Next program: Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 12:00 pm EDT (note new time!)
Virtual event on Zoom - Click Here!
About Authors on Stage
The Authors on Stage program, one of Greater Boston’s most anticipated and longest running literary happenings each spring and fall, is celebrating its 40th year of showcasing noteworthy writers. Sponsored by the Wellesley College Alumnae of Boston for book lovers of every definition, the library benefit attracts bibliophiles eager for literary discussion or those simply curious to hear about newly published works. Attendees enjoy a lively morning of talks, autographing, and author-audience conversation with three current writers.
“The subject matter and authors are carefully thought out, so there is rarely a sense of repetition,” explains Lia Hunt Zylstra, the event’s moderator. “The authors speak with a combination of intellect, passion and humor that inspires us to listen and learn.” In discussing the genesis of their volumes, the 252 presenting authors – be they biographers, memoirists, essayists, journalists, novelists, or poets – have modeled life lessons worthy of emulation and internalization.
After every program, Authors on Stage donates the proceeds to the Wellesley College library. Since 1981, donations have exceeded $200,000, thanks to our loyal audiences of local residents and alumnae. Because of the current pandemic, our Spring 2021 Authors on Stage program will be online ($10).
Under normal circumstances, programs take place at the Wellesley College Club, with coffee starting at 9:45 a.m. and the program at 10:30. Admission is $27. After the program, the authors autograph copies of their books—available for purchase at a discount. Stay for lunch for $16 (including tax and tip). Several weeks before each program, the names of the books and authors are published on this WCAB website and in the invitations sent to our mailing list. (To join the mailing list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Clockwise from upper left: Moderator Lia Hunt Zylstra, Helen Fremont, Emily Nemens, Maggie Doherty
Our authors' memories
“I’m sending the best of good wishes for your 40th anniversary celebration, and my profound thanks on behalf of this writer and the others who are lucky enough to be part of your program. You are such a gift to us all!”—Reeve Lindbergh (2008, Forward from Here: Leaving Middle Age & Other Unexpected Adventures)
“If a writer were to dream up the perfect audience, it would be the kind found at Authors on Stage: packed room, attentive readers, smart questions, and even (the icing on the cake) interest in actually buying a few books!”—Anne Fadiman (2017, The Wine Lover’s Daughter: A Memoir)
“The atmosphere at Authors on Stage is so warm and congenial. I remember the buzz and the bubbling good humor.”—Sebastian Smee (2016, The Art of Rivalry)
“Congratulations on the 40th anniversary. I look forward to reading about the other authors.”— Judith Martin (1983, Miss Manner’s Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior; 2007, No Vulgar Hotel: The Desire and Pursuit of Venice)
You too can read the other authors’ memories: click here.
These are the Wellesley alumnae who bring you Authors on Stage. If you think you might like to join us, contact email@example.com.
Mary Baughman - Co-Chair, WCAB Liaison, Publicity
Jean Canellos - Arrangements
Kathleen (Kathie) Clay - Reservations
Jane Gavis - Book Sales
Karen Gaylin - Labels
Anne Harper - Member at Large
Janice Hunt - Member at Large
Lia Hunt-Zylstra - Moderator, Authors
Suzanne Kreinsen - Co-Chair, WCAB Liaison, Authors
Mary Landergan - Authors
Leigh Maccini - Member at Large
Faith Parker - Book Sales
Alison Randall - Member at Large
Toby Schwartzman - Treasurer, Book Sales
Blythe Sterling - Program Brochure and Mailing
Diane Triant - Mailing Lists
Elaine Ward - Publicity
Gina Wickwire - Authors
Jennifer Zannetos - Reservations
A Brief History
by Diane Speare Triant ‘68
From its opening program in 1981, “Authors on Stage” has kept book lovers filling the reservations mailbox and buying first-edition volumes. The popular benefit has showcased more than 200 writers, ranging from best-selling celebrities like Stephen King to Boston art critic Sebastian Smee to award-winning writers like Ian Frazier and Megan Marshall.
One of the founders of Authors on Stage, Wellesley College alumna Janice Hunt '52, frequently reiterates the committee’s credo: “At each program, we try to feature one author you do know, one author you should know, and one author you will know.” In 1980, Hunt assembled a small group of Wellesley alumnae with the idea of carrying on the tradition of the popular but recently defunct Hathaway House Book Series, moderated by Robert Hale.
As manager of Hathaway House Bookstore (now Stuart Swan Furniture) in Wellesley Square, Hale was a well-known literary figure with a large following. He agreed to continue moderating the program for Authors on Stage, bringing current writers of quality and note to Wellesley to speak about their recently published works and enabling audiences to buy them at a discount with personalized autographs. In 2000, Lia Hunt Zylstra, the daughter of the program’s founder, became moderator of the event.
Through the decades, town-gown audiences have seen selected Authors on Stage works rocket to prominence: The late Roger Fisher’s Getting to Yes has become a standard in the MBA curriculum; Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River, adapted to film, earned a “best picture” Oscar nomination; and Julia Glass’ Three Junes won the National Book Award.
The three presenters at each program have shared numerous insights on the writing life and the writing craft. Pulitzer-Prize finalist and Wellesley native Adam Haslett—who wrote a draft of his collection You are Not a Stranger Here in Clapp Library—explained his partiality to the short-story form: “You can have an entire experience of a life captured in a single reading,” he said. “You can raise the stakes quickly and put in great emotional force which would not come out in a novel until the end.”
Such rich literary talk will doubtless keep the Authors on Stage faithful returning to the College Club for many years to come.
To receive an invitation to each program, with information about the authors and books and a reservation form, join our email list: firstname.lastname@example.org.