Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tea and Conversation with Author Jayne Anne Phillips

Jayne Anne Phillips
Join us for tea and conversation as Julie Maloney, Director of Women Reading Aloud, conducts an up-close and personal interview with Jayne Anne Phillips, author of the new novel sensation, "Quiet Dell," at Bernardsville Public Library on Sunday, March 23 at 2:00 pm. 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. 

"Quiet Dell" is Ms. Phillips’ fifth novel.  Based on a true story, it's about the infamous 1931 murders committed in a hamlet of the same name near her hometown in West Virginia.  Con man Harry Powers led a double life, and preyed on vulnerable widows he met through matrimonial agencies.  He imprisoned and murdered an Illinois widow and her three children, and a Massachusetts divorcĂ©e, all of whom came to Quiet Dell willingly.  The tragedy was one of the first nationally sensationalized crimes in America, a story which preoccupied a rural town and the Depression-era nation for months.

Author Stephen King wrote of "Quiet Dell," "In a brilliant fusion of fact and fiction, Jayne Anne Phillips has written the novel of the year.  It’s the story of a serial killer’s crimes and capture, yes, but it’s also a compulsively readable story of how one brave woman faces up to acts of terrible violence in order to create something good and strong in the aftermath.  'Quiet Dell' will be compared to 'In Cold Blood,' but Phillips offers something Capote could not: a heroine who lights up the dark places and gives us hope in our humanity."

Ms. Phillips, who lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, is the author of "Lark and Termite," "Motherkind," "Shelter," and "Machine Dreams," and the widely anthologized collections of stories, "Fast Lanes and Black Tickets."  "Machine Dreams" (1984) was her first novel and a New York Times best seller; it was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of twelve Best Books Of The Year.  Ms. Phillips is a National Book Award and National Book Critic’s Circle Award finalist, and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Bunting Fellowship, the Sue Kaufman Prize, and an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.  She is Distinguished Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey, where she established The Writers At Newark Reading Series.

Interviewer Julie Maloney has worked in the arts as a performer and educator her entire life.  She is a poet and writer and founder/director of Women Reading Aloud (WRA), a not-for-profit organization that promotes women writers in New Jersey and beyond.   WRA holds workshops, special events, writing retreats, conferences and an on-going writing workshop series each spring and fall during which women writers of all genres hone their work in a salon type setting.  The annual Writer’s Weekend Retreat is held each April in Sea Girt, NJ.  In June, WRA returns for its fourth Greece Writer’s Retreat on the island of Alonnisos in the North Sporades.  Ms. Maloney is a frequent speaker on “Writing as a Life Tool.”

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

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