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Tuesday, May 8

Anna Quindlen Joins Us for Writers on a New England Stage

Writers on a New England Stage welcomes
America’s laureate of real life
Anna Quindlen

The #1 New York Times bestselling author, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, 
and author of A Short Guide to a Happy Life joins us with her memoir
 
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
 
Wednesday, May 23, 7:30pm
 
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Writers on a New England Stage, the celebrated author series presented by The Music Hall and New Hampshire Public Radio, welcomes Anna Quindlen, on Wednesday, May 23.  Ms. Quindlen, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of A Short Guide to a Happy Life, joins us with her memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake.
 
“Anna Quindlen is in line with the all-time greats of women’s literature , a modern ‘bard’ for this generation. She is at once a commentator-social critic and a best friend - a sister of sorts who shares her life with immeasurable smarts, compassion and wisdom. I echo others in saying ‘thank goodness for Anna Quindlen.’  Don’t miss this night!” said Associate Producer Margaret Talcott.

About the Book

Twenty-five years ago Anna Quindlen began writing a column called “Life in the 30s” and created a phenomena.  Newspapers paid scant attention to first person accounts of the lives of ordinary women at the time.  Yet there it was, in the New York Times of all places, a weekly column about the challenges of balancing work, motherhood, marriage and everyday existence.  It was the beginning of a new way of writing about women’s lives, and the precursor of the mommy blogs to come.  Women wrote to Quindlen over and over while she was doing the column, all saying the same thing: that she was writing their lives while discussing her own.  The personal was not only the political; it was universal.

In this irresistible memoir, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, Anna Quindlen writes about her life and the lives of women today, as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all that stuff in our closets, and more.

Reflecting on her life at midpoint, a kind of “Life in the 50s” for our time, Quindlen uses her past, present, and future to explore and celebrate what matters most to women at different ages:

  • On Marriage: “A small safety net of white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn’t believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.”
  • On Girlfriends: “Real friends offer both hard truths and soft landings and realize that it’s sometimes more important to be nice than to be honest.”
  • On Our Bodies: “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come. It’s like a car, and while I like a red convertible or even a Bentley as well as the next person, what I really need are four tires and an engine.”
  • On Parenting: “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”
  • On Stuff:  “Here’s what it comes down to, really: there is now so much stuff in my head, so many years, so many memories, that it’s taken the place of primacy away from the things in the bedrooms, on the porch.  My doctor says, ‘We women today have more on the hard disc than any women at any time in history.’ Between the stuff at work and the stuff at home, to appointments and the news and the gossip and the rest, the past and the present and the plans for the future, the filing cabinets in our heads are not just full, they’re overflowing.”
  • On Generations:  “My own mother used to totally rock out to my brother Bob’s Led Zeppelin albums, and the very fact that I offer that example today illustrates another problem of aging: the terror that you’re turning into what you once considered the lamest aspects of your parents.”

From childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, Quindlen uses the events of her own life to illuminate our own. Along with the downsides of age, she says, can come wisdom, a perspective on life that makes it satisfying and even joyful. Candid, funny, moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life. 

Following her onstage presentation about her book and her writing life, Ms. Quindlen will be interviewed by Virginia Prescott, host of New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth.” Live music will be provided by the house band Dreadnaught.

About the Author

Anna Quindlen is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction and self-help bestseller lists. Her book A Short Guide to a Happy Life has sold more than a million copies. While a columnist at the New York Times she won the Pulitzer Prize and published two collections, Living Out Loud and Thinking Out Loud. Her Newsweek columns were collected in Loud and Clear. She is the author of six novels, Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue, Blessings, Rise and Shine, and Every Last One. Three of her bestselling novels were made into movies: One True Thing, starring Meryl Streep and Renee Zellwegger; Black and Blue, starring Mary Stuart Masterson and Anthony LaPaglia; and Blessings, starring Mary Tyler Moore).

Book Clubs and High School Guests of The Music Hall

At each Writers event, The Music Hall hosts local high school students selected by their teachers, who come free of charge to the event and get an opportunity to meet the author.  The Music Hall welcomes local book clubs attending on the night to take part in a drawing to be guests at a private backstage book signing/reception with the featured writer.  For more information on how to join the Writers on a New England Stage book club list and drawing, email Associate Producer Margaret Talcott at

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