Saturday, July 22, 2017

New display! Celebrate Irish Fest with a book table

My rule of thumb is that when I see three events that can be linked together, there should be a display. Sadly, I don't always have the energy to make this happen, but believe me, when I don't do it, I feel guilty. But when the publicist at Nan A. Talese told me about the new novel, Girl on the Leeside, by Kathleen Anne Kenney, a table started taking form.

As soon as I learned there was flexibility in the date, being that Kenney is from Wauwatosa, and was planning to do Irish Fest, I hooked her up with Maricolette at the Irish Fest Literary Corner, where they always have a meet and greet and signing. And we decided to repeat what we did two years ago and have an Irish Fest preview event on Wednesday. Kenney, a playwright, has written a novel set in an Irish village about a young poet who meets an American academic. Edward Rutherford, whose many novels include The Princes of Ireland, offered this recommendation: "In its hauntingly evocative Irish setting, this is a book suffused with poetry - real poetry. It is a book of awakenings of every kind, and of moving surprises. Like all good stories, as this local tale unfolds it becomes universal." And yes, our resident Irish lit fan, Anne, read it and enjoyed it.

As I was working on another event with Ronald H. Balson, I found my second connection. Up to now, Balson's events have been Jewish themed. Once We Were Brothers continues to be a book club favorite, and his most recent novel, Karolina's Twins, was a successful event at the Harry and Rose Samson Jewish Community Center, is is now a presentation by Barbara Rinella, the popular literary interpreter. She'll come up again later. The new novel, The Trust, heads to Northern Ireland, where Private Investigator Liam Taggart attends his uncle's funeral. It turns out that Uncle Fergus knew he had a target on his back, and left his fortune to whomever would solve his murder. And does this connect to Northern Ireland's sectarian war? I'm not giving anything away to say that it does.

And finally, in the wake of another successful Ozaukee Family Services spring brunch with Barbara Rinella (I told you it would come up again), our friend Pam mentioned that the fall luncheon usually features an author. After some searching, the featured speaker is going to be J. Courtney Sullivan, the bestselling author of Commencement and Maine. Her new novel, Saints for All Occasions, is about two sisters in an Irish Catholic family, and folks have been comparing her work to Anne Tyler. We have a great recommendation from Boswell's Sharon, who called it "a sweeping saga...featuring drama, secrets, and humor."

What a lineup! And that calls for a table display. We're featuring new works about Ireland and Irish-American, focusing on fiction. Included are previous guests at Boswell Sebastian Barry, whose new novel is Days Without End, and Sara Baume, author of A Line Made by Walking, her second novel. I would have included Alice McDermott, but her new novel, The Ninth Hour, doesn't come out till September 19. Why not reserve a copy now?

Here are the events that are mentioned.

Wednesday, August 16, 7 pm, at Boswell: an Irish Fest Preview event with Wauwatosa’s Kathleen Anne Kenney, author of Girl on the Leeside, the story of a young poet in a small Irish village whose life is changed by an American academic.

Thursday, August 17-Sunday, August 20, at Irish Fest: The Irish Fest Literary Tent, featuring Tony Macaulay, Rex Owens, Valerie Biel, John Sexton, and Michael McCarthy. Books at Irish Fest are sold by Little Read Book and Rainbow Booksellers.

Tuesday, October 3, 7 pm, at Boswell: Ron Balson, author of The Trust, in which P.I. Liam Taggart investigates a crime while visiting Northern Ireland for his uncle’s funeral

Tuesday, November 7, at Shully’s Watermark is Thiensville: The Ozaukee Family Services Luncheon, featuring J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Saints for All Occasions, the story of two sisters in a large Irish Catholic family. Ticket info here.

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