Monday, August 16, 2021

Boswell Upcoming Events - Nick Flynn, Alex Pickett (in person), AJ Pearce, plus Martha Waters next Monday

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

Monday, August 16, 5 pm (note time!)
Nick Flynn, author of This Is the Night Our House Will Catch Fire
in conversation with Natasha Trethewey for a virtual event
Register for this event here - ask for your bookplate and special signed broadsheet.

Boswell presents a special evening with Nick Flynn, celebrating the paperback release of his latest memoir. Flynn will be in conversation with Pulitzer Prize winner and former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. 

Daniel's note: I love a good author-conversation partner combination, and this one seems to me particularly inspired. Not only are both writers authors who have written poetic memoirs, but Memorial Drive and This Is the Night Our House... are both about the authors and their relationship to their deceased mothers. 

When Nick Flynn was a child, his mother set fire to their home. The event loomed large in his imagination for years, but it’s only after having a child of his own that he understands why. He returns with his young daughter to the landscape of his youth, reflecting on how his childhood has him still in its reins, and forms his memories into lyrical, sinister, and wounded bedtime stories.

With the spare lyricism and dark irony of his classic, Another Bullsh*t Night in Suck City, Flynn excavates the terrain of his traumatic upbringing and his mother's suicide. Now a parent himself, he discovers that he too may be burning his house down. He returns with his young daughter to the landscape of his youth, reflecting on how his "feral childhood" has him still in its reins.

Nick Flynn is author of three previous memoirs, including the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award–winning Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, and four volumes of poetry. Flynn is Professor on Creative Writing at the University of Houston. Natasha Trethewey is a former US Poet Laureate and the author of five collections of poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Native Guard and the memoir Memorial Drive. She is currently the Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University.

Tuesday, August 17, 7 pm
Alex Pickett, author of The Restaurant Inspector
In Person at Boswell Book Company, in Conversation with Liam Callanan
Register for this event here - limited capacity

Wisconsin-raised writer Alex Pickett, a former Milwaukeean now based in London, crosses the Atlantic to return Stateside and celebrate the release of his novel at Boswell! The Restaurant Inspector is an antic, raunchy send-up of small-town life. In conversation with Liam Callanan, author of Paris by the Book.

Daniel's note: We're not doing too many in-person events, but this is just the kind of event that we've found doesn't work virtually, but should work better in person. Masks are required of attendees and we really need you to register, please.

Alex Pickett exposes the fault lines in Midwestern Nice and reveals how corruption can take hold in even the most unlikely of places. A mysterious illness is afflicting the residents of Millsville, Wisconsin, but that might be the least of their problems. When the restaurant inspector gets sidetracked and suggests a link between the outbreak and a local Albanian-run diner, the town descends into panic, chaos, and finger pointing. As the situation spirals out of control, the county commissioner seizes the moment to position herself for higher office while the newspaper editor aims to settle a long-simmering score. And what’s with the hot dog pushcart that recently appeared by the side of Highway 9?

Jill Ciment, author of The Body in Question and Act of God, calls Pickett’s novel, “A smart, darkly funny, relevant novel about what is lurking behind the kitchen door. Pickett takes our most basic needs - food, love, family, and community - and reimagines them until the paradoxes of sustenance are seen anew. A wonderful debut.”

Alex Pickett is a writer from Wisconsin whose stories have appeared in publications, including Southern Humanities Review, Passages North, and Green Mountains Review. Liam Callanan is Professor of English at UWM and author of The Cloud Atlas and All Saints.

Wednesday, August 18, 2 pm
AJ Pearce, author of Yours Cheerfully
in conversation with Janet Skeslien Charles for a virtual event
Register here for this virtual event

AJ Pearce, author of the beloved novel Dear Mrs. Bird, joins us for a conversation about her new book, which continues the story of young wartime advice columnist Emmy Lake. Pearce will chat with Janet Skeslien Charles, author of the hit novel The Paris Library

Daniel's note - Such an interesting story behind how this came together. Several of us sold lots and lots of copies of Dear Mrs Bird, such that we'd even started corresponding with the editor. I had just finished the new book when we hosted Janet Skeslien Charles for The Paris Library, an event that came together with the help of another author who talked us up. When I asked Charles what she was reading, she told me she had just finished Yours Cheerfully! So we already had a great suggestion for a conversation partner when we pitched the event. This is going to be fun!

London, November 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Henrietta Bird from Woman's Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain's women's magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and best friend Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends.

Every bit as funny, heartwarming, and touching as Dear Mrs. Bird, Pearce’s latest is a celebration of friendship and a testament to the strength of women and the importance of lifting each other up. "Endearing, poignant, and relevant, this uplifting novel is a treat!" says Skeslien Charles.

AJ Pearce studied at the University of Sussex and Northwestern University. A chance discovery of a 1939 women’s magazine became the inspiration for her international bestseller, Dear Mrs. Bird, the first novel in The Emmy Lake Chronicles series. Janet Skeslien Charles is author of The Paris Library and Moonlight In Odessa.

Monday, August 23, 7 pm
Martha Waters, author of To Love and to Loathe
in conversation with Rachel Copeland for a virtual event
Register for this event here

Historical romance author Martha Waters joins us for an evening featuring her latest effervescent, charming, and swoon-worthy novel. This special event will be Rachel Copeland’s first event in conversation, and it’s a perfect pairing, as Copeland is the Rom-Com Queen of the Boswellians.

Daniel's note: Rachel has been talking up Martha Waters since To Have and to Hoax. I so enjoy hearing her talking about the nuance of what she likes and doesn't like about romance novels. So when I saw that it was Bookstore Romance Day, a holiday we once celebrated in-store, I thought this would be a great opportunity for Rachel's first conversation, only we are celebrating late, because I find that Saturday virtuals don't work too well for us.  

Named a most anticipated romance by Oprah Daily, Marie Claire, BuzzFeed, and more, To Love and to Loathe is the second installment of Water’s Regency-era romances. Entertainment Weekly says, "Waters has an arch sense of humor and a marvelously witty voice that rivals the best of the Regency authors (see: Julia Quinn, even Austen herself)… unabashedly fun and bursting with screwball energy." And Emily Henry, The New York Times bestselling author of People We Meet on Vacation calls it "sweet, sexy, and utterly fun. A love story with depth to match its humor, and refreshingly frank communication between its two headstrong leads - I adored it.”

Here’s Rachel’s take on To Love and to Loathe: “Diana, Lady Templeton, and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham, are always at each other's throats - he's an incorrigible rake, and she's a wealthy young widow. When Diana wagers that he'll be married within a year, Jeremy is confident he'll win. But then Jeremy's former mistress gives him negative feedback about his so-called skills, and he realizes he needs an honest review from his toughest critic: Diana. As a longtime reader of Regency-era romance novels, I'm ashamed to say I did not know about this series until the second book. If you read romance for the banter, this one is for you - Waters knows the genre well, and she has aptitude for both winking at tropes and using them sincerely. I can't wait to read the next in the series.”

Martha Waters is the author of To Have and to Hoax, To Love and to Loathe, and the forthcoming To Marry and to Meddle. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and works as a children’s librarian by day.

photo credits, with a special shout out to the Ryans!
Nick Flynn by Ryan McGinley  
Natasha Trethewey by Nancy Crampton
Liam Callanan by Patrick Manning
AJ Pearce by Alexander James
Janet Skeslien Charles by Richard Beban
Martha Waters by Ryan Chamberlain

More on the upcoming events page.

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