Anderson Cooper, Anna Quindlen, Amy Bloom, Among Author Appearances – Hartford Courant

Chris Bohjalian, the bestselling author of 18 books, will be the guest speaker at the Friends of the Simsbury Library’s annual Booked for Lunch Author Luncheon on May 19 at noon at Hopmeadow Country Club, 85 Firetown Road, Simsbury.

The cost to attend the luncheon and talk is $30. Reservations must be made before Thursday, May 5.

Bohjalian, who lives in Vermont, has a wide following for his novels, which often involve current issues. His latest is “The Guest Room” (Knopf Doubleday, $25.95), which explores the horrors of human sex trafficking. His earlier books include “Midwives,” “Sandcastle Girls” and “The Double Bind,” and three have been adapted as films. He also frequently contributes to newspapers and magazines.

Reservations can be made at or with a form available at the library’s reference desk. Information: 860-658-7663.

Authors At R.J. Julia

Journalist Anderson Cooper will appear at R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison 2 p.m. May 7, for a book signing. Cooper, who is anchor for “Anderson Cooper 360°’’ on CNN and a correspondent for CBS’s “60 Minutes,” will sign copies of his latest book “The Rainbow Comes and Goes’’ that he co-authored with his mother Gloria Vanderbilt. Cost is $30 and the ticket includes admission to the book signing and a copy of the book.

Novelist and journalist Anna Quindlen will join a conversation with novelist and short story writer Amy Bloom on Tuesday, May 3, in a program presented by R.J. Julia. It will take place at 7 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Madison, 26 Meeting House Lane. Tickets are $30, plus tax, and include one copy of Quindlen’s latest novel, “Miller’s Valley” (Random House, $28). The book, her eighth, is the story of a small town threatened by a planned flooding to create a reservoir and the lives of the people who are affected. Quindlen, a former New York Times columnist who won a Pulitzer Prize for her commentaries, also wrote the memoir “Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake” and “A Short Guide to a Happy Life.” Bloom, who is a psychotherapist and teaches creative writing at Wesleyan University, is a National Book Award finalist whose stories have appeared in “The Best American Short Stories,” “O. Henry Prize Short Stories” and other anthologies.

Susan Branch will sign copies of “Martha’s Vineyard: Isle of Dreams” ( Spring Street Publishing, $28.95), her memoir about following the dream of living in New England by moving from California to Martha’s Vineyard, at the bookstore on Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m. The cost, for admission to the signing and a copy of the book, is $30. The bookstore is at 768 Boston Post Road, Madison.

Lucy Burdette, the pen name of author and clinical psychologist Roberta Isleib, will give a free talk at the bookstore about “Killer Takeout” (New American Library, $7.99), on Wednesday, May 4, a 7 p.m.. The book is the latest in her Key West Food Critic Mystery series featuring crime-solving Hayley Snow.

Registration is required for all events: 203-245-3959 or

Online Or Face-To-Face

Three experts on digital technology will discuss whether online connectivity through social media is harming face-to-face conversation in a program presented jointly by the Mark Twain House & Museum and the Connecticut Forum on Wednesday, May 4, at 7 p.m.

David Greenfield of the Center for Internet & Technology Addiction, Slow Tech Movement founder Janell Burley Hofmann and tech ethicist David Ryan Polgar will speak at the Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford. Hofmann will sign copies of her book, “iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming and Growing Up” (Rodale Books, $17.99).

Tickets are $10 or $5 for Twain House members and CT Forum subscribers: 860-247-0998 or

Summer Reads

Three novelists who have written books that make for enjoyable summer reading will join in a Jewish Festival discussion, hosted by the Mandell Jewish Community Center, 335 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford, on Tuesday, May 3, at 7 p.m.

The speakers will be Elyssa Friedland, author of “Love and Miss Communication” (Morrow, $14.99); Emily Liebert, author of “Those Secrets We Keep” (NAL, $15); and Pam Jenoff, author of “Last Summer at Chelsea Beach” (Mira, $14.95). Julia Pistell will moderate. Tickets are $20: or 860-231-6316.

Sawhney And Bloom

Hirsh Sawhney, whose debut novel is “South Haven” (Akashic Books, $15.95), and writer Amy Bloom will present a free talk to launch the book on Thursday, May 5, at 7 p.m. at The Institute Library, 847 Chapel St., New Haven. The event is cosponsored by the New Haven Review.

Sawhney is the editor of Delhi Noir, an anthology of original fiction. He lives in New Haven and teaches at Wesleyan University. His book, set in the suburbs of New Haven, explores childhood and migration in suburban New England. “South Haven” is a Summer 2016 Pick in Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers Program that promotes works by new writers who are worthy of national attention. Information: 203-562-4045.

WordForge Reading Series

Poets Elizabeth Kincaid-Ehlers and Margaret Gibson will give a free WordForge Reading Series program, followed by an open mike, on Monday, May 2, at 7 p.m., at The Studio @ Billings Forge, 563 Broad St., Hartford.

Kincaid-Ehlers has a private practice in psychotherapy and has published three poetry collections, the most recent of which is “How Do I Hate Thee? A Sampler of Poetic Rage Against Cancer” (Antrim House, $15). Her honors include a North Country Poetry Prize.

Gibson, a professor emeritus from UConn, has published 11 poetry collections with LSU Press, most recently “Broken Cup” ($17.95) whose title poem won a Pushcart Prize this year. Her many honors include a Connecticut Book Award in Poetry. She has also written a memoir, “The Prodigal Daughter.” Information: 860-508-2810.

Lunch And Poetry Workshop

Prize-winning Connecticut poet John Surowiecki will lead a four-session poetry workshop called “Lunch And Poetry In The Merry Month Of May,” beginning Thursday, May 8, from noon to 2 p.m. and continuing on May 12, 19 and 26 at the Clinton Art Gallery, 20 E. Main St., Clinton. Surowiecki has published 11 poetry collections and has won a Poetry Foundation Pegasus Award and the Pablo Neruda Award, among others. He teaches at Manchester Community College.

The cost is $200 for the four sessions. Registration and information: [email protected] or 860-228-1434.

Mystery Book Discussion

Carole Shmurak, of Farmington, who writes the Susan Lombardi mystery novels, will lead a free discussion on Wednesday, May 4, at 3 p.m., of “Winter and Night” by S.J. Rozan, at Wallingford Public Library, 200 N. Main St., Wallingford. The discussion is part 4 of the Wallingford Mystery Group: The Award Goes To series. Information: 203-265-6754.

Writer’s Retreat

Registration is open through May 10 for a Writer’s Retreat led by British poet and creative writing teacher Brian Evans-Jones. It will be hosted by the East Haddam Stage Company and E.P.I.C. Publishing Services at Gillette Castle State Park, 67 River Road, East Haddam, on May 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Up to 16 aspiring or experienced writers in any genre can take part. The cost is $85.

The retreat will offer writing and discussion periods as well as time for exploring the unusual landmark castle built by famous actor and playwright William Gillette and its grounds. Evans-Jones has led writing workshops about the influence of place at several historic sites.

Registration can be made online by May 10 at

Information: 850-204-7450. Please do not call Gillette Castle for information.

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