Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tea and Conversation with Author Jill Smolowe

Join us for tea and conversation as Julie Maloney, Director of Women Reading Aloud, conducts an up-close and personal interview with Jill Smolowe, author of "Four Funerals and a Wedding: Resilience in a Time of Grief," at Bernardsville Public Library on Sunday, October 26 at 2:00 pm. Audience members will have a rare opportunity to ask the author questions about her work and her writing process. A book signing will follow the interview. Books will be available for purchase.

The book deals with the author's loss of her mother-in- law, her husband, her sister and her mother in the space of less than two years. The wedding refers to her own re-marriage. 

Christina Baker Kline, author of the New York Times bestseller "Orphan Train" who has also appeared in this series at Bernardsville Library, wrote of "Four Funerals and a Wedding, "Forget everything you've heard about the grieving process. Jill Smolowe's memoir about the death of her husband and other close family members -- and her eventual true-life happy ending -- upends conventional wisdom, providing a new narrative for grief. By turns humorous, matter-of-fact, and wise, Smolowe does not shy away from uncomfortable moments. But she also emphasizes moments of grace with an eloquence that will take your breath away. As she probes deeper into her own feelings and motivations, she's never maudlin or histrionic. You'll feel like you're in the company of a wise, funny, rigorously honest and yet compassionate friend… Her insights about grieving, and moving beyond grief, should be required reading for all humans." 

Ms. Smolowe, a resident of Montclair, is an award-winning journalist and, in addition to "Four Funerals and a Wedding," she has written another memoir, "An Empty Lap: One Couple’s Journey to Parenthood," and is co-editor of the anthology "A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents." She has been a foreign affairs writer for Time and Newsweek, and a senior writer for People, where she specialized in crime, TV and music stories. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, including the New York Times, the Boston Globe, The Washington Post Magazine, More, Red [UK], Bark, Adoptive Families and the Reader’s Digest “Today’s Best Non-Fiction” series.

After completing "Four Funerals and a Wedding," Ms. Smolowe found new expression for her interest in the intersection between grief and resilience by becoming a certified grief and transition coach. Today, she partners with clients to help them identify and then take, the steps that will restore joy and momentum to their lives.

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 returned 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 and follow the link from Adult Programs, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.

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