Virtual Events

Book Passage Presents: Dorothy Wickenden - The Agitators (Online Event)

Saturday, April 10, 2021 - 4:00pm

Saturday, April 10th, 2021

Live • Online • 4:00pm PT/7:00pm ET

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From the intimate perspective of three friends and neighbors in mid-nineteenth century Auburn, New York—the “agitators” of the title—acclaimed author Dorothy Wickenden tells the fascinating and crucially American stories of abolition, the Underground Railroad, the early women’s rights movement, and the Civil War.

Harriet Tubman—no-nonsense, funny, uncannily prescient, and strategically brilliant—was one of the most important conductors on the underground railroad and hid the enslaved men, women, and children she rescued in the basement kitchens of Martha Wright, Quaker mother of seven, and Frances Seward, wife of Governor, then Senator, then Secretary of State William H. Seward.

Harriet worked for the Union Army in South Carolina as a nurse and spy, and took part in a river raid in which 750 enslaved people were freed from rice plantations. Martha, a “dangerous woman” in the eyes of her neighbors and a harsh critic of Lincoln’s policy on slavery, organized women’s rights and abolitionist conventions with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Frances gave freedom seekers money and referrals and aided in their education. The most conventional of the three friends, she hid her radicalism in public; behind the scenes, she argued strenuously with her husband about the urgency of immediate abolition.

Many of the most prominent figures in the history books—Lincoln, Seward, Daniel Webster, Frederick Douglass, Charles Sumner, John Brown, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Lloyd Garrison—are seen through the discerning eyes of the protagonists. So are the most explosive political debates: about women’s roles and rights during the abolition crusade, emancipation, and the arming of Black troops; and about the true meaning of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Beginning two decades before the Civil War, when Harriet Tubman was still enslaved and Martha and Frances were young women bound by law and tradition, The Agitators ends two decades after the war, in a radically changed United States. Wickenden brings this extraordinary period of our history to life through the richly detailed letters her characters wrote several times a week. Like Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals and David McCullough’s John Adams, Wickenden’s The Agitators is revelatory, riveting, and profoundly relevant to our own time.

Dorothy Wickenden is the author of Nothing Daunted and The Agitators, and has been the executive editor of The New Yorker since January 1996. She also writes for the magazine and is the moderator of its weekly podcast The Political Scene. A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard, Wickenden was national affairs editor at Newsweek from 1993-1995, and before that was the longtime executive editor at The New Republic. She lives with her husband in Westchester, New York.

 

Dorothy Wickenden photo by Jayme Grodi

 

Book Passage Presents: Jason Dearen - Kill Shot (Online Event)

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 5:00pm

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Live • Online • 5:00pm PT/8:00pm ET

In conversation with James Nestor

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An award-winning investigative journalist's horrifying true crime story of America's deadliest drug contamination outbreak and the greed and deception that fueled it.

Two pharmacists sit in a Boston courtroom accused of murder. The weapon: the fungus Exserohilum rostratum. The death count: 100 and rising. Kill Shot is the story of their hubris and fraud, discovered by a team of medical detectives who raced against the clock to hunt the killers and the fungal meningitis they'd unleashed.

"Bloodthirsty" is how doctors described the fungal microbe that contaminated thousands of drug vials produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC). Though NECC chief Barry Cadden called his company the "Ferrari of Compounders," it was a slapdash operation of unqualified staff, mold-ridden lab surfaces, and hastily made medications that were injected into approximately 14,000 people. Once inside some of its human hosts, the fungus traveled through the tough tissue around the spine and wormed upward to the "deep brain," our control center for balance, breath, and the vital motor functions of life.

Now, investigative journalist Jason Dearen turns a spotlight on this tragedy—the victims, the heroes, and the perpetrators—and the legal loopholes that allowed it to occur. Kill Shot forces a powerful but unchecked industry out of the shadows.

Jason Dearen is an award-winning investigative journalist for the Associated Press and was a 2018-2019 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. His work appears regularly in hundreds of newspapers and websites, including The Washington Post, The Guardian, USA Today, and The New York Times. He has twice been nominated by the Associated Press for the Pulitzer Prize. Dearen grew up in California and attended the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He lives with his wife, a law professor.

James Nestor has written for Outside, Scientific American, The Atlantic, Dwell, The New York Times, and many other publications. He is most recently the author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. His book Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves was a finalist for the 2015 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing, an Amazon Best Science Book of 2014, and more. Nestor has appeared on dozens of national television shows, including ABC’s Nightline and CBS’s Morning News, and on NPR. He lives and breathes in San Francisco.

 

Jason Dearen photo by Charlotte Kesl; James Nestor photo by Julie Floersch

 

Book Passage Presents: Rhys Bowen - The Venice Sketchbook (Online Event)

Sunday, April 18, 2021 - 4:00pm

Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Live • Online • 4:00pm PT/7:00pm ET

In conversation with Cara Black

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Love and secrets collide in Venice during WWII in an enthralling novel of brief encounters and lasting romance by the New York Times bestselling author of The Tuscan Child and Above the Bay of Angels.

Caroline Grant is struggling to accept the end of her marriage when she receives an unexpected bequest. Her beloved great-aunt Lettie leaves her a sketchbook, three keys, and a final whisper...Venice. Caroline's quest: to scatter Juliet "Lettie" Browning's ashes in the city she loved and to unlock the mysteries stored away for more than sixty years.

It's 1938 when art teacher Juliet Browning arrives in romantic Venice. For her students, it's a wealth of history, art, and beauty. For Juliet, it's poignant memories and a chance to reconnect with Leonardo Da Rossi, the man she loves whose future is already determined by his noble family. However star-crossed, nothing can come between them. Until the threat of war closes in on Venice and they're forced to fight, survive, and protect a secret that will bind them forever.

Key by key, Lettie's life of impossible love, loss, and courage unfolds. It's one that Caroline can now make right again as her own journey of self-discovery begins.

Rhys Bowen is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and #1 Kindle bestselling author of two historical mystery series and five historical standalone novels. Her Molly Murphy mysteries are set in early 1900s New York City and her popular Royal Spyness books feature a minor royal in the 1930s. Rhys’s histórical standalone novels take us to the first half of the twentieth century, with three of them focusing on WWII. They have been international bestsellers with The Tuscan Child now close to a million sold in countries around the world. Her works have been translated into 29 languages and she has won twenty major awards for her writing. This year she will be guest of honor at the Malice Domestic Convention. Rhys was born and raised in Britain, was a former broadcaster with the BBC, and lived in Australia before settling in California. She and husband John still travel widely (in normal years). To learn more about the author, visit rhysbowen.com.

Cara Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 19 books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series, which is set in Paris. Cara 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.

 

Rhys Bowen photo by Douglas Sonders; Cara Black photo courtesy of author

 

Book Passage Presents: Dena Grunt - Table with a View (Online Event)

Thursday, May 13, 2021 - 6:00pm

Thursday, May 13th, 2021

Live • Online • 6:00pm PT/9:00pm ET

In conversation with Avram Kosasky

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Northern California’s historic Nick’s Cove restaurant brings you the finest in seasonal farm-to-table and seafood cuisine.

Nick’s Cove, perched alongside beautiful Tomales Bay, opened its doors in the 1930s and has been a Northern California destination ever since. Table with a View: The History and Recipes of Nick’s Cove celebrates the historic restaurant, bar, and inn’s award-winning cuisine, which features fresh seafood, locally sourced meats, and seasonal produce from their on-site farm and garden, the Croft. Inspired by the area’s serene natural beauty and abundant resources, the restaurant’s dishes reflect the perfect combination of comfort and refinement, embracing an elegant approach to hearty farm-to-table cuisine. From new takes on classics such as Oysters Nickerfeller and Crab Benedict to hearty fare like Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese and Seared Duck with Blackberry Sauce, Table with a View is much more than a cookbook—it’s a celebration of a cultural heritage in a region shaped largely by its culinary bounty.

Dena Grunt is president of Highway 1 Hospitality and oversees all aspects of operations at the company’s Northern California businesses. She lives in Petaluma, California, with her husband and son.

Avram Kosasky lives and works in New York City selling natural and terroir driven wines to the city’s best restaurants and retailers. Raised in the rolling hills of Marin County, wine country was never far away. After studying conceptual art and working in magazines and industrial design, he found himself always drawn back to the many and exquisite expressions of the vine. He devotes himself to seeking out new wines and producers and sharing them with his community and friends.

 

Dena Grunt photo by Erin Wrightsman

 

Book Passage Presents: Jennifer Risher - We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth (Online Event)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 6:00pm

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

Live • Online • 6:00pm PT/9:00pm ET

In conversation with Cameron Huddleston

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When Jennifer Risher joined Microsoft in 1991, she met her husband, and with him became an extra-lucky beneficiary of the dot-com boom. By their early thirties, they had tens of millions of dollars. Today, there are millions of people like her. Jennifer's thought-provoking, personal story includes the voices of others in her demographic and explores the hidden impact of wealth on identity, relationships, and sense of place in the world. At a time when income inequality is a huge problem, our country's economic system is broken, and money is still a taboo subject even among those closest to us, this engaging, introspective memoir is essential reading: a catalyst for conversation that demystifies wealth and inspires us to connect.

Jennifer Risher was born in Seattle, Washington, grew up in Oregon, and graduated from Connecticut College. She joined Microsoft in 1991 where she worked as a recruiter and then as a product manager. She and her husband, David, have two daughters and live in San Francisco, where David is CEO of Worldreader, a nonprofit he cofounded with a mission to create a world where everyone is a reader. In response to Covid, Jennifer and David launched the #HalfMyDAF challenge which inspired over $8.6 million in giving to nonprofits from May through September 2020. #HalfMyDAF 2021 is now underway: www.halfmydaf.com.

Cameron Huddleston is the author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations With Your Parents About Their Finances. She also is an award-winning journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing about personal finance. Her work has appeared in Forbes.com, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Chicago Tribune, MSN, Yahoo and many more online and print publications. She also has appeared on CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox & Friends and has been featured in The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, Huffington Post, MarketWatch and more.

 

Book Passage Presents: Why She Writes with Linda Kass, Amy S. Peele, and Laila Tarraf (Online Event)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 - 6:00pm


Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

Live • Online • 6:00pm PT/9:00pm ET

Moderated by Brooke Warner

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Join three She Writes Press authors and She Writes Press publisher Brooke Warner in a discussion about why we write and how we publish. In this panel, authors Amy S. Peele, Laila Tarraf, and Linda Kass represent different genres (mystery, memoir, and historical fiction) will speak about writing and publishing in a competitive publishing landscape, the highs and lows of authorship, and what drives them to keep writing.

Linda Kass began her career as a magazine writer and correspondent for regional and national publications. Her work has previously appeared in TIME, The Detroit Free Press, Columbus Monthly, and, more recently, Full Grown People, The MacGuffin, and Kenyon Review Online. She is the author of the historical World War II novel Tasa’s Song (2016) and is the founder and owner of Gramercy Books, an independent bookstore in central Ohio, where she currently lives.

Amy S. Peele grew up and went to nursing school in Chicago area, where she practiced transplant nursing for 35 years. She moved to San Francisco in 1985 to follow her transplant career and retired from UCSF in 2014 as Director of Clinical Operations, overseeing more than 600 organ transplants annually. Amy loves to swim, teach chair yoga, meditate, and kill the people she doesn’t like in the pages of her books. Not to worry—she’s a transplant professional, so she makes use of all of the organs from her victims. Amy was recently elected to the Novato City Council, where she’s discovering a new population of folks that may find their way into becoming her literary victims.

Laila Tarraf is a senior human resource executive with more than twenty-five years of professional experience. After graduating with her MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, she became one of the founding team members at Walmart.com. She then served as chief people officer at Peet’s Coffee and Tea, an iconic Bay Area premium coffee company. Currently, Laila is the chief people officer for AllBirds, advises entrepreneurs and investors, and guest lectures at Berkeley Law School. The author currently resides in Larkspur, California. You can find her online at www.lailatarraf.com.

 

Conversations with Authors - Orville Schell with Elaine Pagels and Mark Danner (Online Event)

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 4:00pm


Saturday, March 20th, 2021

Live • Online • 4:00pm PT

In conversation with Elaine Pagels and Mark Danner



Conversations with Authors is our free online event series! Join us throughout the week for new chats between different authors.


A uniquely experienced observer of China gives us a sweeping historical novel that takes us on a journey from the rise of Mao Zedong in 1949 to the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989, as a father and his son are swept away by a relentless series of devastating events.

It’s 1950, and pianist Li Tongshu is one of the few Chinese to have graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Engaged to a Chinese-American violinist who is the daughter of a missionary father and a Shanghai-born mother, Li Tongshu is drawn not just by Mao’s grand promise to “build a new China” but also by the enthusiasm of many other Chinese artists and scientists living abroad, who take hope in Mao’s promise of a rejuvenated China. And so when the recently established Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing offers Li Tongshu a teaching position, he leaves San Francisco and returns home with his new wife.

But instead of being allowed to teach, Li Tongshu is plunged into Mao’s manic revolution, which becomes deeply distrustful of his Western education and his American wife. It’s not long before his son, Little Li, also gets caught up in the maelstrom of political and ideological upheaval that ends up not only savaging the Li family but, ultimately, destroying the essential fabric of Chinese society.

Orville Schell is the director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society. From 1996 to 2007 he was the dean of the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He has written ten nonfiction books on China and contributed to many publications, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation, Foreign Affairs, and The New York Review of Books. He is also an Emmy Award-winning producer for PBS, NBC Nightly News, and 60 Minutes. He divides his time between New York City and Berkeley, California.

Elaine Pagels is a preeminent academic whose impressive scholarship has earned her international respect. The Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University, Pagels was awarded the Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Fellowships in three consecutive years. She is the author of Why Religion?, The Gnostic Gospels, Beyond Belief, and Revelations.

Mark Danner is a writer and reporter who has covered war and human rights for more than three decades, including conflict in Central America, Haiti, the Balkans, and the Middle East. A former staff writer for The New Yorker, he is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and other magazines. He is the author of a half dozen books, including The Massacre at El Mozote, Torture and Truth, Stripping Bare the Body and Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War. His work has been honored with a number of awards, including the National Magazine Award, three Overseas Press Awards, an Emmy, an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and a Guggenheim. In 1999, he was named a MacArthur Fellow. He is the Class of 1961 Endowed Chair in Undergraduate Education at the University of California at Berkeley and the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and the Humanities at Bard College.

 

Orville Schell photo by Brigitte Lacombe; Elaine Pagels photo courtesy of author; Mark Danner photo by Dominique Nabokov

 

Online Class: Don George - Fine-Tune Your Travel Tale: Advanced Writing Workshop

Friday, April 2, 2021 - 2:00pm to 5:00pm


Friday, Saturday & Sunday, April 2nd-4th, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • 2:00-5:00pm PT • $395

Class limited to nine attendees


 

This workshop is designed for writers who have an already finished or almost finished travel story of up to 3,000 words that they would like to workshop and refine. Participants will be asked to send their story to Don George and all the workshop participants before the first class. In each workshop, we will closely discuss and critique three pieces. In addition to individual critiques, we will also discuss the art of great travel writing — how to lead into a piece, how to structure a story arc, how to bring a place and scene to life, and how to create a compelling close.

Don George is the author of The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George and of Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Writing and the editor of ten anthologies, including A Moveable Feast, The Kindness of Strangers, Better Than Fiction, and An Innocent Abroad. George is Editor at Large for National Geographic Traveler, where he writes feature articles and the monthly Trip Lit column. He is also Editor of BBC Travel's literary travel column, Chance Encounters.
 

What students are saying about Don George:

“Don George's travel writing workshop was a rigorous, profound, magical experience, the product of a uniquely nurturing environment. Taking his courses has encouraged me to write without fear of failure, and with greater confidence and creativity than ever before. Any writer—whether officially a travel writer, or any other writer considering issues of place—should jump at the chance to work with him."
—Diane Vadino

"I have always wanted to take a writing workshop from Don George, but was never able to because I did not live in the Bay Area. When he offered his workshop virtually this year, I jumped at the chance and could not be happier with the experience. It motivated me to work on a piece and the feedback I received from the other attendees enabled me to take an "okay" piece I had written and turn it into a piece I'm really proud of by the end of the workshop. I ended up going in a different direction than intended, but it ended up being the right direction I could not see by myself. I would have not been able to get my writing to where it needed to be without Don and the workshop participants. I would sign up for another virtual workshop with Don George in a heartbeat.”
—Lisa Boice

 

Lori Gottlieb with Rabbi Stacy Friedman - Maybe You Should Talk to Someone (Online Event)

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 7:00pm


Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

Online • Live • 7:00pm PT/10:00pm ET

Presented by REAL at Rodef Sholom


Through her massively popular book Maybe You Should Talk to Someone—now being adapted for television by Eva Longoria—and her viral new TED talk, Gottlieb shows us that vulnerability isn’t a weakness, and that our external circumstances don’t have to dictate our lives...we can consciously create meaning anywhere—at work, at home, and in relationships.

Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and author of the New York Times bestseller Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. In addition to her clinical practice, she writes The Atlantic’s weekly “Dear Therapist” advice column and contributes regularly to The New York Times and many other publications. Her recent TED Talk is one of the top 10 most watched of the year. She is a sought-after expert in media such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, CNN, and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” She is also the co-host of the new podcast, “Dear Therapists,” produced by Katie Couric.

 

 

Dr. Kay Jamison with Rabbi Elana Rosen-Brown (Online Event)

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 - 1:00pm


Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

Online • Live • 1:00pm PT/4:00pm ET

Presented by REAL at Rodef Sholom

 

Dr. Kay Jamison is a bestselling author, distinguished professor of psychiatry at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the recipient of numerous national and international scientific awards. She is also the bestselling author of several books, including An Unquiet Mind, which chronicles her own experience with manic–depressive (bipolar) illness, Touched with Fire, Night Falls Fast, Exuberance, Nothing Was the Same, and Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire.

Dr. Jamison is one of the foremost authorities on bipolar disorder, and her research and writings continue to raise awareness of the stigma from such afflictions as major depression and bipolar illness.

 

 

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