Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tea and Conversation with Author Molly Birnbaum

Join us for tea and conversation as Julie Maloney, Director of Women Reading Aloud, conducts an up-close and personal interview with author Molly Birnbaum at Bernardsville Public Library on Sunday, March 25 at 2:00 pm. Ms. Birnbaum’s book, Season to Taste, tells the story of her journey back to recovering her sense of smell after a being hit by a car while jogging. Audience members will have a rare opportunity to ask the author questions about her work and her writing process. A short reading as well as a book signing will follow the interview.

As Ms. Birnbaum recounts in her book, head trauma from the accident led to nerve damage which caused her loss of the sense of smell and consequently the sense of taste.  Besides this devastation, she was only weeks away from enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America, pursuant to her dream of becoming a chef. No longer able to detect flavor in food, she moved to New York City and began to write. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, ARTnews magazine, the New York Post, USA Today, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others. She was awarded the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship for Arts and Culture from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2008. Today, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and works as an associate editor at America's Test Kitchen. She can smell almost everything again.

Reviewer Kate Tuttle of the Boston Globe wrote of the book: “In this thoughtful, expansive memoir, Birnbaum explores both her singular anguish following her injury, and the wide-ranging importance and meaning of smell. She investigates smell and memory, smell and sexuality, smell and emotion, smell and art, and meets with physicians, food-flavoring experts, [and] perfumers…After reading Birnbaum’s smart, lovely book, readers will be reminded to savor their next meal, each fragrant bite.”

Interviewer Julie Maloney has worked in the arts as a performer and educator her entire life. She is a poet and writer, photographer and teacher who has taught writing on both the high school and college levels. She is founder and director of Women Reading Aloud (WRA), a not-for-profit organization that promotes women writers in New Jersey and beyond. WRA holds special events, weekend writing retreats, conferences and on-going writing workshops in spring and fall during which women writers of all genres hone their work in a salon type setting. She recently led a writer's retreat in Greece and will return in June 2012 to lead another.

There is no charge to attend the program at the library, but advance sign-up is requested. Register online at and follow the link from Adult Programs, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.

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