The Arlington Author Salon takes place quarterly the first week of July, October, January, and April, with some exceptions to circumvent holidays.
Next Salon: Thursday, January 18, 2018, 7:30 pm
Where: Kickstand Café, 594 Mass Ave in Arlington Center, MA.
Just off the Minuteman bike path and steps from Spy Pond.
Accessible via the #77 bus. Some parking available in front of the café, and ample parking in the two town lots across the street.
Recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, Leslie Lawrence is the author of The Death of Fred Astaire—and Other Essays From a Life Outside the Lines. The memoir was a finalist for the 2016 Foreward Indie Book Award. Recent work can be found at Literary Mama, Solstice Magazine and Cognoscenti. Her essay on Janis Joplin will appear in the forthcoming anthology Teen Idols, edited by Arlington’s own, Elizabeth Searle. Lawrence teaches writing at Grub Street and in her home in Cambridge. If you peek into Dance Friday or Dance Freedom or a Contact Improv Jam, you might just see her out of her mind.
As a child of the sixties, Leslie Lawrence knew she didn’t want to duplicate her parents’ lives, yet she never imagined she’d stray so far outside the lines of their–and her own–expectations. The Death of Fred Astaire opens with the story, both wrenching and funny, of how Lawrence says her goodbyes to the iconic images she’s held since her youth; she then proceeds to bear a child and raise him with her lesbian partner. Some essays in this debut collection reflect on legacies Lawrence inherited from her Jewish family and culture. In others, she searches gamely for a rich, authentic life–a voice, a vocation, a community, even a “god” she can call her own.
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir (May 2017, Flatiron Books), which was named a finalist for a Goodreads Choice Award and a New England Book Award, and one of Audible.com and the Guardian’s Best Books of 2017. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Rona Jaffe Award and has twice been a fellow at both MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. She now lives in Somerville and teaches at Harvard.
Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes — she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.
Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky’s crime.
But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s.
An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, THE FACT OF A BODY is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed — but about how we grapple with our own personal histories. Along the way it tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness, and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth. This groundbreaking, heart-stopping work, ten years in the making, shows how the law is more personal than we would like to believe — and the truth more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.
David Valdes Greenwood is a playwright whose work has been staged across the US, in the UK, and Singapore. His play The Mermaid Hour will have its world premiere in four productions at Milagro Theatre, Borderlands Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, and Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte in 2018. in 2017, Company One and The Huntington Theatre Company both did public workshops of his latest play, The Last Catastrophist. The winner of the Generations Prize for Playwriting, a Brother Thomas Fellowship, and a past playwriting fellow at IATI Theatre, the Huntington, and Company One, Valdes Greenwood’s past work has been presented by the Humana Festival, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Portland Stage, and elsewhere. He is the author of three nonfiction books (Homo Domesticus, A Little Fruitcake, and Rhinestone Sisterhood) and the young adult novel, Revengers.
For Pilar and Bird, navigating their tween daughter Violet’s transition is tricky as they juggle not only their own opposing parenting styles but her impulsive nature. Vi is just as concerned about her best friend Jacob, who she wishes was her boyfriend, and when nothing is going as she wants, she makes a YouTube video that pushes everyone’s buttons. As her parents wrestle with all of Vi’s choices, they confront the gaps between them as a couple–and which they’ll have to overcome to see them all through.
Books will be available for sale at the event via The Book Rack.
Visit our Featured Authors page to learn more about past readers.
(Save the date for the following Salon: Thursday, April 4 2018, and sign up to be notified of future events.)