A luminous novel about three generations of an Irish immigrant family in Brooklyn and an intimate epic of the American Revolution as told through six extraordinary lives will be the featured works at the Friends of the Library’s (FOL) 49th annual Richard D. Whittemore Book and Author Luncheon. The FOL welcomes national book award-winning novelist Alice McDermott, who will speak about her new novel The Ninth Hour, and best-selling historian Russell Shorto, who will discuss Revolution Song: A Story of America. Port’s own best-selling novelist Susan Isaacs returns as program moderator.
In her new novel—lauded as one of the Top 10 of 2017 by the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, NPR and Library Journal, among many other accolades—McDermott offers a powerfully affecting story spanning the twentieth century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn. On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his tenement. His suicide reverberates through many lives over the decades, testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness.
McDermott is the best-selling author of eight novels including Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award and an American Book Award. Three of her novels were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Her stories, essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and Harpers. She has received the Whiting Writers Award, the Carington Award for Literary Excellence and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for American Literature, among other awards. She is the Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.
In his epic new book which critics have called “remarkable” and “a tour de force,” Shorto takes us back to the founding of the American nation, drawing on diaries, letters and autobiographies to flesh out six lives that cast the era in a fresh new light. Through these lives we come to understand that the revolution was fought over the meaning of individual freedom. Revolution Song makes the compelling case that the American Revolution is still being fought today and that its ideals are worth defending.
Shorto is a journalist, historian and the best-selling author of The Island at the Center of the World about the Dutch origins of New York City, and Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City. Shorto’s works of narrative history have been published in fourteen languages and have won numerous awards. Shorto is a senior scholar at the New Netherland Institute and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine.
The luncheon will be held Friday, May 11 at the North Hills Country Club in Manhasset. Tickets are $85 per person. Reservation brochures are available in the library and can be printed from www.pwpl.org/fol. All tickets must be bought in advance; there are no walk-ins. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the help of individual and corporate sponsorships, which begin at $250, the luncheon becomes a fundraiser for the FOL. Sponsors bypass first-come, first-served ticketing to the sell-out luncheon and sponsorships are tax deductible. To become a sponsor, contact FOL board members Margaret DeSiervo at email@example.com or 516-883-2722 or Nancy Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-883-8418.
The FOL also conducts a prize raffle at the event. This year the grand raffle prize will be a $1,000 shopping spree at Americana Manhasset, thanks to the generosity of the Americana.