7900 High School Rd, Elkins Park, PA

I first discovered Martha Cooley when I was working at Barnes & Noble in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in the late 90s. The store had a local authors section where I learned what a wealth of authors lived in the area. Now it’s almost a cliché to turn to the bio of some trendy new author of literary fiction and find out they are Brooklyn-based, but then it seemed to me a wonder that I could potentially go to the local grocery store and rub shoulders with Paul Auster or Jonathan Lethem, or Kathryn Harrison, Pete Hamill, Malachy McCourt, and a host of other literary luminaries (not to mention Steve Buscemi!).

Among these local books, I found one I had never heard of, a novel called The Archivist written by a writer whose name I did not recognize, Martha Cooley. Determined to familiarize myself with local lit, I read the book, and I fell hard for it. It tells an intertwined story of Matthias, an archivist at a university who is in charge of the letters of T.S. Eliot, his wife Judith, a holocaust survivor, and a graduate student, Roberta, who is dealing with a recent revelation from her own parents. I think this review HERE does the book justice.

Later, when I was given the job of running events at that store, I tried to track Cooley down to do an event with her, but she proved elusive. Martha Cooley will elude me no longer, however, because tomorrow she will walk through the doors of our bookstore. Tomorrow, May 6, at 2pm, she will be doing an event at Open Book Bookstore.

I have one word to say: Hurrah!

Come join us and meet this wonderful author! Cooley has just published a new book, this time a memoir, called Guesswork. She writes about the time she spent in a small town in Italy with her husband Antonio. She was on sabbatical from her teaching job, and reeling from the recent deaths of a number of dear friends.

This book will appeal to many readers who have interest in:

  • Reading memoir
  • Writing memoir (Cooley, a professor of English at Adelphia University in New York, will talk about her book and also about writing memoir)
  • Italy (the book takes place in the small Italian town of Castiglione del Terziere)
  • Grief & loss, which is the impetus for the travel and the writing.

See you Saturday, May 6th, 2pm.

Details HERE

To RSVP, email lynn@openbookphilly.com


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