I’ll be moderating a panel discussion on Agatha Christie at the BIO Conference

May 15, 2021 at 11:30am

One Subject, Three Ways: Agatha Christie

What can biographers who work in different media learn from one another—and teach the rest of us? Join a documentary filmmaker, a print biographer, and a graphic biographer as they explore how they addressed the same fascinating subject, the “Queen of Crime,” Agatha Christie.

Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s writing has appeared in The New YorkerNew YorkThe Daily BeastLapham’s Quarterly, and SlateThe Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica was her best-selling first full-length work of nonfiction, and was an Indie next selection in 2018. She has also won an Independent Spirit Award as a documentary director. Her 2020 New Yorker article on sneaking Dorothy Parker back to New York City was recently nominated for best NYC essay or article by GANYC’s Apple Awards. Shapiro’s next nonfiction book will be Amelia and George, about Amelia Earhart’s decade-long marriage.

Laura Thompson is the award-winning author of Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life, which was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe award in 2019 and is the first Christie biography to have been written with access to all her letters and papers. Thompson is also the author of the 2016 New York Times best seller The Six, a group biography of the Mitford sisters, and of the true-crime A Tale of Two Murders. Her memoir of her grandmother, The Last Landlady, a three-time book of the year in the U.K., was released in the U.S. in 2020.

Matt Cottingham has 20 years of experience making documentaries for prime-time British television. From traveling the globe to meet the world’s most advanced robots to filming polar bears in the Arctic, Cottingham has directed dozens of history, science, and arts programs for the BBC, ITV, Channel 5, and international broadcasters. Cottingham began his career working on the BBC’s flagship current-affairs program Panorama, interviewing members of Al Qaeda. His passion to understand what makes humans tick continues with his most recent documentary, Inside the Mind of Agatha Christie.

Editor at French crime publisher Éditions du Masque for more than 10 years, Anne Martinetti is a specialist in the worlds of Anglophone cinema and literature. A contributor to the definitive edition of Agatha Christie’s works, she wrote a worldwide best-selling cookbook based on Christie’s novels, entitled Creams and Punishments, as well as a documentary about Christie’s adaptations in movies, The Inheritance Crime, for Canal+. She is co-author of the graphic biography Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie. Martinetti is also the author of a literary guide to London and more than a dozen other works—novels, cookbooks, and essays.

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Book Reading to Support KGB Bar’s famous lit series

Online January 17, 2021 at 7pm

“On Sunday, January 17 at 7 pm, play pretend “let’s meet at KGB” to raise a little money to keep KGB going. Click below to register, throw $10 to one of the greatest, long-running literary venues in the city that gives a stage to writers just starting out and often to my writer heroes. Get your cocktail or mocktail ready and join three of the most fascinating writers I know: Ada Calhoun, Laurie Gwen Shapiro and Darcey Steinke on zoom for some brief readings on Beginnings in Real Life, then conversation and your questions. Ada will be reading from her recent beloved bestseller, Darcey from the book Maggie Nelson called an “instant classic,” Laurie is going to give us a glimpse of her upcoming, highly anticipated nonfiction book about Amelia Earhart and I’m going to read a bit about the scary days leading to an inauguration…in 1861. Please join us! Talk, joke around and imagine we are in that glorious space up the staircase at KGB.” – Biz Mitchell

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Please save June 12 for a really special event I think will sell out!

As a Dorothy Parker fanatic all my life I am beyond excited – the first poems I ever memorized were by her. (She was my mom’s favorite writer too.)

This summer the Algonquin is celebrating the Centennial of the Algonquin Round Table (was on Jeopardy! last night!) – five New Yorkers have been selected to have a talk – representing writing, music, comedy, history, and poker. Holy shit I’m representing writing. And I’m first up on June 12!!! WHAT?!

There will be a page launched by the Algonquin on June 5th with a link for Open Table for my friends and the public to reserve a spot in the Round Table Room for dinner. It’s limited to 30, so people should act fast. It’s a special menu, so it’s around $50 or so, plus drinks. The person who has arranged this wonderful celebration thinks it will sell out.

The schedule is:

  • 6:00 cocktails at the Round Table
  • 6:30 seat for dinner
  • 7:30-8:00 dessert and Round Table talk

Guests must have dinner reservations. You can’t come and sit at a table and drink water; but there is no ticket to attend.

My talk will be around 30 minutes. It will go to around 830-ish.

Just giving a heads up to those who are planners! June 5 is the date to book when the link will go live after heavy promotion! Put in calendar. My date again is June 12.

P.S. Nobody really knows the exact date of the 1st Round Table lunch; it wasn’t written in a newspaper like the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It’s generally known to be the first week of June 1919, when Woollcott returned from France.

My birthday is in early July so if anyone wants to give me a great early birthday gift please come – Did I mention I’m beyond excited??? IMPOSTER SYNDROME STARTS NOW!

New Yorkers in the house? – PAPERBACK LAUNCH – Save the date


Join me Tuesday February 19 – 730 pm ( to about 9) for a celebration of the paperback edition of The Stowaway in the very lush Kgb Bar’s Red Room (85 East 4th, East Village) (Have you ever seen this room above the regular room we associate with KGB – so divine!) My launch night is part of THE LAST TABOOS series hosted by debonair author Tony Perrottet! Alcohol, exotic dancing, live jazz. More details and event FB Page to come. No cover – just come. (Paperback is out January 1, 2019) (YAY!)

So Honored to Moderate a “Persistence” Panel at the PEN World Voices Festival

Back in 1988? (I believe the year) I was a high school volunteer for the first Pen World Voices festival held in NYC and had the great thrill to get Kurt Vonnegut a sandwich and Norman Mailer a coffee! Moving on up! Very honored and thrilled to be moderating a panel for PEN America and PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature on the theme of persistence! April 21 5pm-630 at Dixon Place – I hope you will come – PLEASE COME! This is my favorite festival of the year – and the rest of the line up is really superb.

April 21, 2018
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
Dixon Place
161A Chrystie Street, New York, NY 10002

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Where do people find the inner resources, the determination, the doggedness and the sheer physical wherewithal to keep going in the face of adversity and torment? Each of these writers tells compelling stories of epic feats of persistence. Sharon Bala’s boatload of Sri Lankan refugees lands in Canada but instead of receiving sanctuary, they are imprisoned because of fears that their group includes terrorists; their quest for freedom moves to the courts. In Without a Country, Ayse Kulin’s characters flee Nazi Germany and find safe haven in Turkey. But that safety evaporates for their descendants as military coups and encroaching anti-Semitism threaten their future in the place they call home. Marcos Aguinis tells the extraordinary story of the Jewish intellectual who resisted the tortures of the Spanish Inquisitors in 17th-century South America and fought to retain his faith. The common theme is the almost superhuman effort of individuals to persist in the face of danger and death. They talk to Laurie Gwen Shapiro, author of The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica about the almost superhuman effort of individuals to persist in the face of danger and death.