Author Eric Burns Discusses His First Novel

Thursday, Nov 8, 2018 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

After writing 11 works of nonfiction, Eric Burns has written his first novel Mid-Strut. He discusses it with fellow writer and Library Board of Trustees member Susan Ross.

Location: Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East

Kirkus Reviews says, "Burns’ (Someone to Watch Over Me, 2017, etc.) first foray into fiction tells the story of a man driven mad by the changing fortunes of his Pennsylvania steel town. ... It’s an idiosyncratic novel that follows an idiosyncratic protagonist, and Burns does not shy away from the parochial fixations of his and other characters; indeed, he leans into them. Even so, he manages to capture not only their quirkiness, but also their universal humanity. Any readers who live in a place that feels overlooked—or who’ve seen the world of their youth slip away—will relate to the people who populate this tale. An absorbing novel of aging and post-industrialization."

Dan Woog's 06880 "Mid Strut: Eric Burns' Novel Story"

Arnie “Stats” Castig is a fine, upstanding citizen of a dying mid-'60s western Pennsylvania steel town—until he does something heroic, gets fired for it and then snaps. He has lost his job, he as lost his music and for all he knows, he may be losing his wife. And so he seeks relief by immersing himself in the exploits of Joe Namath, “the son he might have had,” another western Pennyslvania steel town boy, who is about to make his debut as a pro football quarterback. What happens to Arnie is unexpected, heart-wrenching, and in its surprising way, miraculous.

Eric Burns has won major awards in three distinct genres. His first play captured the Eudora Welty Emerging Playwrights Competition in 2010, and had its “World Premiere” at the Pittsburgh Playhouse in 2012.
He was named one of the best writers in the history of television journalism, joining such luminaries as Edward R. Murrow, Charles Kuralt, Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley. He also took home an Emmy for writing commentary. As an author, his 1920: The Year That Made the Decade Roar was chosen as one of the best non-fiction books of 2015. Two of his other volumes won the highest award given by the American Library Association, being selected as the Best of the Best in 2004 (The Spirits of America: A Social History of Alcohol) and 2007 (The Smoke of the Gods: A Social History of Tobacco). Mid-Strut is his first novel.

Susan Ross teaches fiction at Westport Writers Workshop and is a member of the Library's Board of Trustees. She is the author of two middle grade novels, including Searching for Lottie, acontemporary mystery based on her family's experiences in the Holocaust, to be published this Spring.

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