Boston Globe’s Spotlight Reporter Stephen Kurkjian Will Bring You the Latest Updates About His Book, “Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the Greatest Art Heist in the World,” Tuesday, February 9 at 6:30 PM
Pulitzer-prize-winning editor and investigative reporter Stephen Kurkjian didn’t just write a book about the mind-boggling (and unresolved) theft of priceless art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner in 1990 and leave it at that: He keeps writing updates about it in the Boston Globe, his home base for 45 years. On Tuesday, February 9, Kurkjian will be at the South End library to discuss Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist. He is likely to bring along the details of the latest twists and turns of this tale of profound cultural loss, carelessness and tragedy. He will be introduced by his former Boston Globe colleague, M.E. Malone.
To date, the 13 irreplaceable works of art by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet and Vermeer, among others, have not been found despite the offer of a $5 million reward for the treasure, estimated at half a billion dollars. Kurkjian’s continued reporting about the theft, describing a September raid by the FBI on the Suffolk Downs Race Track, and, in January, the unusual sentence reduction by a judge of one of the suspects in the theft, might lead one to speculate some denouement may yet be coming. One of the founding members of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team, Kurkjian joined their investigation of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals shortly after the first articles on that subject were published.
A graduate of Suffolk Law School, Kurkjian has been the Boston Globe‘s Washington bureau chief. Of Armenian descent, the award-winning journalist has written numerous articles about the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
The South End Library is fully handicapped accessible. The authors books will be available for sale, signing and borrowing. Refreshments are served. Seating is limited.
The South End Writes Author Series Starts Tuesday, January 26, at 6:30 PM, With a Reading by Virginia Pye From Her Acclaimed Second Novel Set in China, “Dreams of the Red Phoenix”
Virginia Pye, whose award-winning short stories have been featured in various literary magazines, will be reading from her recent novel, Dreams of the Red Phoenix, at the South End library, Tuesday, January 26 at 6:30 PM. Asian-American author, Gish Jen, called Pye’s second novel, inspired by diaries of her grandmother, “gripping, convincing and heartbreaking” and “a real page-turner.”Pye published her first novel, River of Dust, three years ago. Daughter of the late China scholar, Lucian Pye, who himself was born in China as the son of Congregational missionaries, River of Dust was partially inspired by her grandfather’s journals, and set in Northwestern China after the Boxer Rebellion in the early 1900s. The powerful, harrowing description of the drought-stricken landscape in which an American missionary couple tries to find their young child, kidnapped by Mongolian war lords who oppose Western influence of any kind, won Pye the Indie Next Pick and made the book a finalist for the 2014 Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Dreams of the Red Phoenix is also set in a missionary compound, but in the 1930s when North China was occupied by Japan and Communism was on the rise.
The South End library library is fully handicapped accessible. The event is free. We serve refreshments. Books will be available for borrowing, signing and sale. Seating is limited.
FOSEL’s Annual Meeting Will Present a New Slate of Board Candidates for You –Yes You– to Elect on Tuesday, February 2 at 6:30 PM: Please Join the Crowd, Meet Your Library’s Advocates, Listen to Exciting Initiatives and Enjoy the Refreshments
On February, 9, at 6:30 PM, the Friends of the South End Library (FOSEL) will hold its Annual Meeting and present the audience with an excellent slate of candidates for its voting board. In addition, there is a separate slate of library aficionados who have agreed to be board advisors and use their skills and interests to enhance the library’s role in the community. The terms are for one year, but can be renewed. The audience elects the board, and that means you, so please come and participate. The seven candidates for the voting board each have specific expertise and abilities in the three areas that FOSEL wants to focus on for the next two years, namely library/building maintenance and renovation; library park maintenance and renovation; and programming.
The board candidates, alphabetically listed, are:
Marilyn Davillier (programming), a licensed, clinical social worker who wants to start a South End Parenting Forum at the library, with her husband, Ed Tronick, a noted researcher in child development and parenting
Ed Hostetter (building/park), actively involved in the South End as a Garden Steward for Southwest Corridor Park and a GED math tutor at USES. His background includes teaching, building and psychiatric nursing. Ed looks forward to becoming involved in the library at the nearby corner on his street – with a curiosity about what meaningful contributions/services a library might deliver to our complex diverse neighborhood in these changing & challenging times
Jeanne Pelletier (building), an attorney and longtime neighborhood activist for the Hurley School, Hayes Park, the South End Historic Society, and the South End library who is currently overseeing the restoration of the historic Ayer Mansion, designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany
Michelle Laboy (park/building), an architect, planner and urban engineer who created the LightWells in Library Park; she teaches at Northeastern
Marleen Nienhuis (everything), founder of FOSEL, who has recently rejoined the board as clerk/secretary and writes the library updates for the FOSEL web site
Mari Passananti (programming), author of The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken and The K Street Affair. She recruits authors for The South End Writes, and writes the introductions for the speakers who come to talk at the library
Barbara Sommerfeld (everything) has been the outstanding treasurer of FOSEL and has graciously agreed to do more of the same. She has an MBA from Northeastern, worked for non-profits, and currently tutors at St. Stephens. She has lived in the South End for 45 years.
The advisory-board members, alphabetically listed, are:
Adam Castiglioni (programming), who was the clerk/secretary for six years, during which time he recruited several speakers and used social media to publicize FOSEL events
Kim Clark (everything), an avid library user whose specialty is marketing and promotion for business and non-profits
Susanna Coit (programming) is in her final semester of the archives program at Simmons’ School of Library and Information Science. She studied Afro-American Studies and Special Education at Smith College. She wants to encourage the relationship between the South End Library and the community through social media and events/programming. As a frequent user of library resources, Susanna is looking forward to supporting the South End Library’s role and efforts in the neighborhood, where she has lived since 2008.
Marian Ellwood (programming/building), a scientist specializing in regulatory affairs, who loves the library
Stephen Fox (building/park), the chair of the South End Forum who has been a longtime advocate for the South End library and its park
Jacqueline McRath (programming), who has written about the arts for the Bay State Banner. She is an advocate for African-American artists and poets, chairs the Teresa India-Young Scholarship Committee for fiber arts, and organizes fiber-arts exhibits at USES, like the current one, on exhibit till the end of February.
Mary Owens (programming), the graphic designer who has created all the beautiful posters for the South End Writes author series at the library, as well as the designs for the FOSEL tote bags, and the library signage on Tremont Street
Curtis Seborowski (building), who has been president of FOSEL since October 2014, and spearheaded the project for new library signage
Lois Russell (programming), a former journalist, is a fiber artist and basket maker whose sculptural work appears in national exhibitions and publications. The former president of the National Basketry Organization, she currently serves on the boards of the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston and Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Simmons College and Stanford University. Lois is interested in developing arts and public-health programming for the library, in collaboration with other board members.
Licia Sky (programming), a singer-songwriter who professionally runs experiential-movement workshops and would like to start poetry open-mic readings at the library
Anne Smart has worked for the BPL for 25 years and has been the head librarian at the South End branch for 20 years. She holds a Masters of Library Science from the University of North Texas, and grew up on the South Shore.
Karen Watson (building) is currently working on a project to develop exciting window installations at the library that tap into the South End library’s creative community with library-themed displays.
The South End Writes/The Library Invites Author Series Will Resume Tuesday, January 26 With Award-winning Writer Virginia Pye, Followed by Pulitzer-prize Winning Boston Globe Spotlight Reporter, Stephen Kurkjian, February 9
TUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 6:30 PM
Virginia Pye, whose award-winning short stories have been featured in various literary magazines, published her first novel, River of Dust, three years ago. Daughter of the late China scholar, Lucian Pye, who himself was born in China as the son of Congregational missionaries, River of Dust was partially inspired by her grandfather’s journals, and set in Northwestern China after the Boxer Rebellion in the early 1900s. The powerful but harrowing description of the drought-stricken landscape in which an American missionary couple tries to find their young child, kidnapped by Mongolian war lords who oppose Western influence of any kind, won Pye the Indie Next Pick and made the book a finalist for the 2014 Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Her most recent novel, Dreams of the Red Phoenix, is also set in a missionary compound, but in the 1930s when North China was occupied by Japan and Communism was on the rise. Asian-American author Gish Jen called Pye’s second novel, inspired by diaries of her grandmother, “gripping, convincing and heartbreaking” and “a real page-turner.”
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 6:30 PM
Pulitzer-prize-winning editor and investigative reporter Stephen Kurkjian will talk about his recent book, Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist, which describes the mind-boggling theft of some half a billion dollars worth of 13 priceless art works by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet and Vermeer, among others, stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in March 1990. The paintings have not been found despite the offer of a $5 million reward. Kurkjian’s continued reporting about the theft, describing a September raid by the FBI on the Suffolk Downs Race Track, and, recently, the unusual sentence reduction by a judge of one of the suspects in the theft, might lead one to speculate some denouement may yet be coming. Kurkjian is one of the founding members of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team which, among its most powerful investigations, shone a long-overdue light on the sex abuse practices in the Catholic Church’s corps of priests, first in Boston and, then, everywhere else in the world. (He joined that particular investigation after its first stories came out.) A graduate of Suffolk Law School, Kurkjian has been the Boston Globe‘s Washington bureau chief. Of Armenian descent, the award-winning journalist has written numerous articles about the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 6:30 PM
Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot is the Emily Hargroves Fisher professor of Education at Harvard University who also happens to be a South End resident; she is returning to her local branch to read, this time from her latest published work Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free. For this book, Lawrence-Lightfoot traveled the country for two years, listening to the many tales people told her about their partings, forced or voluntary, and studying the ways endings intertwine with the fabric of our days. The renowned sociologist has written almost a dozen books, with the next one due out at the end of 2016. They include, among others, Beyond Bias: Perspectives on Classrooms (1979) (with Jean Carew); The Good High School: Portraits of Character and Culture (1983), which received the 1984 Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Association; Balm In Gilead: Journey of A Healer (1988), which won the 1988 Christopher Award, for literary merit and humanitarian achievement; I’ve Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation (1994); and The Third Chapter: Risk, Passion, and Adventure in the Twenty-Five Years After 50 (2009). Upon her retirement from Harvard University, the endowed chair currently held by this author will officially become the Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot Endowed Chair, making her the first African-American woman in Harvard’s history to have an endowed professorship named in her honor.
TUESDAY, APRIL 5, 6:30 PM
What do you do when your seven-year-old daughter is diagnosed with a potentially fatal blood disease about which you know nothing and which requires decision-making that may determine her living or dying? Paul McLean, a former sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News, one-time arts editor at the Boston Herald and a stay-at-home father after his daughter was born, courageously fought to protect his child, preserve his sense of self even when it seemed everything changed by the day and, with his wife, made those difficult decisions. He also took meticulous notes, and wrote about his searing experience. Blood Lines: Fatherhood, Faith and Love in the Time of Stem Cells is the harrowing and honest account of who he once was, a regular guy with a regular family, and who he had to become as a result of the existential threat to his child. McLean is the social media coordinator for the Harvard Community Ethics Committee (CEC), a former fellow in the Center for Bioethics program, a current community member of the Ethics Advisory Committee at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Research Subject Advocacy Board of Harvard Catalyst, as well as a social media contributor to The Hastings Center.
TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 6:30 PM
What Does China Want? you may have asked yourself watching the latest military and economic developments involving America’s most important trading partner and not-infrequent political adversary. Renowned China specialist Ross Terrill, will be at the South End library to talk about what he calls The China Challenge, and touch upon the latest conundrums posed by the once-locked-away empire that is now deeply intertwined in the global culture. Terrill, a South End resident, is the author of innumerable articles and many books, including, among other works, The Biography of Mao; China in Our Time: The Epic Saga of the People’s Republic from the Communist Victory to Tiananmen Square and Beyond; Madame Mao; and The New Chinese Empire –winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2004. A Research Associate at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Terrill was a contributing editor of The Atlantic Monthly in the 1970s, when he won the National Magazine Award for Reporting Excellence and the George Polk Memorial Award for Outstanding Magazine Reporting for writings on China. Raised in rural Australia, he also wrote The Australians. He has visited China almost every year for many years; within China, his biography of Mao, in Chinese translation, has sold more than 1.5 million copies. Terrill has recently been visiting professor at the University of Texas, Austin, and at Monash University in Australia.
TUESDAY, MAY 3, 6:30 PM
Michelle Hoover‘s two novels are both set in America’s rural heartland in the early 20th century. Her first one, The Quickening, based on a great-grandmother’s journal, described an unlikely friendship between two women in a time of harsh economic realities. It was widely praised and, in addition to being shortlisted for the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, it was a Massachusetts Book Award Must Read pick. Her latest, Bottomlands, is the story of a German-American family living in the time of strong anti-German sentiments after the First World War, struggling to survive as farmers and trying to piece together why their two teenage daughters vanished in the middle of a night. Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award. Born in Iowa, she lives in Boston.
TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 6:30 PM
Jenna Blum, the acclaimed author of the award-winning New York Times bestseller, Those Who Saved Us (2004), and The Stormchasers (2010) will talk about her latest work, a novella published in the anthology, Grand Central. An collection of stories related to the Holocaust by ten bestselling female writers, Grand Central features Blum’s The Lucky One. The daughter of a Jewish father and part-German mother, Blum reports on her web site that she had been reluctant to return to the subject of the Holocaust after the searing experience of the research and writing of Those Who Saved Us, which explored how non-Jewish Germans dealt with the Holocaust. But she remembered one story she heard when she worked for the Steven Spielberg Survivors of the Shoah Foundation, where she interviewed Holocaust survivors. It had struck a cord with her, she said, and became the genesis for The Lucky One, set, like each of the other stories in the anthology on the same day in Grand Central Terminal right after the Second World War. Blum’s successful writing career began when she was fourteen, and her first short story won a third prize when it was published in Seventeen Magazine. Another short story, The Legacy of Frank Finklestein, won first prize two years later. Since that time, Blum’s work has been featured in Faultline, The Kenyon Review, The Bellingham Review, Glamour, Mademoiselle, and The Improper Bostonian. Blum has taught creative writing and communications writing at Boston University, was the editor at Boston University’s AGNI literary magazine for four years, and led fiction and novel workshops for Grub Street Writers in Boston since 1997.
Happy New Year: If You Missed the Annual Holiday Jazz Concert Between-the-Stacks This Year, Here’s the Reason Not to Do That Next Time
Every year, the South End Library’s Holiday Party and Jazz Concert features terrific music by Pat Loomis and his Friends, a home-cooked dinner prepared by chef John Hampton, and desserts brought by volunteers who love to bake. The audience sits at long tables between the stacks listening and eating, while regular library users who just happened to come in to pick up or drop off books are drawn in and stand around, tapping their feet, arms filled with books.
This year’s line-up of musicians was as good as ever: Pat Loomis on the alto-sax; Antonio Shiell Loomis on guitar; Amy Bellamy, piano; Christoff Glaude on bass; Dave Fox, drums; and special guest, Tia Fuller, on alto-sax.
Fuller is is Mack Avenue Records recording artist. She is a Down Beat poll winner, who played with Beyonce and Esperalda Spalding.