Author Michael Cunningham (center left) at Beverly Hills Literary Escape, Beverly Hils, CA, October 19, 2013, photo by Joy Bennett
Last weekend I had one of the most pleasurable literary experiences ever. I was invited to cover the Beverly Hills Literary Escape, put on by founder Julie Robinson and her associates of the Beverly Hills Literary Affairs group. This excellent organization strives to “promote great literature and foster a community of book lovers in Southern California … offering a full range of services tailored to the literary lifestyle, including book clubs, conversations with acclaimed authors in intimate locales, literary travel adventures, and an annual fall book festival. ... Reading books enriches our lives, makes us more human and helps us better understand and have compassion for the world we live in.” From the Literary Affairs website.
The event was held at the luxurious Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, a lovely and most comfortable setting.
Highlights from the weekend include: Tobias Wolff talking to us about his early writing influences, John Burnham Schwartz telling us how a novelist finds his or her writing project, (seemingly more of intuitive process than anything else); many of the authors noting how much work they throw out (surprisingly, a great deal of work often gets discarded!); Lauren Groff accepting the $5,000 Medici Book Club Prize for her outstanding novel, Arcadia; having a delicious lunch while chatting directly with the authors, and being able to talk one on one with the authors at the frequent book signings.
Despite the caliber of the authors in attendance, the atmosphere was not pretentious or stuffy. Indeed, everyone there was friendly and approachable, sharing their common interest in literature and how it impacts and uplifts our lives.
Several of the authors present have had their novels or memoirs turned into noteworthy feature films, including Tobias Wolff (This Boy’s Life), John Burnham Schwartz (Reservation Road), and Michael Cunningham (The Hours).
The food and desserts were most delicious, set in one of the most beautiful hotels in Southern California, the Beverly Wilshire.
Julie Robinson, the congenial and well-spoken founder and leader of Literary Affairs, has put on book events for 15 years, and has hosted these Literary Escape events she started since 2010. The group is supported by patrons and ticket sales, and is open to all.
The many wonderful events hosted by the organization are ongoing throughout the year. For more information about the group and tickets to their events, visit the website www.literaryaffairs.net.
Thank you all, especially to Julie Robinson and all the hardworking authors present, for a most enjoyable and educational weekend! I personally look forward to attending many more of this group’s outstanding literary events. For more photos visit the writer's website at joybennett.com.