As a part of May’s Memoir Month, the Sawyer Free Library is pleased to welcome local author Stella Nahatis on Thursday, May 11 at 5:30 to discuss her newly released memoir, Taxi to America: A Greek Orphan’s Adoption Journey. All are welcome to attend this special event at the Library located at 21 Main Street in downtown Gloucester. To register click HERE or for more information, visit, sawyerfreelibrary.org.
Stella’s journey from Thessaloniki, Greece, to America begins with a pre-dawn taxi ride that she and her sister share while the coffin holding a loved one rides along in the taxi’s trunk. Orphaned and separated from her younger sister “for her own good” as the culture dictated at the time, Stella ends up being adopted by a Greek couple that had emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts. At age 11, she overcomes multiple losses and cultural differences to find a place in her new homeland while finding ways to stay connected to those she loved in Greece.
This story of resilience and perseverance follows Stella’s journey of becoming an “Amerikanaki” and eventually reconnecting with her sister, who had stayed in Greece with her own set of adoptive parents. Even as Stella embraces her new life and culture in America, she rebuilds her loving relationship with her sister after an eight-year separation. Later in life, the sisters take another taxi ride together, this time to recover important details of their birth parents’ life stories that mirror the determination to survive and thrive that marks their own.
Sawyer Free Library will welcome EMILY FRANKLIN—poet and award-winning author who has appeared in the New York Times and the Boston Globe—for a discussion of her new book THE LIONESS OF BOSTON on Tuesday, May 9 at 6:00 pm. The event will be at the Sawyer Free Library at 21 Main Street in downtown Gloucester. Registration is required at sawyerfreelibrary.org.Please note that space is limited.
A novel of historical fiction, “The Lioness of Boston” tells about the life of daring visionary Isabella Stewart Gardner, who created an inimitable legacy in American art and transformed the city of Boston itself. It is a portrait of what society expected a woman’s life to be, shattered by a courageous soul who rebelled and was determined to live on her terms.
A misfit who befriended other outcasts to rise into art and intellectual society, Isabella used her own collections to open the now-famous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
By the time Gardner opened her home as a museum in 1903 — to showcase her collection of old masters, antiques, and objects d’art — she was already well-known for scandalizing Boston’s polite society. But when Isabella first arrived in Boston in 1861, newly married and unsure of herself, she was puzzled by the frosty reception she received from stuffy bluebloods.
At first, she strived to fit in. Then, following tragedy and upper-society rejection, she set out on a new path.
Franklin describes how Isabella discovers her own outspoken nature and infiltrates the Harvard intellectual world. Then, as she explores the larger world, she meets artists and kindred spirits — Henry James, Oscar Wilde and John Singer Sargent. A worldwide traveler, she attends the first Impressionist exhibit, collects a wide range of paintings and objects, and forges an important relationship with Bernard Berenson, who will become her art dealer/confidante.
Freed by travel, Isabella explores the world of art, ideas,L and letters. From London and Paris to Egypt and Asia, she develops a keen eye for paintings and objects, and meets feminists ready to transform 19th-century thinking in the 20th century. Isabella becomes an eccentric trailblazer, painted by John Singer Sargent in a portrait of daring décolletage, and fond of such stunts as walking a pair of lions in the Boston Public Garden.
Franklin, whose award-winning work has appeared in The New York Times, the Boston Globe, Guernica, JAMA, and numerous literary magazines, has also been featured and read aloud on NPR and was named notable by the Association of Jewish Libraries. A lifelong visitor to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, she lives outside of Boston with her family, including two dogs large enough to be lions.
Click HERE to register. Space is limited. Questions, 978-325-5500.
“The Lioness of Boston is a captivating story of a significant woman in Boston’s history who left that city a cultural legacy to last the ages. This beautiful novel will appeal to those who love masterful historical fiction, and stories of triumphant women who leave an indelible mark.” – New York Journal of Books
The Sawyer Free Library invites you to a riveting hour online with New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger! Join us on Thursday, April 27 from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. as he discusses his newest book in the Cork O’Connor series Fox Creek and his other works.
This is a virtual event. Registration is required. Click HERE to register.
Fox Creek follows Cork O’Connor in a race against time to save his wife, a mysterious stranger, and an Ojibwe healer from bloodthirsty mercenaries. The ancient Ojibwe healer Henry Meloux has had a vision of his death. As he walks the Northwoods in solitude, he tries to prepare himself peacefully for the end of his long life. But peace is destined to elude him as hunters fill the woods seeking a woman named Dolores Morriseau, a stranger who had come to the healer for shelter and the gift of his wisdom. Meloux guides this stranger and his great niece, Cork O’Connor’s wife, to safety deep into the Boundary Waters, his home for more than a century. Meanwhile, in Aurora, Cork works feverishly to identify the hunters and the reason for their relentless pursuit, but he has little to go on. He knows only too well that with each passing hour time is running out. But his fiercest enemy in this deadly game of cat and mouse may well be his own deep self-doubt about his ability to save those he loves.
About the Author: Krueger writes a mystery series set in the north woods of Minnesota. His protagonist is Cork O’Connor, the former sheriff of Tamarack County and a man of mixed heritage—part Irish and part Ojibwe. His work has received a number of awards, including the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize.
Ordinary Grace, his stand-alone novel published in 2013, received the Edgar Award, given by the Mystery Writers of America in recognition for the best novel published in that year. The companion novel, This Tender Land, was published in September 2019 and spent nearly six months on the New York Times bestseller list. His last nine novels were all New York Times bestsellers. He’s been married for nearly fifty years to a marvelous woman who is a retired attorney. He makes his home in St. Paul, a city he dearly loves.
This is a virtual event. Registration is required. Click HERE to register.
Questions? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-325-5562.
Come and join us at the Sawyer Free Library at 21 Main Street in downtown Gloucester for some springtime literary fun on Thursday, April 20th.
From 5:15 – 6:15p.m. local harpist Moira Kelly will be sharing festive musical entertainment while refreshments are provided.
Then at 6:15 p.m. local Irish author Robert T. McMaster will be introducing his latest novel, Rose of Glenkerry: A County WicklowMysteryvia Zoom, the virtual presentation will be broadcasted at SFL@ 21 Main Street location for all to enjoy.
Though registration is not required, the first three to fill out a registration form HERE will receive a free copy of the book!
A conversation with New York Times bestselling author David Epstein as he chats about his most recent book, Range: Why Generalist Triumph in a Specialized World.
What’s the most effective path to success in any domain? It’s not what you think.
Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule.
David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters, and scientists. He discovered that in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable—generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, juggling many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.
Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.
About the Author: David Epstein is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World and of the New York Times bestseller The Sports Gene, both of which have been translated into more than 20 languages. His writing has been honored by an array of organizations, from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, to the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Center on Disability and Journalism, and has been included in the Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology. His story “Following the Trail of Broken Hearts,” on sudden cardiac death in athletes, was chosen as one of the top 100 stories of the last 100 years by Columbia Journalism alumni. He has master’s degrees in environmental science and journalism and lives in Washington, DC.
A delicious chat with celebrity chef Jernard Wells which will leave you starving for more as he discusses his newest cookbook, Southern Inspired: More Than 100 Delicious Dishes from My American Table to Yours.
Delicious and inventive recipes that remix the traditional flavors and classic dishes of Southern food and celebrate African-American culinary contributions to tables worldwide—from the host of CLEO TV’sNew Soul Kitchen. After growing up in Mississippi, Jernard Wells brought the familiar dishes and bold flavors of the South along his culinary journey to become a chef, restaurateur, and TV host. With Southern Inspired, Jernard continues his journey—retracing the steps of generations of African American cooks whose creations have contributed to global kitchen tables since slavery. Southern food defines American food at large, and Chef Jernard takes it to a whole new level while still honoring its roots. Chef Jernard also brings in flavors from the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia, and Europe, always with his signature Southern flair. This cookbook shares 100 recipes that are approachable for both beginners and more experienced cooks.
About the Author: Jernard Wells is an Award Winning TV Host/Celebrity Chef/Bestselling Cookbook Author. He is the host of “New Soul Kitchen” & “New Soul Kitchen Remix” on CLEO TV and is well-known for appearing on numerous cooking shows on Food Network & Cooking Channel over the last decade. Wells has worked with Tyler Perry, NBA Allstar Brandon Ingram, Lady Antebellum, Tom Joyner, New Edition &BBD. He has been featured on “Today Show“, “Good Morning America”, PEOPLE, “Steve Harvey Morning Show“, “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show”, ESSENCE, “Daily Blast Live”, USA Today, Lifetime, Oprah Winfrey Network to name a few. The James Beard House Honored Chef is affectionately called “The Family Chef” because he loves using food to promote positive family images. He and his wife of 25 years have 9 children and live in the Atlanta area.
New York Times bestselling historical fiction author Pam Jenoff will take us on an exciting trip through time as she shares the details of her newest book, Code Name Sapphire, where a woman must rescue her cousin’s family from a train bound for Auschwitz in this riveting tale of bravery and resistance.
It’s 1942 and Hannah Martel has narrowly escaped Nazi Germany after her fiancé was killed in a pogrom. When her ship bound for America is turned away at port, she has nowhere to go but to her cousin Lily, who lives with her family in Brussels. Fearful for her life, Hannah is desperate to escape occupied Europe. But with no safe way to leave, she must return to the dangerous underground work she thought she had left behind.
Seeking help, Hannah joins the Sapphire Line, a secret resistance network led by a mysterious woman named Micheline and her enigmatic brother Mateo. But when a grave mistake causes Lily’s family to be arrested and slated for deportation to Auschwitz, Hannah finds herself torn between her loyalties. How much is Hannah willing to sacrifice to save the people she loves? Inspired by incredible true stories of courage and sacrifice, Code Name Sapphire is a powerful novel about love, family and the unshakable resilience of women in even the hardest of times.
About the Author: Pam Jenoff was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. Following her work at the Pentagon, Pam moved to the State Department. Pam left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. She now teaches law school at Rutgers.
Pam is the NYT bestselling author of The Woman With The Blue Star, The Lost Girls of Paris, The Orphan’s Tale, The Kommandant’s Girl, The Diplomat’s Wife, The Ambassador’s Daughter, The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach, The Winter Guest, The Things We Cherished, Almost Home, and A Hidden Affair. She also authored a short story in the anthology Grand Central: Original Postwar Stories of Love and Reunion. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband, three children, dog, cat, lizard and bird.
The Sawyer Free Library is please to present talks with bestselling authors in partnership with the Library Speakers Consortium. To register for these upcoming virtual events, visit sawyerfreelibray.org.
Tastes Like War: An Author Talk with Grace M. Cho
Thursday, February 16, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
An insightful chat with award-winning author Grace M. Cho who discusses her memoir, Tastes Like War: Part food memoir, part sociological investigation.
Grace M. Cho grew up as the daughter of a white American merchant marine and the Korean bar hostess he met abroad. They were one of few immigrants in a xenophobic small town during the Cold War, where identity was politicized by everyday details—language, cultural references, memories, and food. When Grace was fifteen, her dynamic mother experienced the onset of schizophrenia, a condition that would continue and evolve for the rest of her life.
Part food memoir, part sociological investigation, Tastes Like War is a hybrid text about a daughter’s search through intimate and global history for the roots of her mother’s schizophrenia. In her mother’s final years, Grace learned to cook dishes from her mother’s childhood in order to invite the past into the present, and to hold space for her mother’s multiple voices at the table. And through careful listening over these shared meals, Grace discovered not only the things that broke the brilliant, complicated woman who raised her—but also the things that kept her alive.
About the Author: Grace M. Cho is Associate Professor of Sociology at the College of Staten Island. She received a PhD in Sociology and Women’s Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center and an MEd from Harvard School of Education. Her work crosses disciplinary boundaries and seeks to engage popular audiences. From 2005 to 2007 she was a contributing performance artist for Still Present Pasts: Korean Americans and the Forgotten War, a collaborative art project based on the oral histories of Korean War survivors and their children. Her participation in Still Present Pasts influenced the form and content of her first book, Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy and the Forgotten War (University of Minnesota, 2008) which combined fiction, performance, autoethnography and sociological research. It won a 2010 book award from the American Sociological Association for its innovative methodology. Her second book, Tastes Like War, was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Nonfiction and the winner of the 2022 Asian Pacific American Literature Award for Adult Nonfiction.
Author Talk with Sadeqa Johnson: Award-Winning Author of Yellow Wife and The House of Eve
Tuesday, February 28, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
An invigorating conversation with highly acclaimed author Sadeqa Johnson who will be speaking about her brand-new novel, The House of Eve!
In The House of Eve, Fifteen-year-old Ruby Pearsall is on track to becoming the first in her family to attend college, in spite of having a mother more interested in keeping a man than raising her daughter. But a taboo love affair threatens to pull her back down into the poverty and desperation that has been passed onto her like a birthright.
Eleanor Quarles arrived in Washington DC with ambition and secrets. When she meets the handsome William Pride at Howard University, they fall madly in love. But William hails from one of DC’s elite wealthy Black families, and his parents don’t just let anyone into their fold. Eleanor hopes that a baby will make her finally feel at home in William’s family and grant her the life she’s been searching for. But having a baby—and fitting in—is easier said than done.
The lives of these two women collide in the most unexpected way as they both face life altering decisions. The House of Eve is a fast-paced, harrowing story that hinges on what it means to be a woman and a mother, and how much one is willing to sacrifice to achieve her greatest goal.
About the Author: Sadeqa Johnson is the award-winning author of four novels, including Yellow Wife. Her accolades include the National Book Club Award, the Phillis Wheatley Book Award, and the USA Best Book Award for Best Fiction. She is a Kimbilio Fellow, former board member of the James River Writers, and a Tall Poppy Writer. Originally from Philadelphia, she currently lives near Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and three children. To learn more, visit SadeqaJohnson.net.
On Wednesday, December 14 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., the Sawyer Free Library is pleased to invite you to explore early-American history during an online afternoon conversation with Pulitzer Prize winning historian Nicole Eustace as she discusses her 2022 award winning book Covered With Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America. This is a virtual event, for link, register at sawyerfreelibrary.org.
On the eve of a major treaty conference between Iroquois leaders and European colonists in the distant summer of 1722, two white fur traders attacked an Indigenous hunter and left him for dead near Conestoga, Pennsylvania. Though virtually forgotten today, this act of brutality set into motion a remarkable series of criminal investigations and cross-cultural negotiations that challenged the definition of justice in early America.
In Covered with Night, Dr. Eustace reconstructs the crime and its aftermath, bringing us into the overlapping worlds of white colonists and Indigenous peoples in this formative period. As she shows, the murder of the Indigenous man set the entire mid-Atlantic on edge, with many believing war was imminent. Isolated killings often flared into colonial wars in North America, and colonists now anticipated a vengeful Indigenous uprising. Frantic efforts to resolve the case ignited a dramatic, far-reaching debate between Native American forms of justice—centered on community, forgiveness, and reparations—and an ideology of harsh reprisal, unique to the colonies and based on British law, which called for the killers’ swift execution. As Eustace powerfully contends, the colonial obsession with “civility” belied the reality that the Iroquois, far from being the barbarians of the white imagination, acted under a mantle of sophistication and humanity as they tried to make the land- and power-hungry colonials understand their ways.
About the Author: Nicole Eustace is a professor of history at New York University. A historian of the early modern Atlantic and the early United States, she specializes in the history of emotion. She is author of Pulitzer-Prize winning Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America, as well as Passion Is the Gale: Emotion, Power, and the Coming of the American Revolution and of 1812: War and the Passions of Patriotism as well as coeditor of Warring for America: Cultural Contests in the Era of 1812.
This virtual event is Wednesday, December 14 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. For the link, register at sawyerfreelibrary.org. If you have questions, please contact email@example.com or 978-325-5562.
Inspired by a true story in Rockport, this charming children’s book about a town’s holiday tradition and a child’s love for her grandfather has been described as “rich in the warmth of family and community connections.”
The author, Jean Woodbury, will read from her book followed by the illustrator, Bonnie L. Sylvester, leading a craft activity based on themes from the holiday story. Signed copies of the book will be available for purchase, or people are welcome to bring their own book to be signed.
The Sawyer Free Library’s new downtown location is 21 Main Street in Gloucester.
The family friendly event is free and open to the public. For questions, please visit SawyerFreeLibrary.org or call 978-350-5500.
Cape Ann Reads: The art of children’s literature is strong throughout Cape Ann and is part of its rich cultural history. To mark the 75th anniversary of author and illustrator Virginia Lee Burton winning the Caldecott Medal for her book, The Little House, the four Cape Ann’s libraries (Sawyer Free Library in Gloucester, Manchester by the Sea Public Library, TOHP Burnham Public Library in Essex, and Rockport Public Library) launched Cape Ann Reads. The joint library project with community partners and the Cape Ann Museum aimed to highlight Cape Ann artists and writers and strengthen community connections and family literacy. Special events included a picture book contest for Cape Ann residents, with the Grand Prize being a first-edition hardcover publication by Cape Ann Reads.
Join the Sawyer Free Library on Tuesday, October 25 at 7:00 pm for a captivating virtual conversation with historical fiction writer KATE QUINN as she discusses her newest release, The Diamond Eye, and her other works. Quinn is the author of several New York Times bestsellers, including The Alice Network, The Huntress, and The Rose Code.
Quinn’s latest book, The Diamond Eye, offers an unforgettable World War II tale of a quiet bookworm who becomes history’s deadliest female sniper. Based on a true story. Click HERE to register.
In 1937 in the snowbound city of Kiev (now known as Kyiv), wry and bookish history student Mila Pavlichenko organizes her life around her library job and her young son – but Hitler’s invasion of Ukraine and Russia sends her on a different path. Given a rifle and sent to join the fight, Mila must forge herself from studious young woman to deadly sniper – a lethal hunter of Nazis known as Lady Death. When news of her three hundredth kill makes her a national heroine, Mila finds herself torn from the bloody battlefields of the eastern front and sent to America on a goodwill tour.
Still reeling from war wounds and devastated by loss, Mila finds herself isolated and lonely in the glittering world of Washington, DC – until an unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and an even more unexpected connection with a silent fellow sniper offer the possibility of happiness. But when an old enemy from Mila’s past joins forces with a deadly new foe lurking in the shadows, Lady Death finds herself battling her own demons, and enemy bullets, in the deadliest duel of her life.
Based on a true story, The Diamond Eye is a haunting novel of heroism born of desperation, of a woman and mother who became a soldier and who found her place in the world that changed the course of history forever.
About the Author: Kate Quinn is a New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction. She is a native of Southern California, and she attended Boston University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in classical voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga and two books set in the Italian Renaissance before turning to the 20th century with The Alice Network, The Huntress, and The Rose Code. She and her husband now live in Seattle with their rescue dogs.
Click HERE to register and to be sent the event Zoom link. For questions, or to learn about other upcoming author talks please visit sawyerfreelibrary.org.
This event is brought to the community in partnership with the Library Speakers Consortium.
The NYT bestselling author will cover many aspects of his work across myriad fields of history, technology, and geology as well as the author’s personal expeditions, including his path to becoming the acclaimed author he is today of more than 30 titles, including The Professor and the Madman, Pacific, The Perfectionists, and most recently, Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World.
About the Author: Beginning his writing career in journalism, Simon Winchester has found renowned success in the world of non-fiction and now works almost exclusively as an author. Aside from his numerous books, Simon Winchester OBE has been published in The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, National Geographic, and Conde Nast Traveler among many others. Honored with several awards throughout his career—Britain’s Journalist of the Year in 1971 among them—in 2006 he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to journalism and literature. In addition, he received an Audie Award for Non-Fiction for The Perfectionists and was made an Honorary Fellow of St. Catherine’s College, Oxford in 2009.
This is a virtual event, for link, register at sawyerfreelibrary.org. For questions, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-325-5562.