So how is this night different from all (seven) others? Keri Lamparter, publicist for The East Hampton Library’s Annual Authors Night is happy to count the ways. Now in its eighth year and growing, Authors Night is arguably the “premier literary event of The Hamptons,” as some have said. It certainly is the biggest—over 125 authors, 1,000 attendees. It’s The ticket to have, and, for sure, the library’s most successful fundraiser. Last year, Nelson DeMille, who has become an Authors Night regular, said that the event was the “best organized” such affair he could remember. Not to mention the superb wine and hors d’oeuvres.
For those who opt to go to the private dinners with authors that follow the cocktail reception under the tent, the evening includes an extended opportunity to converse with a favorite author over a fabulous meal in an elegant Hamptons home. But, of course, for those who attend only the cocktail reception, moving from A to Z—the geographical arrangement under the tent, once through the entrance—authors are available for chatting up as well as book signing. Although their most recent publications will be featured, attendees are invited to bring along copies of previous work for signing. Keri still recalls the thrill of personal one-on-one contact when Jay McInerney autographed an old dogged copy she had of Bright Lights Big City. “It’s still all about the printed book,” she says of Authors Night. Despite ebooks and Kindle, “it’s great to hold a book in hand” and to have an admired author inscribe it. “Books are here to stay.”
This year the tent will be at the Gardiner Farm, 36 James Lane because of construction on the library grounds, and who knows who will show up at the last minute—Chuck Schumer stopped by last year (his book, Positively American: Winning Back the Middle Class came out in 2007).
The dinners, which include a diverse array of fiction and nonfiction writers, will center on the following authors: Lucette Lagnado (The Arrogant Years), Anka Muhlstein (Balzac’s Omelet: A Delicious Tour of French Food and Culture with Honoré De Balzac), Eric Alterman (The Cause: The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama), Robert K. Massie (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman), Peter Kaminsky (Culinary Intelligence), Martha Rogers (Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage), Michael Shnayerson (Harry Belafonte, My Song: A Memoir), David Baldacci (The Innocent), Dava Sobel (A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos), J.D. Rothman (The Neurotic Parent’s Guide to College Admissions: Strategies for Helicoptering, Hot-Housing & Micromanaging), Ina Caro (Paris to the Past Traveling Through French History by Train), Robert A. Caro (The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson), Oz Garcia (Redesigning Fifty: The No-Plastic-Surgery Guide to 21st Century Age Defiance), Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Sexually Speaking: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Sexual Health), Lynn Sherr (Swim: Why We Love the Water), Dick Cavett (Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets), Andrew Ross Sorkin (Too Big To Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System and Themselves), Kenneth Feinberg (Who Gets What: Fair Compensation After Tragedy and Financial Upheaval), Ted Rall (The Book of Obama: From Hope and Change to the Age of Revolt) and—get this—a Surprise Author, with this teaser: “Summer fashion, great food and wine are on the menu of this fun party!”
Other participating writers who will be signing books under the tent include Ken Auletta, Christine Jahnke, Margery Gray Harnick and Sheldon Harnick, Susan M. Seidman, Stan Goldberg, Kareena Maxwell, Scott Annan, Lisa Hartman & Carol Saxe, Alafair Burke, Tom Clavin, Danny Peary, Dan Rattiner, Robin Gaby Fisher & Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr. and Lewis Gross. And maybe Authors Night founding co-chair Alec Baldwin will stop by.
Authors Night: Saturday, August 11. Authors Reception Cocktail Party 5-7 p.m. $100. Private Dinners at 8 p.m. Contact Keri Lampater for dinner details: Keri@hamptons.com or 631-668-7507. All proceeds go directly to the library.
(A personal note: Many years ago I lined up for a book signing where the author was Isaac Asimov, and the following exchange ensued: “Do I know you?” “No.” “What’s your name?” “Joan.” And so he scrawled expansively: “To Joan, with mad passion, Isaac.” Go to Authors Night and get your own moment in the sun.)