Saturday, May 9, 2015

Stories and secrets: A May 9 Talk at Russell Library

Russell Library presents an event in honor of Mother’s Day on Saturday, May 9 from 2-4pm in the Hubbard Room, Russell Library, 123 Broad St., featuring two regional authors who have written about their mothers’ complex lives. 

Elizabeth Petry
Elisabeth Petry
Elisabeth Petry will speak about author Ann Petry from a daughter's point of view. Ann Petry's novel The Street, published in 1946, was the first novel by an African American author to sell more than a million copies. In researching her mother’s life for her book, At Home Inside, Elisabeth Petry had to sift through a myriad of contradictory stories. Ann Petry applied her formidable storytelling skills to the tales she told about herself and her family, and the truths her daughter Elisabeth uncovered make fascinating stories themselves. In talking about her life, Ann Petry claimed six different birth dates. She hid her first marriage, and even represented her father, Peter C. Lane, Jr., as a potential killer. Mining Petry's journals daughter Elisabeth creates part biography, part love letter, and part sounding of her mother's genius and luminescent personality.

Elisabeth Petry is a freelance writer with a juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Middletown, Connecticut, and is in addition to At Home Inside, is the editor of Can Anything Beat White? A Black Family's Letters. She also leads the Russell Library Veteran’s Writing Group on Thursday evenings at the library.

Hanna Perlstein Marcus
Hanna Perlstein Marcus is the author of Sidonia’s Thread, The Secrets of a Mother and Daughter Sewing a New Life in America. In this memoir, Hanna Perlstein Marcus tells the story of her mother, the secrets she kept, and how she came to unearth those secrets. Hanna and her mother came to Springfield, Massachusetts after World War II to build a new life. With no other family except each other, they built a world that revolved around her mother’s remarkable talent as fashion designer and seamstress. Curious know the secrets her mother was unable to reveal, Hanna closely studied her mother’s old letters and photographs, determined to find the secret of her paternity, the reasons for her mother’s reclusive behavior, and clues to her heritage.


Sidonia’s Thread won best nonfiction Kindle book for 2014. Hanna Perlstein Marcus is currently working on her next book. The Greenhorns will focus on the immigrant community in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she and her mother moved when first arriving in the United States.

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