponsored by the Smith College Club of Milwaukee and Seven Sisters Together. There will be a discussion of The French Chef in America, and after attendees get a chance to weigh in, the group will be joined by the author, Alex Prud’homme, via Skype.

Here’s a little more about the book. Julia Child is synonymous with French cooking, but her legacy runs much deeper. Now, her great-nephew Alex Prud’homme, tells the story of the remarkable woman who found her true voice in middle age and profoundly shaped the way we eat today. The French Chef in America uncovers Julia Child beyond her French chef persona and reveals her second act to have been every bit as groundbreaking and adventurous as her first.

This is our first time doing a video chat at Boswell, thought we once partnered with the Milwaukee Public Library on a program with them. And then we once did a Philip Roth program. But I think I'm blocking out another event where we couldn't get the teleonference (it was in a world before Skype) to work, another case where I can think my brain for suppressing a bad memory.

About the author: Alex Prud’homme is Julia Child’s great-nephew and the coauthor of her autobiography, My Life in France, which was one of two books adapted to create the film Julie and Julia. He is also the author of France Is a Feast: The Photographic Journey of Paul and Julia Child. Prud’homme’s journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair.

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