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The Westport Library and Westport Country Playhouse present Matthew Greene in conversation about his new mystery, There's No Murder Like Show Murder. 

Tasha Weaver has seen her fair share of divas come and go while working as the costume shop head at the Eastbrook Playhouse, but her beloved theater is put at risk when the star of the show is killed in this fun but deadly debut.

Weaver is most at home in the cozy backstage world of the Eastbrook Playhouse. As the costume shop head at the charming regional theater, she’s used to watching dramatic acts of love and revenge from the shadows. But when Kurt Mozer — the insufferable Broadway reject who stars in their production of Annie Get Your Gun — is shot center stage, the spotlight turns to her. With the help of her friends, her longtime crush Bruno Machado, and her feline colleague Hilly, Tasha must catch a murderer before the shining lights of the playhouse go out forever.

“Theater fans will appreciate the behind-the-scenes knowledge, along with the small details so essential to the atmosphere of this cozy mystery.” —Library Journal, starred review

“Greene’s deep dive behind the scenes will tempt mystery fans and theater buffs alike.” —Kirkus

“This former Thespian gives There’s No Murder Like Show Murder a standing ovation. M.S. Greene’s cozy debut is a bona fide hit. Four stars!” —Frank Anthony Polito, award-winning author of Rehearsed to Death

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The New York Times best-selling author of Cork Dork returns to Westport and takes readers on another fascinating, hilarious, and revelatory journey — this time burrowing deep inside the secretive world of art and artists in Get the Picture. Bosker will be in conversation with one of  Westport's contemporary artists, Miggs Burroughs to help us understand the art world.

An award-winning journalist obsessed with obsession, Bianca Bosker’s existence was upended when she wandered into the art world — and couldn’t look away. Intrigued by artists who hyperventilate around their favorite colors and art fiends who max out credit cards to show hunks of metal they think can change the world, Bosker grew fixated on understanding why art matters and how she — or any of us — could engage with it more deeply.

In the New York Times best-seller Get the Picture, Bosker throws herself into the nerve center of art and the people who live for it: gallerists, collectors, curators, and, of course, artists themselves — the kind who work multiple jobs to afford their studios while scrabbling to get eyes on their art. As she stretches canvases until her fingers blister, talks her way into A-list parties full of billionaire collectors, has her face sat on by a nearly naked performance artist, and forces herself to stare at a single sculpture for hours on end while working as a museum security guard, she discovers not only the inner workings of the art-canonization machine but also a more expansive way of living.

Probing everything from cave paintings to Instagram, and from the science of sight to the importance of beauty as it examines art’s role in our culture, our economy, and our hearts, Get the Picture is a rollicking adventure that will change the way you see forever.

Read a review of Get the Picture from The Washington Post.

Bosker is the New York Times best-selling author of Cork Dork and, most recently, Get the Picture: A Mind-Bending Journey among the Inspired Artists and Obsessive Art Fiends Who Taught Me How to SeeA contributing writer at The Atlantic, she has also written for publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Her work has been recognized with awards from the New York Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists, and more, and has been included in The Best American Travel Writing.

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Meet Alisyn Camerota when her memoir, Combat Love, launches at The Westport Library. Alisyn will be in conversation with fellow memoirist and Westporter Gabi Coatsworth.

CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota’s memoir Combat Love is her story of growing up longing for stability and attachment as the foundation of her family crumbled. Set on the Jersey Shore in the free-range 1980s, Camerota finds the belonging she craves courtesy of a local punk rock band named Shrapnel and their diehard fans. Combat Love chronicles her near-misses and misadventures at clubs like CBGB and Max’s Kansas City, coupled with the sex, drugs, and punk rock of 1980s New Jersey. By the time she leaves home at 16, it feels like home had left her long ago.

Combat Love is also the story of two women, mother and daughter, trying to forge their own paths and independence, and find their own happiness, success, and wholeness. Camerota’s story searches for the line between shelter and risk, nurture and neglect, parenting and personal freedom. What are we willing to sacrifice for self-actualization and happiness? What if the answer is your mother, or your daughter?

The two-time Emmy Award-winning Camerota retraces her steps down an often gritty path toward her dream of becoming a journalist. At times heartbreaking and pulse-pounding, Combat Love is an inspiration for anyone who’s ever searched for that elusive place called home.

"A candid chronicle of hard-won survival." —Kirkus Reviews

"Combat Love is far more than an audacious coming of age story. It’s a reminder that beneath a successful adult’s polished exterior is the wildness of youth, vulnerability and loss.  Camerota shows us the hard-earned work of finding your voice. So, while you might pick up Combat Love because of the author’s familiar face, you won’t be able to put it down for her candor, wit, and storytelling. In an embarrassment of riches, Alisyn Camerota is as singular a writer as she is a broadcast journalist." —Adrienne Brodeur, bestselling author of Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me

Alisyn Camerota is a journalist, author, anchor, and correspondent for CNN. In her three decades in journalism, Camerota has covered stories nationally and internationally, earning two Emmy Awards and the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award. Her debut novel, Amanda Wakes Up, was selected by National Public Radio as one of the best books of 2017, and by Oprah Magazine as “a must read.”

Gabi Coatsworth is the author of a memoir, Love's Journey Home (May 2022), and a novel, A Beginner's Guide to Starting Over (April 2023), as well as a contributor to several anthologies. She runs monthly meetings for writers at The Westport Library.

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SELF!SH: An actress, a psychologist, and a branding guy walk into a library - it’s not the start of a joke, it’s the SELF!SH event.

Actress Stephanie Szostak shares insights from her new workbook SELF!SH: Step Into a Journey of Self-Discovery to Revive Confidence, Joy, and Meaning with Tasha Eurich, organizational psychologist and New York Times best-selling author, along with John Nunziato of LITTLE BIG BRANDS.

Discover how self-care and human-centric branding converge to nourish and elevate your personal growth. Learn how to create your own Playbook, reconnect to the best You, and bring more of what you cherish and value to life and to those around you. That’s SELF!SH.

Stephanie Szostak is an actress, author, and an ambassador for the mental health organization Give an Hour. Szostak left her native France to study business and play varsity golf at The College of William & Mary. At twenty-nine years old, after a brief stint at Chanel in New York City, she gave the acting world a try. Her most notable projects include The Devil Wears Prada, Iron Man 3Dinner for Schmucks, and ABC’s A Million Little Things. Stephanie is a Westport resident, mom, and competitive golfer.

John Nunziato is the founder of Little Big Brands, an award-winning branding firm. Over a 30 year career, he’s led pivotal brand creation and rebrands for a blue chip list of clients including Burger King, Little Spoon and Chicken of the Sea. Closer to home, he regularly donates his design talents to local schools and organizations in Westport.

Dr. Tasha Eurich is an organizational psychologist, researcher, and New York Times best-selling author (Bankable LeadershipInsightShatterproof: coming in 2025).Tasha has worked directly with more than 20,000 leaders at companies like Google, the NBA, Deloitte, Walmart, and White House Leadership Development Program. Her TEDX Talk has been viewed more than 8 million times.

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Learn about female writers during the Renaissance when Ramie Targoff discusses her new book, Shakespeare's Sisters: How Women Wrote the Renaissance, with Shannon Kelley PhD of Fairfield University.

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

About Shakespeare's Sisters:

In an innovative and engaging narrative of everyday life in Shakespeare’s England, Targoff carries us from the sumptuous coronation of Queen Elizabeth in the mid-16th century into the private lives of four women writers working at a time when women were legally the property of men. Few have heard of Aemilia Lanyer, the first woman in the 17th century to publish a book of original poetry, which offered a feminist take on the crucifixion, or Elizabeth Cary, who published the first original play by a woman, about the plight of the Jewish princess Mariam. Then there was Anne Clifford, a lifelong diarist who fought for decades against a patriarchy that tried to rob her of her land in one of England’s most infamous inheritance battles. These women had husbands and children to care for and little support for their art, yet against all odds they defined themselves as writers, finding rooms of their own where doors had been shut for centuries. Targoff flings those doors open, revealing the treasures left by these extraordinary women; in the process, she helps us see the Renaissance in a fresh light, creating a richer understanding of history and offering a much-needed female perspective on life in Shakespeare’s day.

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Ramie Targoff is the Jehuda Reinharz Professor of the Humanities, professor of English, and co-chair of Italian Studies at Brandeis University. She holds a BA from Yale University and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author, most recently, of Renaissance Woman, a biography of Vittoria Colonna, and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Shannon Kelley (Duke, PhD) is Director of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Associate Professor of English at Fairfield University, where she teaches courses in lyric poetry and Shakespeare. Her work on gender and the poetics of trauma in the poetry of Andrew Marvell won the Monroe Kirk Spears Award from Studies in English Literature in 2015.  Her current book manuscript under contract with Cornell University Press charts how race, gender, and trauma intersect by following the single metaphor of tree-becoming.

The Library is pleased to be able to offer free programs and events through the generous donations of patrons like you. Please consider giving to the Library so that we can continue to offer events like this one. Your donation is tax deductible. Donate Now!

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The Renaissance

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Celebrating 25 years writing mysteries about Parisian private investigator Aimée Leduc and the 21st novel in her series, Murder at la Villette, Cara Black comes to Westport. Black will be in conversation with Westport's voracious mystery reader Kelle Ruden.

Aimée has been framed for the murder of her daughter’s father — now she’s on the lam, and must find the real killer to clear her name in this thrilling installment of Black’s New York Times best-selling mystery series.

Melac, Aimée's ex, has been hounding her for weeks, pressuring her to move little Chloé to Brittany, threatening to take her to court for custody — all but stalking her. Harassed and fed up, Aimée has stopped taking his calls. That’s why she doesn’t know as she’s leaving a client’s office late one night that Melac is waiting for her by the Bassin de la Villette — where an assailant attacks him just in time for Aimee to find his still-bleeding body in the canal. Interrupted, the killer knocks Aimée unconscious and plants the bloody knife in her hands for the police to find.

Now Aimée is in police custody, debilitated by her concussion, with overwhelming evidence working against her. She has to figure out who murdered Melac. Cut off from her typical network and forced to operate under multiple layers of cover, Aimée must go deep into the underbelly of Paris’s 19th arrondissement, where she rubs shoulders with biker gangs, paranoid journalists, grieving parents, and frustratingly tight-lipped ex-cops on her hunt for justice.

Cara Black is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of 20 books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series, and two World War II-set novels featuring American markswoman Kate Rees. Black has received multiple nominations for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, a Washington Post Book World Book of the Year citation, the Médaille de la Ville de Paris — the Paris City Medal, which is awarded in recognition of contribution to international culture — and invitations to be the guest of honor at conferences such as the Paris Polar Crime Festival and Left Coast Crime. With more than 400,000 books in print, the Aimée Leduc series has been translated into German, Norwegian, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew.

Kelle Ruden’s career in the book business has included bookstores, publishing, and libraries. She served as the manager and editor of the Discover Great New Writers program at Barnes & Noble, as a marketing director at Random House, and as the program director at The Westport Library from 2013 to 2016, where she planned and executed more than 400 cultural and educational programs each year. Ruden has been leading book discussions for more than 25 years, including 17 years spent with the Library’s mystery group, The Usual Suspects. She has been a Westport resident since 2000 and served two terms as a member of the Westport Arts Advisory Committee, appointed by the First Selectman.

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The Library is pleased to be able to offer free programs and events through the generous donations of patrons like you. Please consider giving to the Library so that we can continue to offer events like this one. Your donation is tax deductible. Donate Now!

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Best-selling author Todd Brewster believes America invented childhood, and in his book, American Childhood: A Photographic History, he tells how it was that America became the first nation to see children not merely as “adults in waiting,” but in a separate sphere of life. He uses photographs from archives, flea shops, and other collections to tell stories of the famous (a young Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Shirley Temple, Lady Gaga, and Ernest Hemingway) and the infamous. Brewster speaks to the mysteries of the unknown or under-appreciated child, some for whom a small studio photograph may be the only public trace they have left behind but where careful research deriving from the photograph reveals a life of distinction.

The book, which includes more than 200 stunning photographs of children (from the Civil War era to the present) has been hailed by the New York Times and was chosen as an ABC Good Morning America “Buzz Pick” for 2023.

Please register for this in-person event. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the program.

Todd Brewster is a veteran journalist and historian who has served as senior producer of ABC News and a senior editor with Time. He is the co-author, with the late Peter Jennings, of the monumental best-seller The Century and was executive producer of the award-winning ABC documentary series of the same name. He has written for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Time. In 2014, his book on the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln’s Gamble, appeared to great critical acclaim.

Brewster has served as Knight Fellow at Yale Law School and has taught journalism and constitutional law at Temple University, Wesleyan University, and until 2022 was senior lecturer in journalism at Mount Holyoke College. He is the founding director of The Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution. From 2008-12, he was the director of the Center for Oral History at West Point. His two most recent book is Seen and Unseen: Technology, Social Media and the Fight For Racial Justice, co-authored with Marc Lamont Hill.

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Hear about books written by your Westport neighbors in the Saugatuck Scribes series! This event presents two memoirs from Westport native Anya Liftig and Diane Lowman, the Town's former poet laureate, who will be in conversation with each other. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Please let us know you'll be coming by registering here.

Anya Liftig grew up with a foot in two very different worlds: While her mother’s upbringing was so rural that the other kids called her “holler rat,” her father came from a comfortable, upper-middle-class Jewish family. Liftig spent school years in Westport in the '80s and '90s and summers in the holler. Shaped by the experience, she would go on to win a scholarship to Yale and become an acclaimed artist, using provocative performances to explore the contradictions and unanswered questions of her life. In Holler Rat, Liftig masterfully interweaves family lore from her Appalachian childhood with her performance art pieces and scenes of the yearlong period in which her life fell apart and plumbs the cathartic self-reckoning that followed. She takes us from her Mamaw’s porch to Yale, from the site of a violent family land feud to a pre-gentrified Bushwick loft, and from a devastating childhood leg injury to having 243 raw eggs pelted at her in the name of art. In visceral, beautiful prose that ranges from raunchy and outrageous to sobering and tragic, Holler Rat is the origin story of an unconventional artistic life and a captivating account of the stumbling blocks, sacrifices, and discoveries along the way.

In search of fulfillment and purpose, Diane embarks on a life-changing adventure: a senior year abroad studying her literary hero at the prestigious Shakespeare Institute in Stratford Upon Avon. With nothing to hold her back, she sells her belongings and enrolls in the M.A. program, ready to take on the challenge of being a “mature student” and expatriate. In this captivating memoir, The Undiscovered Country: Seeing Myself Through Shakespeare’s Eyes, Diane shares her transformative experiences, both personal and academic, as she immerses herself in the world of Shakespeare. Follow her on this exciting and sometimes tumultuous journey, as she learns as much about herself as she does about the works of the Bard. Award-winning essayist and author of Nothing But Blue, Diane Meyer Lowman invites you to join her on this physical, emotional, and mental voyage of discovery.

Diane Lowman is an award-winning essayist, memoirist, and poet, who  served as Westport’s inaugural Poet Laureate from 2019-2022. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including O, The Oprah Magazine; Brain, Child; and Brevity Blog, and she writes a regular column, Everything’s an Essay. Her first memoir, Nothing But Blue was published in 2018. Diane received her MA in Shakespeare Studies from the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute and has explored other forms of literary expression in more than 2,500 haiku (link to LotusHaiku) and in essays on and reviews of Shakespeare’s plays in various academic publications. Diane teaches writing, Shakespeare, and yoga, and divides her time between her hometown of Westport, CT, and her home away from home in Stratford Upon Avon, England.

A writer and artist, Anya Liftig's work has been featured at TATE Modern, MOMA, CPR, Highways Performance Space, Lapsody4 Finland, Fado Toronto, Performance Art Institute, Queens Museum, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Performer Stammtisch Berlin, OVADA, Joyce Soho and many other venues. In “The Anxiety of Influence” she dressed exactly like Marina Abramovic and sat across from her all day during “The Artist is Present” exhibition. Her work has been published and written about in The New York Times Magazine, BOMB, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue Italia, Next Magazine, Now and Then, Stay Thirsty, New York Magazine, Gothamist, Jezebel, Hyperallergic, Bad at Sports, The Other Journal, and many others. She is a graduate of Yale University and Georgia State University and has received grant and residency support from MacDowell, Yaddo, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Franklin Furnace, KHN Center, Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Museum, Mertz Gilmore, Flux Projects, University of Antioquia and Casa Tres Patios-Medellin, Colombia.

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Neil Gaiman, the prolific and admired author whose work includes American Gods, Coraline, and the graphic novel series The Sandman, will be this year’s keynote speaker at StoryFest 2023. He will be in conversation with award-winning, best-selling author, and StoryFest veteran Stephen Graham Jones.

The sixth edition of StoryFest, The Westport Library’s annual celebration of reading, writing, ideas, and community, will be held October 20-22.

Gaiman will headline opening night in the Library’s Trefz Forum. StoryFest 2023 will also include panel discussions and additional events on Saturday, October 21, and Sunday, October 22, with scheduled authors Angie Kim, Gabino Iglesias, Caroline Kepnes, Eric LaRocca, Josh Malerman, and many, many more.

The allotment of tickets for the free StoryFest 2023 keynote conversation and Fall 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts with author Neil Gaiman has been claimed. To join the waitlist, please visit our tickets page, click "Get Tickets," and sign up for the waitlist. Also, we will be livestreaming the talk at at no charge; more information on the livestream will be coming closer to the event. And there will be a limited number of Neil Gaiman-signed books available during StoryFest on Saturday, October 21, and Sunday, October 22.

This year’s StoryFest keynote is doubling as the Fall 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts, following the spring edition that featured artist and former Psychedelic Furs frontman Richard Butler. The Spring 2023 Malloy Lecture was held in conjunction with VersoFest, the Library’s annual music and media festival. The Malloy Lecture in the Arts, delivered free to the public since 2002 thanks to the generosity of Westport artist Susan Malloy, highlight individuals who have had significant cultural influence and whose work has enhanced the understanding and appreciation of the arts.

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Renowned for his stage presence and oration, Gaiman routinely sells out large venues throughout the United States.

Following his early work as a journalist and biographer, Gaiman achieved fame — and cult status — with The Sandman series, which ran for 75 issues and earned him nine Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and three Harvey Awards. In 1991, Sandman was recognized with the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, making it the first comic ever to receive a literary award.

After Sandman, Gaiman turned to novels, producing The New York Times best-sellers Good Omens (1990), Neverwhere (1995), Stardust (1999), the Hugo Award- and Nebula Award-winning American Gods (2001), and Anansi Boys (2005), as well as the short story collections Smoke and Mirrors (1998) and Fragile Things (2006).

Gaiman also has written a number of celebrated children’s and young adult books, including the Hugo Award-, Nebula Award-, and British Science Fiction Award-winning Coraline (2002); The Wolves in the Walls (2003); Odd and the Frost Giants (2008); The Graveyard Book (2008), which was awarded both the Carnegie Medal and the Newberry Medal; and Crazy Hair (2009), among many others.

Unsurprisingly, given their popularity and acclaim, Gaiman’s books have been adapted for film and theater. Stardust and Coraline were both made into feature films, with Coraline winning a BAFTA Award and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Film. Coraline was also adapted as a musical, and The Wolves in the Walls was developed into an opera by the Scottish National Theatre in 2006.

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Graham Jones is a professor at the University of Colorado and a New York Times best-selling author of some 30 novels and collections, including Mongrels, The Only Good Indians, My Heart is a Chainsaw, and Earthdivers.

Among his many honors include the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction, the LA Times Ray Bradbury Prize, the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, the Western Literature Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award, the American Library Association’s RUSA Award and Alex Award, the 2023 American Indian Festival of Words Writers Award, the Locus Award, four Bram Stoker Awards, three Shirley Jackson Awards, and six This is Horror Awards. In addition, he’s been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and the British Fantasy Award.

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Neil Gaiman, the prolific and admired author whose work includes American Gods, Coraline, and the graphic novel series The Sandman, will be this year’s keynote speaker at StoryFest 2023.

The sixth edition of StoryFest, The Westport Library’s annual celebration of reading, writing, ideas, and community, will be held October 20-22.

Gaiman will headline opening night on Friday, October 20, in the Library’s Trefz Forum. The festival will also include panel discussions and additional events on Saturday, October 21, and Sunday, October 22, with scheduled authors Angie Kim, Gabino Iglesias, Stephen Graham Jones, Caroline Kepnes, Eric LaRocca, Josh Malerman, and many, many more.

The free registration for the keynote address will go live to the public on Tuesday, June 20, at 9 am. The complete lineup and schedule for StoryFest 2023 will be announced this summer.

The largest literary festival in Connecticut and one of the biggest in New England, StoryFest drew more than 800 participants and 40 authors to the Library for its 2022 edition — an impressive collection of writers that included New York Times best-selling author Isaac Fitzgerald, Kirkus Prize recipient Saeed Jones, and famed fantasy writer Naomi Novik.

This year’s StoryFest keynote is doubling as the Fall 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts, following the spring edition that featured artist and former Psychedelic Furs frontman Richard Butler. The Spring 2023 Malloy Lecture was held in conjunction with VersoFest, the Library’s annual music and media festival.

The Malloy Lecture in the Arts, delivered free to the public since 2002 thanks to the generosity of Westport artist Susan Malloy, highlight individuals who have had significant cultural influence and whose work has enhanced the understanding and appreciation of the arts.

“It is a heady task to deliver both the StoryFest keynote and the Fall 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts, but without question Neil Gaiman is the person for the job,” said Westport Library Executive Director Bill Harmer. “Few writers can match his cultural influence, output, and undeniable storytelling skill. Beyond that, he is a captivating and engaging speaker. We couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the Library and are delighted that our community will get to experience his magic in person.”

Renowned for his stage presence and oration, Gaiman routinely sells out large venues throughout the United States. Following his early work as a journalist and biographer, Gaiman achieved fame — and cult status — with The Sandman series, which ran for 75 issues and earned him nine Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and three Harvey Awards. In 1991, Sandman was recognized with the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, making it the first comic ever to receive a literary award.

Following Sandman, Gaiman turned to novels, producing The New York Times best-sellers Good Omens (1990), Neverwhere (1995), Stardust (1999), American Gods (2001), and Anansi Boys (2005), as well as the short story collections Smoke and Mirrors (1998) and Fragile Things (2006). American Gods was honored with both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, and Smoke and Mirrors was nominated for the UK's MacMillan Silver Pen Awards as the best short story collection of the year.

Gaiman also has written a number of celebrated children’s and young adult books, including Coraline (2002), The Wolves in the Walls (2003), Odd and the Frost Giants (2008), The Graveyard Book (2008), and Crazy Hair (2009), among others. 

Coraline won the British Science Fiction Award, the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the American Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award; Crazy Hair was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal; and The Graveyard Book won the UK's Booktrust Prize for Teenage Fiction and the 2010 UK CILIP Carnegie Medal, as well as the Newbery Medal, the highest honor given in U.S. children's literature, and the Locus Young Adult Award and the Hugo Best Novel Prize. With those honors, Gaiman became the first author ever to win both the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal with the same book. 

Unsurprisingly, given their popularity and acclaim, Gaiman’s books have been adapted for film and theater. Stardust and Coraline were both made into feature films, with Coraline winning a BAFTA Award and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Film. Coraline was also adapted as a musical, and The Wolves in the Walls was developed into an opera by the Scottish National Theatre in 2006.

Gaiman traces much of his success back to libraries, of which he is an avowed fan, making him the perfect fit to open StoryFest 2023 and serve as the guest speaker for the Fall 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts.

“I wouldn’t be who I am without libraries,” Gaiman said on his website. “I was the sort of kid who devoured books, and my happiest times as a boy were when I persuaded my parents to drop me off in the local library on their way to work, and I spent the day there. I discovered that librarians actually want to help you: They taught me about interlibrary loans.”

Past StoryFest participants include New York Times best-selling authors Mitch Albom and Michael Lewis; National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds; Pinkalicious author/illustrator Victoria Kann; Goosebumps author R.L. Stine; young adult superstars Nic Stone, Tiffany Jackson, and L.L. McKinney; and Emmy Award winner Sheila Nevins.

In addition to Butler, previous Malloy Lecture programs have featured Philippe de Montebello, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; distinguished playwright Arthur Miller; artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude; musicians Joshua Bell and Frederic Chiu; U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins; Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation; author Joyce Carol Oates; cartoonist Roz Chast; actor Christopher Plummer; stage, film, and theater star John Lithgow; preeminent classical dancer Jacques d'Amboise; music legend Clive Davis; author Salman Rushdie; Falsettos: In Conversation; Bernstein on Broadway; playwright, actor, and educator Anna Deavere Smith; and Tony Award-winning actress Kelli O’Hara in conversation with renowned American theater director Bartlett Sher.

Pulitzer Prize finalist Nicholas Dawidoff will be appearing at The Westport Library on Thursday, May 25, at 7 pm to talk about his riveting 2022 book, The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Injustice, and the American City.

Dawidoff will be in conversation with Norwalk Community College Professor and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Althea Seaborn.

Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Register here for this free event.

Dawidoff is the critically acclaimed author of five books, including The Catcher Was a Spy, The Fly Swatter, and In the Country of Country. In addition to being a Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Fly Swatter, he has also been a Guggenheim, Berlin Prize, and Art for Justice Fellow.

For The Other Side of Prospect, Dawidoff returned to his hometown of New Haven, Connecticut, and dedicated eight years to researching and writing. Urban decay, white flight, redlining — the transformation of Newhallville, in Dawidoff’s telling, make these symptoms of racist neglect vividly clear. As Bobby, the subject of the book, says, “Lack of jobs. Men don’t know how to be. That’s the tragedy of our world.”

The Other Side of Prospect was a finalist for the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism and also for the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts.

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Description from book publisher W.W. Norton & Company:

One New Haven summer evening in 2006, a retired grandfather was shot point-blank by a young stranger. A hasty police investigation culminated in innocent 16-year-old Bobby being sentenced to prison for 38 years.

In The Other Side of Prospect, he has produced an immersive portrait of a seminal community in an old American city now beset by division and gun violence. Tracing the histories of three people whose lives meet in tragedy — victim Pete Fields, likely murderer Major, and Bobby — Dawidoff indelibly describes optimistic families coming north from South Carolina as part of the Great Migration, for the promise of opportunity and upward mobility, and the harrowing costs of deindustrialization and neglect.

Foremost are the unique challenges confronted by children like Major and Bobby coming of age in their “forgotten” neighborhood, steps from Yale University. After years in prison, with the help of a true-believing lawyer, Bobby is finally set free. His subsequent struggles with the memories of prison, and his heartbreaking efforts to reconnect with family and community, exemplify the challenges the formerly incarcerated face upon reentry into society and, writes Reginald Dwayne Betts, make this “the best book about the crisis of incarceration in America.”

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Event Information:

Nicholas Dawidoff Discusses ‘The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Justice, and the American City'
Thursday, May 25
7 pm
Trefz Forum, The Westport Library

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