June 16, 2008

This Tuesday: Literary Luxury

If you're in the DC area and free tomorrow night, please come out for this reading I'm hosting at the Arts Club. Fran Kiernan, a biographer (and former New Yorker fiction editor) is coming into town to talk about the life of Brooke Astor. Here's the full detail:

Frances Kiernan on the Life and Times of Brooke Astor

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 - 7 p.m.

The Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I Street NW
Free and open to the public, reception to follow.

On Tuesday, June 17, the Arts Club of Washington will host acclaimed biographer Frances Kiernan as she shares stories from the life of philanthropist Brooke Astor, highlighting Astor’s ties to our nation’s capital city. Kiernan conducted extensive research and interviews for her book The Last Mrs. Astor, just released in a paperback edition by W. W. Norton.

BROOKE ASTOR grabbed headlines when, at age 57, she inherited the Vincent Astor Foundation from her late husband and became one of America’s most prominent arts supporters. In 2006, the headlines turned dark as Astor became the victim of a battle over her estate and care. Upon her death in 2007, New York mourned the passing of its “First Lady.” Although known as a New Yorker, Astor spent much of her childhood in Washington, choosing to be married here; she was a regular visitor to the White House during the Johnson and Reagan administrations.

FRANCES KIERNAN is a former editor at The New Yorker and the author of Seeing Mary Plain: A Life of Mary McCarthy. She lives in New York City. The Boston Sunday Globe has praised Kiernan for “bring[ing] out the fascinating paradoxes of Brooke Astor’s courageous, fiercely inventive career as a wife and widow”; a NYTimes reviewer described Kiernan’s portrait of Mrs. Astor as “neither polished to a blinding luster nor especially tarnished, but imposing and original just the same.”

THE ARTS CLUB OF WASHINGTON is at 2017 I Street NW, near Foggy Bottom/GWU and Farragut West metro. Headquartered in the James Monroe House, a National Historic Landmark, the Club was founded in 1916 and is the oldest non-profit arts organization in the city. The Club’s mission is to generate public appreciation for and participation in the arts through ongoing educational programs that include literary events, art exhibitions, musical and theatrical performances.



Maggie May said...

i have read bits about Brooke Astor in the paper here and there, mainly before she died. biographies are one of my favorite things to read.

when you say you are hosting this event, what does that mean exactly?

Sandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandra said...

Hi Maggie May--

First, thanks for all your recent visits and comments to the blog!

As far as "hosting" goes, the Arts Club is a dedication space (a townhouse) with an active membership and some events (such as this one) free and open to the public. I am the (fairly new) literary chair for the Club. That means that once a month I book one or two readers in a different genre (fiction, prose or poetry). I handle publicity, find a bookseller if appropriate, and host the reading by introducing the featured writers and welcoming people.

In return the Arts Club covers the overhead for the space, staffing, and serving drinks. Sadly neither I nor the authors get paid, but it's usually a lovely evening for all.

Maggie May said...

oh my gosh what an awesome 'job'!
i remember when i was a teen being the 'chair' of anything in a book seemed to indicate ancientness. and look at you, bright young thing!

thanks for answering the question.