Summer Literary Series Begins Third Year
by Katie O’Sullivan
Where the Sidewalk Ends bookstore kicked off its annual author series in May with a visit from Ann Hood, speaking about her latest novel, The Red Thread.
The weather outside may have been rainy and bleak, but inside the Chatham Wayside Inn the atmosphere was warm and bright. With self-deprecating humor and charm, Ann made the audience laugh and choke up with tears as she wove her tale, explaining the genesis of her latest novel.
The author learned early on that reading could transport her away from her small town in Rhode Island to other places and times, leaving her own little world to go off on grand adventures. She also started writing at an early age to help her understand and make sense of the world around her.
Caitlyn Doggart of WTSE bookstore with author Ann Hood
The audience laughed as she described her childhood in a family of mathematicians, who couldn’t understand her love affair with words. “For fun they would take out a slide ruler,” she said. She also described in detail the first grade teacher who fed her love of reading and the tyrannical Italian grandmother who drove her to write her first series of short stories, centered around a grandmother who disappears.
“As we get older,” Ann told the audience, “We realize there’s a lot of magic involved in creating families and getting though loss, and growing in our lives.”
When her 5-year-old daughter died suddenly from a virulent form of strep in 2002, Ann found herself wholly consumed by grief. She thought she’d never write again. “Grief never goes away. It’s only with the passage of time that we learn to have grief coexist with other aspects of life.”
She explained how the job of a fiction writer is to peel away the self to get to the raw, underlying truth, the emotional nugget at the core. Good fiction, she said, is something that will speak to everyone, that readers will understand in their own way.
With time, her family decided to fill the hole in their lives by adopting a little girl from China. The Red Thread has its basis in her family’s journey through the adoption process, but also in the Chinese folk tale of the red thread of destiny that ties each person to the other important people in their lives, from their past all the way through the future.
Now in its third year, the summer author series brings a wonderful mix of debut and bestselling authors to Chatham to mix and mingle with readers over coffee and food. Proceeds from the Ann Hood event were donated to WE CAN, a local organization dedicated to helping Cape Cod women in transition.
Ro Morrissey, President of the Board at WE CAN, introduced Ann Hood and described a new initiative being launched by the organization called the “Fabric of Our Community.” The goal is to “create a signature quilt,” explained Ro, “tied together with that red thread of destiny, to remember those we’ve helped in the past and those we will help going forward.”
Ann described WE CAN as “a series of amazing women who hold each other up and help each other through the rough parts of their lives,” saying she was honored to be associated with such a great group of women.
Joanne and Caitlyn Doggart, co-owners of Where the Sidewalk Ends, were also on hand to greet guests and talk about the upcoming summer series. They’ve planned five luncheons so far, to be held at the Wequassett Inn Resort in Chatham, and have information about the authors and their books on the bookstore’s website. The series culminates on August 12th with a visit by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner, speaking about her latest book, Fly Away Home.
Tickets for all the luncheon events are available at Where the Sidewalk Ends bookstore, 432 Main Street in Chatham. For more information about the Author Literary Luncheon Series, call 508-945-0499.
Author Literary Luncheon Series
At the Wequassett Inn Resort
Friday, June 25th
Maggie Pouncey, Perfect Reader
Thursday, July 8th
Claire Cook, Seven Year Switch
Thursday, July 22nd
Richard Russo, That Old Cape Magic
Thursday, August 5th
Heidi Jon Schmidt, The House on Oyster Creek
Thursday, August 12th
Jennifer Weiner, Fly Away Home
Katie O'Sullivan is the Editor of this magazine. She lives in Harwich with her family.
In addition to reporting and editing, she writes contemporary fiction. Her first suspense novel, Unfolding the Shadows, was released in 2009. Her second novel, Perfect Strangers, is due out this summer.
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