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Claire Messud with Kant's Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write: An Autobiography in Essays

Virtual Event: Thursday, October 20, at 6pm

Moderator: Dani Shapiro, novelist, memoirist, and creator and host of Family Secrets podcast
Presented in partnership with the Boston Public Library and GBH Forum Network

A glimpse into a beloved novelist’s inner world, shaped by family, art, and literature.

In her fiction, Claire Messud "has specialized in creating unusual female characters with ferocious, imaginative inner lives" (New York Times Magazine). Now, in twenty-six intimate, brilliant, and funny essays, she reflects on her own life and family: a childhood move from her Connecticut home to Australia; the complex relationship between her modern Canadian mother and a fiercely single French Catholic aunt; and a trip to Beirut, where her pied-noir father had once lived, while he was dying. She also meditates on contemporary classic works of literature and explores her own drive to write.

Claire Messud is the author of six works of fiction including the New York Times bestsellers The Emperor’s Children and The Burning Girl, which was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Family History Benefit Event featuring author and historian Jill Lepore

Virtual Event: Thursday, October 29 at 6pm

Presented by American Ancestors

Join us for a special virtual benefit event honoring author and historian Jill Lepore. During the program, Lepore will deliver a talk entitled American Ancestors: Reading Portraits.

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker, a celebrated author, and the host of the podcast The Last Archive. A prize-winning professor, she teaches classes in evidence, historical methods, humanistic inquiry, and American history. As a wide-ranging and prolific essayist, Lepore writes about American history, law, literature, and politics. She is the author of many award-winning books, including the international bestseller, These Truths: A History of the United States (2018). Her latest book is IF THEN: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future.

Tamara Payne with The Dead are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X

Virtual Event: Thursday, November 5 at 5pm

Moderator: L’Merchie Frazier, Director of Education and Interpretation, Museum of African American History
Presented in partnership with the Boston Public Library and GBH Forum Network

This epic biography is the product of 30 years of research by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Les Payne

This comprehensive and historic biography paints an unprecedented portrait of Malcolm X, setting him against the larger backdrop of American history. Drawn from hundreds of hours of the interviews including with all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world, The Dead Are Arising traces his life from his Nebraska birth in 1925 to his Harlem assassination in 1965. It provides searing vignettes culled from Malcolm’s Depression-era youth, describing the influence of his Garveyite parents: his father, Earl, a circuit-riding preacher; and his mother, Louise, who instilled black pride in her children. Don’t miss hearing from Tamara Payne, the author’s daughter – who, following her father’s death, heroically completed the biography – about this penetrating and riveting work, which has been longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award, featured on numerous “best of” lists, and heralded by O, the Oprah Magazine.

Les Payne was a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist and a former editor at Newsday. A founder of the National Association of Black Journalists, he also wrote an award-winning syndicated column. Tamara Payne served as Les Payne’s principal researcher.

Nathaniel Philbrick, Baxter Lecture on Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War

Virtual Event: Thursday, November 12 at 6 pm

Moderator: Ryan. J. Woods, COO and EVP of American Ancestors and NEHGS
Presented by the Boston Public Library in partnership with American Ancestors NEHGS, the State Library of Massachusetts, and GBH Forum Network

In commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower landing

The award-winning New England author will speak with Ryan J. Woods about his celebrated work Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War as part of the Boston Public Library’s Baxter Lecture series “promoting commemorative and public understanding of the history of the settlement of and immigration to New England.”

Nicholas Basbanes with Cross of Snow: The Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Virtual Event: Monday, December 7 at 6 PM

In conversation with Diana Korzenik, complier of the Appleton Family Archives
Presented in partnership with the State Library of Massachusetts and GBH Forum Network

A look at the intellectual partnership of America’s best-loved nineteenth-century poet and his remarkable wife

Enjoy a lively dialogue about the life and work of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) and his multi-talented second wife, Fanny Appleton Longfellow (1817-1861), featuring Nicholas A. Basbanes, author of Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Diana Korzenik, complier of the Appleton Family Archives. Since the biography’s release in June, reviewers have taken particular note of the modern feminist approach Basbanes has employed to give full biographical attention to Fanny, taking in her work as a brilliant artist, diarist, correspondent, and chronicler of her times. His narrative follows the couple from before they met, during their seven-year courtship, and in their significant partnering on works we know as his literary production, functioning, in her words, as a “pretty active spur upon his Pegasus.” Basbanes and Korzenik will discuss their respective views of this dynamic couple at various stages of their lives.

Nicholas A. Basbanes is the author of ten books, including A Gentle Madness, a finalist in 1995 for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction, and On Paper, a finalist in 2014 for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction presented by the American Library Association.

Diana Korzenik is an author, artist, professor emerita (Massachusetts College of Art), and compiler of five research collections housed at libraries and museums nationwide. Her first book, Drawn to Art: A Nineteenth-Century American Dream, won a Boston Globe Literary Award.


Questions? Please email signatureevents@nehgs.org
or call 617-226-1215 or 888-296-3447.