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Haystack Book Talks presents

Fryderyk Chopin:  A Conversation  with Alan Walker and Melvin Chen

Sunday, July 7, 1:00 p.m.

Dr. Alan Walker’s monumental Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times is the most comprehensive biography of the great Polish composer to appear in English in more than a century. Walker is the Professor Emeritus of Music at McMaster University, Canada. He is the author of several books, including the definitive three-volume biography of Franz Liszt, which received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in Biography and The Royal Philharmonic Society Book award, among other honors. Walker was also awarded the Knights Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary in 2012. He will be joined in conversation with Melvin Chen, Director of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, to discuss Chopin’s life, his music, his many friendships with other important musicians of the time as well as his relationship with George Sand and the Parisian atmosphere of the mid-19th century. Visit here to reserve a seat.


Author Talk and Book Launch:  Courtney Maum, Costalegre

“Behind the Book”

Friday, July 12, 10:00 a.m.

Enjoy coffee, tea, and pastries while talking with Courtney Maum about her new novel Costalegre.  This book—her first historical novel, and her first written from a teenager’s point of view—tells the story of 15 year-old Lara Calaway who is waiting out World War II in western Mexico with a group of Surrealist artists that her mother has helped get out of Europe before Hitler could get to them. The book is based on the relationship between the heiress and art collector Peggy Guggenheim and her daughter, Pegeen—a sensitive young woman who longed to be an artist in her own right. Courtney will speak about the fictionalization of historical characters and how she incorporated her research on World War II, the Guggenheims, and “Peggy’s set” into a fictional diary.

Kirkus has called Costalegre  “a lush chronicle of wealth, art, adventure, loneliness, love and folly told by a narrator you won’t be able to forget,” and Publishers Weekly deems it a “fascinating, lively, and exquisitely crafted novel.” Books will be for sale, and now is your chance to get a signed copy. A resident of Norfolk, Courtney is also the author of I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You and Touch. She is the founder of The Cabins learning collaborative in Norfolk.

Visit here to register for this program.


“Roaring Twenties Paris”
A Gala Cocktail Party
under the tent at the Norfolk Library
Friday, August 23, 2019
5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Step back in time to Les Années Folles. Delectable hors d’oeuvres, signature cocktails, and wine will be served. Come in jazz-age dress, if you wish, and enjoy the music of Doug Munro and La Pompe Attack, a quartet of jazz musicians fresh from the Litchfield Jazz Festival. Tickets are $35, payable in advance or at the door.