Bexley Community Book Club to host Pete Hamill

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Along with his reporting from New York City and around the globe, Pete Hamill has published ten novels, two short story collections, and two biographies, and has written movie and television scripts. 

In conjunction with its 25th anniversary, the Bexley Education Foundation has launched the Bexley Community Book Club, with the works of writer Pete Hamill to be the focus of activities throughout the year, culminating in an author visit in April.

The Bexley Education Foundation was the first public school foundation in central Ohio, and has supported such initiatives as  author and scientist in residence programs and grants for unique classroom activities.

Proceeds from Bexley Community Book Club, through sponsorships, ticket sales and book sales, will help support literary, performing and visual arts facilities and  programs for the Bexley City Schools.

This latest initiative will be the first of an annual "community reads" of the works by a selected author.       

"We are excited to showcase Bexley’s belief in the importance of education and lifelong learning, and to promote reading, through the establishment of Bexley Community Book Club," said Linda Kass, founding chairwoman for the new initiative and chair-elect of the BEF board.  "We hope to have at least 50 book clubs in and around Bexley reading Pete Hamill’s books and becoming more familiar with his body of work."

Hamill fit all of the criteria set by the selection committees, Kass said, as an author with a wide body of work who would appeal to men and women and be of interest to high school students.

It turned out that Hamill’s novel "Snow in August" is read by Janice Yoder’s contemporary literature classes and is one of school librarian Mike Nolan’s favorite books, according to Kass.

Hamill is expected to meet with literature classes and student journalists, as well as the community.

While well-known in New York, Hamill is "still an author for an Ohio audience who is yet to be discovered," Kass added.

The book club project has been in the works for a year. While other communities and organizations have organized the reading of a single book, Kass is not aware of one that has attempted to delve into an author’s entire oeuvre.

Several partnerships have been established to create awareness and encourage community participation, including a media partnership with WBNS 10TV.  

A partnership with Barnes and Noble Booksellers at Easton will include in-store promotions to begin this month, as well as two Barnes and Noble Bookfairs, with a percentage of book profits to benefit Bexley Education Foundation’s new initiative.

"Barnes and Noble looks for opportunities to partner with organizations that focus on higher learning, literacy and the arts.  The Bexley Community Book Club model certainly fits that mission," said Karen Austin, community relations manager at Barnes and Noble Booksellers at Easton.

In addition, the Bexley Public Library will host several book talks for the community featuring Kacey Kowars, host of a popular Internet show on books.  Kowars will also address Bexley High School students in the spring in anticipation of Hamill’s visit.

Hamill’s visit to Bexley on April 30 will include an afternoon with Bexley High School students; a private "meet and greet" dinner reception for sponsors at Giuseppe’s Ritrovo; and a 7:30 p.m. community-wide presentation in the Schottenstein Theatre at Bexley High School, followed by a book signing.  

WBNS 10TV news anchor Andrea Cambern will serve as master of ceremonies at the community presentation.

Hamill launched his writing career with the New York Post in 1960.  During his extensive career in journalism, Hamill’s voice became a New York fixture whether he was covering wars in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Lebanon and Northern Ireland, reporting on the World Series or the events of September 11, 2001, or writing about art, jazz, immigration and politics.  

Hamill served as editor-in-chief of both the New York Post and the New York Daily News, the city’s two most notoriously competitive dailies.

Along with his reporting from around the city or the globe, Hamill has published ten novels, two short story collections, and two biographies, and has written movie and television scripts.  

Hamill’s 1997 novel, "Snow in August," was on the New York Times bestseller list for four months.  His memoir, "A Drinking Life," was on the list for 13 weeks.  

His latest bestselling novel, "North River," published in June by Little, Brown and Company, tells the story of a doctor’s professional and personal struggles in the icy grip of the Great Depression.

Presenting sponsor for the inaugural Bexley Community Book Club is Linda and Frank Kass.  Lead sponsors include Crane Group Co., Glimcher Realty Trust, The Jeffrey Company, Mount Carmel Health System, National City, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP,  and Schottenstein Stores Corporation.

 

Information, including individual ticket sales information (advance general admission tickets are $25 each), can be obtained by calling the BEF office at 338-2093, or www.bexleyeducationfoundation.org and clicking on the Bexley Community Book Club link.

 

Schedule of events

October

Bexley Public Library will be hosting a book discussion with Internet talk show host Kacey Kowars on October 14,  at 3 p.m. (Part I: What Makes A Good Book Great?)

December

Barnes and Noble Booksellers at Easton will be hosting a Bookfair in partnership with Bexley Community Book Club on December 8.  WBNS 10TV’s Andrea Cambern will read excerpts from Pete Hamill’s work, and Bexley students of all ages will be on hand for a variety of performances throughout the day.

January

Bexley Public Library will host a second book discussion on January 13, at  3 p.m., with Kacey Kowars to focus on the books of Pete Hamill and his journey as a writer.

March

Barnes and Noble Booksellers at Easton will be hosting a second Bookfair in partnership with Bexley Community Book Club on March 15.  WBNS 10 TV’s Andrea Cambern will return for more readings of Hamill’s work, as will Bexley students.  

April

Book discussion/presentation for Bexley High School students in early April in preparation of Pete Hamill’s visit.

On April 30,  Pete Hamill will visit Bexley-at Bexley High School during the day, at a private sponsor dinner at Giuseppe’s Ritrova, and at a 7:30 p.m. community-wide presentation moderated by Andrea Cambern and held at The Schottenstein Theatre of Bexley High School.  A book signing will follow Hamill’s presentation.

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