Hot new novel ‘Brewster’ kicks off Larkin Square Author Series - The Buffalo News
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Hot new novel ‘Brewster’ kicks off Larkin Square Author Series

The author of a hot new novel will kick off the second annual Larkin Square Author Series on Thursday.

Mark Slouka, a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine, will talk about his novel “Brewster,” in a presentation from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in The Filling Station Restaurant at Larkin Square, 745 Seneca St.

Admission is free. Authors’ comments are audible throughout the Square, where the crowd gathers, enjoying light refreshments sold in the Filling Station.

Slouka’s appearance is the first in a series of 11 presentations, all from 5 to 6:30 p.m., set to run through late May.

“The community embraced our author series so much that publishers are taking note, allowing us to bring more nationally acclaimed authors to Larkin Square,” said Leslie Zemsky, Larkin Square’s official director of fun. “At the same time we are keeping it fun and fresh with a variety of topics, and we have added more dates to the series thanks to the support of First Niagara and Talking Leaves.”

In a New York Times review of “Brewster” published Aug. 9, the book (Norton, 283 pages, $25.95), which tells the story of two teenagers in Brewster during the Vietnam era, was described as “a powerfully nostalgic novel steeped in innocence and idleness.”

“It’s a gritty book, so I felt some connection to Buffalo,” said Zemsky, “And he’s getting so much great press that I am excited that we are getting this kind of author coming through Buffalo, and I hope we get a lot more of this.”

Some speakers are not authors, or will not be speaking about a current book. On Sept. 23, Margaret Sullivan, former editor of The Buffalo News who is now public editor at the New York Times, will discuss “Writing the Big Apple” and recommend several books on the topic of New York City.

On March 3, Janne Sirén, director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the author, co-author and editor of books in Finnish and English, will speak on visual literacy and the museum as a place of innovation.

On May 21, in anticipation of Buffalo hosting the national Conference for New Urbanism, Howard Zemsky and Tim Tielman, local leaders in urban planning, preservation and economic development, will lead “A Conversation About New Urbanism.”

“I plan to keep doing a mix of published authors and other speakers,” said Leslie Zemsky. “We purposely want to make it eclectic.”

Some people who have enjoyed the Larkin Square series have never attended a book talk before, said Zemsky. “People like to be able to have a glass of wine and not be in a stuffy environment,” she said. “You don’t have to be an intellectual, you just have to take a chance.”

On Oct. 15, Michael Joyce, author of “Going the Distance,” and Mick Cochrane, author of “The Girl Who Threw Butterflies” and “Fitz,” will speak on “Writing Sports, Writing Fiction.”

On Oct. 28, Mason Winfield, author or co-author of several books, including, “A Ghosthunter’s Journal: Tales of the Supernatural and the Strange in Upstate New York,” will share chilling stories, including some set in and around Larkinville.

On Nov. 19, Peter Georgescu, who spent part of his childhood in a Romanian labor camp and is now chairman emeritus of the global advertising agency Young & Rubicam, will talk about “The Constant Choice: An Everyday Journey from Evil Toward Good.”

On Dec. 3, Ann Hood, author of the novels “The Obituary Writer” and “The Red Thread,” will talk about her new book. “Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting.” This collection of essays by 27 well-known writers on the power of knitting will be published in November.

On Jan. 13, Kathleen McCleary will talk about her novel, “Leaving Haven,” a moving story of love and parenthood, which will be published Oct. 1.

On May 5, Elinor Lipman, best-selling author of the novel “The View from Penthouse B” and a collection of essays about her life, “I Can’t Complain: (All Too) Personal Essays,” will speak.

Zemsky said Lipman will come to Buffalo “at the invitation of her friend and fellow novelist Lauren Belfer,” who drew a huge crowd when she spoke in the series in May.

Zemsky says more authors will be added, including Buffalo News reporter Charity Vogel, whose book, “The Angola Horror,” will be published next week, and Bruce Katz, who co-authored “The Metropolitan Revolution.”


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