9th Annual East Hampton Library Authors Night

Kelly Bensimon and Dan Rattiner at Author's Night, 2012
Kelly Bensimon and Dan Rattiner at Author's Night, 2012

The 9th annual East Hampton Library Authors Night reception is shaping up to be the hottest ticket of the summer, with over 120 fiction and nonfiction writers already on the roster and more signing up right up until the last minute. Attendees, eager to see and chat up literary celebs and faves over plentiful cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, will surely be milling about well in advance of the official opening time at 5 p.m. on August 10. For some, the festivities will go on well into the night, after they wend their way to one of the small, select dinner parties that have been arranged in local-area private homes for some of the big-name authors, all underwritten by the hosts and hostesses themselves.

This year’s VIP authors include Gwyneth Paltrow (It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That will Make You Look Good and Feel Great) and Clive Davis (Soundtrack of My Life), but many stars from last year will still be shining this year, among them Dr. Ruth, Robert Massie, Nelson De Mille, Kitty Kelley, Robert Caro, Jay McInerney, Susan Isaacs, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Michael Shnayerson and many more. Founding co-chairs Alec Baldwin and Barbara Goldsmith may show up as well. Paltrow, who wrote her bestseller with Julia Turshen, says she was personally inspired to do the book when she felt herself running out of energy, so it’s no surprise that one of her 185 recipes is Power Brownies (no, not the Alice B. Toklas kind). As for music legend Davis, whose fabled ability to spot talent, create hit records and put companies like Columbia and Arista on the map as never before, the tale is even more impressive when seen in autobiographical context, his rise from an orphaned and impoverished life to “discover and develop more unique artists than anyone in music industry history.”

The benefit celebrates “Books and 116 Years of Reading at the East Hampton Library,” with 100% of the dinner party profits going to the library for essential ongoing programs and services. Like last year, the event will not take place on the library grounds because of continuing construction of the Children’s Wing, but folks won’t get lost—they’ll just follow the crowds moving toward Gardiner Farm (36 James Lane) in the village.

One of the pleasures of Authors Night is to see famous and relatively unknown authors sharing a table (the arrangement is alphabetical, by author), a reminder to wannabe attendees that they, too, might act on literary leanings. But the layout also gives the authors themselves a chance to get acquainted, all genres mixing it up—Pulitzer Prize winners and New York Times best selling authors sitting next to first-time memoirists (arguably the most popular kind of book), some of whom arrive with eye-popping posters, videos and cute giveaways. It’s impossible, of course, to list every author already on board, but it should be said that Authors Night is a peer-related event: East Hampton Library Director Dennis Fabsizak chooses the authors, in consultation with an Authors Night Committee.

After last summer’s Authors Night, Tom Twomey, Chairman of the Library’s Board of Managers, said that the event “exceeded our expectations,” raising over $200,000. More than 2,500 books were sold and $40,000 raised in book sales, $10,000 more than the previous year. As “one of the most successful annual celebrations of books and authors in America,” with tickets reportedly selling “even more briskly,” Authors Night 2013 is likely to set a new bar for attendance and funds raised. Another draw, of course, is the food, which this year features Swedish delicacies by Tommy Myllymaki, the 2011 Bocuse d’Or Silver Medalist, and Västerbottensost, a 40-lb cheese wheel of which will be one of the raffle items. How apt, by the way, that the top raffle item is a trip for four to Stieg (The Millennium trilogy) Larsson’s Stockholm (tattooing not included).

Authors Night (and Raffle) is Saturday, August 10 at Gardiner Farm (36 James Lane, East Hampton Village). Cocktails and Book signing at 5 p.m. ($100), followed by dinner parties at private area homes at 8 p.m.. Tickets to the cocktail reception may be purchased at the entrance, but the dinner parties must be reserved in advance. Call 631-324-0222. ext. 7 for info on the cocktail party and 631-907-0106 for info on the dinners or go to authorsnight.org.

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