PICT held its second Book Talk and Signing event, featuring novelist Kerri Maher, on Saturday 21 May 2022. The event at the Maison de la Vie Associative et Citoyenne du Marais was dedicated to The Paris Bookseller (Berkley, 2022), Maher’s novel on the life of Sylvia Beach, founder of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris and first publisher of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
In a small and intimate circle, Maher recounted why she had chosen to write on Beach, mentioning that Beach had inspired her for many years and expressing surprise that such a remarkable life had not been fictionalized before. Maher, whose previous novels deal with Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy and Grace Kelly, described Beach’s life as inspiring in many ways, from her literary engagement to her entrepreneurial spirit, from the courage of her private choices to her resolute stance in the face of the Nazi occupation.
The event was very animated, with audience members drawing Maher out on a variety of topics from her research methods to her writing techniques and the unique challenge of tackling historical topics in fiction. Embracing the opportunity to engage so closely with her readers, Maher brought the conversation to life with historical anecdotes and writing advice. The task of a historical novelist, she maintained, was not merely to recount true events, but to render them believable on an emotional level.
We would like to thank Kerri Maher and everybody who took time out of their warm, sunny Saturday afternoon to join us indoors for this charming event. A video recording of the talk will soon be available on the PICT website.