• Kevin Broccoli

Meet Your New Epic Book Club Leader

We are thrilled to announce that our Book Club has a brand new leader--best-selling author and friend of Epic, Ann Hood.

Ann's books include An Italian Wife (which we adapted for our stage a few years ago), The Red Thread, The Book That Matters Most, and most recently Kitchen Yarns. She's been published in The New York TimesThe Paris Review, O, Bon Appetit, Tin House, andThe Atlantic Monthly, among others. She's won two Pushcart Prizes, two Best American Food Writing Awards, Best American Spiritual Writing and Travel Writing Awards, and a Boston Public Library Literary Light Award.

The Epic Book Club kicked off in 2019 with our Artistic Director, Kevin Broccoli, as its leader. Since then, it's become one of our most popular ways to engage with our audiences.

"I really wanted to get another voice in the mix," says Broccoli, "Now that the Book Club is going to be a strictly digital experience for awhile, I thought it was important to bring in someone else to choose the selections for it, and help take it to another level. Ann isn't just a brilliant author and generous spirit, she's also an avid reader. Whenever I've been at one of her readings, someone inevitably asks her what she's reading, and her enthusiasm and joy at talking about books is something I wanted to have her share with everyone here at Epic."

Her first selection for the club is Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor.

Here's Ann on why she chose this book:

"I have to admit that having to stay inside all day is not difficult or unusual for a writer. I typically do that anyway, eating ramen in my pajamas as I stare at my computer screen. What I do miss is however is the luxury of traveling. For the past twenty some years, I’ve gone weekly to NYC on Amtrak to teach, sub-letting apartments so that I could stay on to meet with editors and agents, students and friends. Three years ago I married a guy who owns an apartment around the corner from my last sublet, so I’ve been able to enjoy the city even more. I miss getting on an airplane and going somewhere far flung. This former flight attendant has wanderlust, and all my planned summer travel for teaching and pleasure has been canceled.

My comfort reading? Novels by British women writers—Anita Brookner, Muriel Spark, Mary Wesley...The list goes on and on. While I’ve been sheltering in place, I discovered Elizabeth Taylor (not THAT Elizabeth Taylor!), the mid century writer that Kingsley Amis called ”one of the best English novelists born in this century.” Although I hope you will read all 12 of her novels and her magnificent short stories, this month I’m excited to share Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont with you. Not only does it take us to London, but Taylor explores loneliness and isolation with humor and grace. The Guardian, who chose it as one of the 100 best novels, said this about it:

Elizabeth Taylor's exquisitely drawn character study of eccentricity in old age is a sharp and witty portrait of genteel postwar English life facing the changes taking shape in the 60s . . . Much of the reader's joy lies in the exquisite subtlety in Taylor's depiction of all the relationships, the sharp brevity of her wit, and the apparently effortless way the plot unfolds . . . Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont is, for me, her masterpiece.

Come with me to London and meet Mrs. Palfrey!"

We'll be posting discussion questions and check-ins throughout the month on our website and on the Epic Patreon. Supporters on Patreon will get added content with some thoughts on the book and other exclusive content.

For more information, e-mail Info@EpicTheatreRI.org and to sign up for the Epic Patreon go to www.Patreon.com/EpicTheatreCo

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