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Internationally acclaimed authors will show up on your screen this month

It was an unexpected plot twist that forced the library’s Winter Sojourn event into a virtual format — but now the author event is free and open to the public, no ticket required.

A special edition of the popular Literary Sojourn, Winter Sojourn is designed to bring authors and readers together in a celebration of literacy.

Despite it not being held in person, guests are invited to create a cozy “watch pod” and get comfortable for what is sure to be any book-lover’s ideal afternoon spent with these four international acclaimed authors.



Winter Sojourn will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22. Each author will share their inspirations for the stories and characters in their published works, and an audience Q&A will follow each presentation.

“Off the Beaten Path” is the Sojourn’s official bookseller, and their online bookstore is open now and throughout the event to purchase signed editions of all the Winter Sojourn author titles.



Jess Walter / Courtesy photo

Jess Walter

A past Sojourn author, Jess Walter will return as the event’s master of ceremonies. Walter is the author of six novels, one nonfiction book and a collection of short stories. His latest book, “The Cold Millions,” was published last year.

Hailed as one of the most talented storytellers currently working in American fiction by The Washington Post, Walter’s 2012 book “Beautiful Ruins” landed at the No. 1 spot on The New York Times bestseller list and was a notable book of the year. He was a National Book Award finalist for “Citizen Vince” and the winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for “The Zero.”

“The Financial Lives of the Poets” ranked as Time Magazine’s No. 2 novel of the year, and his short fiction has won a Pushcart Prize and appeared three times in Best American Short Stories. Walter will kick off Winter Sojourn discussing the inspiration behind his stories and characters.

Vendela Vida / Courtesy photo

Vendela Vida

Vendela Vida is the award-winning author of six books. Her new, bestselling novel, “We Run the Tides,” is the story of female friendship, betrayal and a mysterious disappearance set in the changing landscape of San Francisco.

The Boston Globe calls it an “exhilarating, maddening, thoroughly entertaining novel.” Vida is a founding editor of “The Believer,” a literary, arts and culture magazine and was a founding board member of 826 Valencia, the San Francisco writing center for youth. She lives in the Bay Area with her family.

Maaza Mengiste / Courtesy photo

Maaza Mengiste

Maaza Mengiste is the author of “The Shadow King,” which was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and named a best book of the year by The New York Times, NPR, Elle, Time and more.

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mengiste’s fiction and nonfiction stories examine the lives at stake during migration, war and exile. “The Shadow King,” which is set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, takes the reader back to the first real conflict of World War II and casts light on the female soldiers who were left out of the historical record.

Mengiste’s work can be found in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Guardian, The New York Times, Rolling Stone and more. She is a professor in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation program at Queens College.

Mary Roach / Courtesy photo

Mary Roach

Science writer Mary Roach is the author of six New York Times bestselling works of nonfiction. Her much-anticipated book “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law” was published last September. An investigation into the unpredictable crossroads where wildlife and humans meet in the world, the book received rave reviews and was named a best nonfiction book of 2021 by The Washington Post and Publishers Weekly.

Called “America’s funniest science writer” by The Washington Post, Roach’s books have been published in 21 languages. She has also written for National Geographic, Wired and The New York Times Magazine, among others.

Winter Sojourn Schedule

Participants can sign up to attend events Saturday, Jan. 22, via Crowdcast at CrowdCast.io/e/wintersojourn/register.

1:30-2:10 p.m. Welcome with Jess Walter, master of ceremonies

2:10-2:45 p.m. Vendela Vida

2:45-3 p.m. Intermission

3-3:35 p.m. Maaza Mengiste

3:35-4:10 p.m. Mary Roach


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