Monday, February 12, 2018

Presenting the Boswell Book-tastic Author Time Hour, featuring Omar El Akkad, Cynthia Swanson, John August, romance with Wisconsin RWA's Jennifer Trethewey, Sonali Dev, and Lori Handeland, plus André Aciman next Monday and co-stars Meg Jones, Bonnie North, Bobbi Dumas, and Suzanne Jurva

Presenting the Boswell Book-tastic Author Time Hour*. The special guests for this week's episodes are...

Monday, February 12, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
The Wisconsin chapter of the Romance Writers of America present an evening of romance, with Sonali Dev, author of A Distant Heart; Lori Handeland (Austin), author of Beauty and the Bounty Hunter; Jennifer Rupp, writing as Jennifer Trethewey, author of Tying the Scot; and reviewer and Read-a-Romance founder Bobbi Dumas

Meet great Midwest writers and learn the latest about America’s favorite reading genre, just in time for Valentine’s Day. And here's a swag alert - we'll have totes from Sourcebooks and car chargers from Engtangled for giveaway at this event. Alas, due to illness, Ann Voss Peterson will not be able to attend.

Founded in 1984, the Wisconsin chapter of the Romance Writers of America is a professional organization of romance authors, supporting both published and aspiring writers. They offer a chance to network with other writers, meet with agents and publishers, improve writing skills, and learn the tools to build a successful romance writing career.

Sonali Dev writes Bollywood-style love stories that let her explore issues faced by women around the world while still indulging her faith in a happily ever after. Dev’s novels have been featured on Library Journal, NPR, Washington Post, and Kirkus best books lists. She won the American Library Association’s award for best romance in 2014, is a RITA Finalist and RT Reviewer Choice Award Nominee, and is a winner of the RT Seal of Excellence. Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her family.

Bobbi Dumas reads, reviews, blogs and advocates for romance and women’s fiction in a variety of places, including NPR, Kirkus and her own pro-Romance event, She believes that romance novels are (mostly) by women, for women, about women and of interest to women, and offer more hope, female agency, and positive change than any other literary genre.

Lori Handeland is The New York Times bestselling author of The Nightcreature novels, The Phoenix Chronicles, and The Luchettis. A two-time winner of Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award, she has also written the western historical romance series Once Upon a Time in the West under the name Lori Austin. Lori lives in southern Wisconsin.

Jennifer Rupp, writing as Jennifer Trethewey, is an actor-turned-writer who has moved her performances (Renaissance Theaterworks, Comedysportz) from the stage to the page. In 2013 she traveled to Scotland for the first time, where she instantly fell for the language, humor, intense sense of pride, and breathtaking landscape. Her love for Scotland was translated into her first series of historical romance novels, the Highlanders of Balforss. The sexy, adventurous first book of the series, Tying the Scot, is now available.

Wednesday, February 14, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Omar El Akkad, author of American War , in conversation with the Journal Sentinel's Meg Jones

Boswell presents a conversation between Omar El-Akkad, the journalist and acclaimed author of American War, and Meg Jones, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter who concentrates on military and veterans’ issues. This event is free and is in conjunction with the paperback release of American War.

In a disturbingly believable near future, the need for sustainable energy has torn the United States apart. The South wants to maintain the use of fossil fuels, even though the government in The North has outlawed them. Now unmanned drones patrol the skies, and future martyrs walk the markets. For the first time in three hundred years, America is caught up in a civil war. Out of this turmoil comes Sarat Chestnut, a southern girl born into the ongoing conflict. At a displaced persons camp, a mysterious older man takes her under his wing, and while her family tries to survive, Sarat is made into a deadly instrument of war, with consequences for the entire nation.

As Michiko Kakutani wrote in The New York Times: “Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, American War, is an unlikely mash-up of unsparing war reporting and plot elements familiar to readers of the recent young-adult dystopian series The Hunger Games and Divergent. From these incongruous ingredients, El Akkad has fashioned a surprisingly powerful novel - one that creates as haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America.”

Omar El Akkad was born in Cairo, Egypt and grew up in Doha, Qatar until he moved to Canada with his family. He is an award-winning reporter for the Globe and Mail, and has traveled around the world to cover many of the most important news stories of the last decade, including dispatches from Afghanistan, Guantànamo Bay, the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt and the Black Lives Matter movement in Missouri. He is a recipient of Canada’s National Newspaper Award for investigative reporting and the Goff Penny Memorial Prize for Young Canadian Journalists, as well as three National Magazine Award honorable mentions. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, February 15, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Cynthia Swanson, author of The Glass Forest, in conversation with Bonnie North of Milwaukee Public Radio’s Lake Effect

Cynthia Swanson - author of The Bookseller, a New York Times bestseller and Indie Next Pick - returns with The Glass Forest, a literary suspense novel in which three very different women in the 1960s confront a mysterious death and disappearance. This thoughtful, tightly-wound page-turner deeply mines the turbulent decades following WWII, perfect for readers of Garth Hallberg and Emma Cline. This event is free and open to the public.

In the autumn of 1960, Angie Glass is living an idyllic life in her hometown in Door County, Wisconsin. At 21, she’s married to charming, handsome Paul and has just given birth to a baby boy. But one phone call changes her life forever. She learns that her father-in-law Henry has committed suicide and his wife Siljia is missing. Angie and Paul drop everything and fly to a small town in upstate New York. Angie thinks they’re coming to the rescue of Paul’s grief-stricken young niece, but Ruby is a composed and enigmatic 17-year-old who resists Angie’s attempts to nurture her. As Angie learns more about the complicated Glass family, staying in Henry and Silja’s eerie and ultra-modern house on the edge of the woods, she begins to question the very fabric of her own marriage.

Publishers Weekly writes that “Swanson uses exquisitely rendered characters and an intricately woven plot to explore the cultural and political fallout of WWII, as well as the changing role and limited rights of women in the mid-20th century. This intoxicating slow burn builds to a conclusion rife with a shocking reveal.”

Cynthia Swanson is bestselling author of The Bookseller, translated into a dozen languages and winner of the 2016 WILLA Award for Historical Fiction. Cynthia has published short fiction in numerous journals and been a Pushcart Prize nominee. Though she has Wisconsin roots, she now lives in Denver.

Friday, February 16, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
John August, author of Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire

Screenwriter and long-time-Tim-Burton collaborator John August's debut novel about a 12-year-old boy who joins a special scout team to learn how to survive in both the wilds of the forest and the magical world that lies within it. This event is cosponsored by Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance. It’s a great evening for creatives and their families.

When Arlo Finch moves to Pine Mountain, Colorado, he has no idea what's in store for him in this tiny town full of mystery and magic. When he joins the Rangers, Pine Mountain's version of the Boy Scouts, it leads him into adventures he never thought possible. Wilderness and magical powers collide throughout the beautiful, dense forest surrounding his new home, and as Arlo begins to learn the way of the Rangers, he also discovers courage, strength, and a destiny he never knew he possessed.

Boswell’s Jenny Chou is a fan. She writes: “Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire has everything middle grade readers’ love, from magic to outdoor adventure to eccentric grownups and laughs. Highly recommended for anyone who wishes they lived a bit closer to a magical forest!”

About the Author: Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, John August earned a degree in journalism from Drake University and an MFA in film from USC. As a screenwriter, his credits include Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, and Frankenweenie. In addition to his film career, he hosts a popular weekly podcast, Scriptnotes, with Craig Mazin. He also created the Writer Emergency Pack, an educational storytelling tool that was distributed to over 2,000 classrooms in partnership with non-profit literacy groups like 826LA and NaNoWriMo. John and his family live in Los Angeles.

And don't forget about next week's show, when our special guests include...
Monday, February 19, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
André Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name and The Enigma Variations

We are thrilled to present André Aciman, the author of Call Me by Your Name, as well as the just-released paperback edition of The Enigma Variations. This event is cosponsored by Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance as well as the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival. Our event will feature a conversation between Aciman and Suzanne Jurva, discussing Call Me by Your Name’s long journey (ten years) from page to screen. This event is going to be big so arrive early. And please note, the doors will close if we reach capacity.

Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. During the restless summer weeks, unrelenting but buried currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them and verge toward the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. André Aciman's critically acclaimed debut novel is a frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion.

The film version of Call Me by Your Name, directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer, has been nominated for four Oscars including best picture, best actor (Chalamet), best adapted screenplay (James Ivory) and best original song (Sufian Stevens). The film has been also nominated for three Golden Globes, four BAFTA awards, and a SAG award. It is currently playing (as of February 12) at the Downer Theatre.

André Aciman is the author of The Enigma Variations, Eight White Nights, Harvard Square, and the memoir Out of Egypt, and is the editor of The Proust Project. He teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and lives with his wife in Manhattan.

Suzanne Jurva is Director of Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance. The creator of the research department at Dreamworks SKG, Jurva has been a feature film development executive on many Academy Award nominated and winning films, including Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln, and The Prince of Egypt. She is also an award-winning documentary director and producer.

*Alas, our house dancers, The Boswell Bookmarks, are on tour this week in Eastern Europe.

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