IN-PERSON: Steven Rowley with Kerri Maher

Steven Rowley, the bestselling and beloved author of THE GUNCLE, joins us to introduce his new novel, THE CELEBRANTS. Told with Steven’s signature warmth and humor, THE CELEBRANTS is a BIG CHILL for our times, celebrating decades-long friendships and promises made (especially to ourselves). Steven will be in conversation with Kerri Maher, USA Today bestselling author of THE PARIS BOOKSELLER. 

It’s been a minute—or five years—since Jordan Vargas last saw his college friends, and twenty-eight years since their graduation when their adult lives officially began. Now Jordan, Jordy, Naomi, Craig, and Marielle find themselves at the brink of a new decade, with all the responsibilities of adulthood, yet no closer to having their lives figured out. That’s not for a lack of trying. Over the years they’ve reunited in Big Sur to honor a decades-old pact to throw each other living “funerals,” celebrations to remind themselves that life is worth living—and living well. But this reunion is different. They’re not gathered as they were to bolster Marielle as her marriage crumbled, to lift Naomi after her parents died, or to intervene when Craig pleaded guilty to art fraud. This time, Jordan is sitting on a secret that will upend their pact. Full of Steven Rowley’s signature humor and heart, THE CELEBRANTS is a moving tale about the false invincibility of youth, and the beautiful ways in which friendship helps us celebrate our lives, even amid the deepest challenges of living.

THE CELEBRANTS was inspired in part by Rowley’s re-watching of Lawrence Kasdan's classic 1983 film The Big Chill early in the pandemic. “Like in the movie, I have a group of close friends from college, whom I’ve known now for more than half my life. It’s a unique experience having friends who met you as an idealistic young person and who you remain close to for your entire adult life – they understand you in a way no one else can, even more so than family in many regards. I wanted to honor these relationships by writing about a group of similar friends who have stuck by one another and also explore where these bonds could go next. Additionally, two recent events for me have been formative: I turned fifty, and I lost one of my closest friends to breast cancer. Losing a contemporary, especially in middle age, forces you to really confront your own mortality. There is something unique about friend grief that is not written about nearly enough – especially at this point in our lives. If the last few years have underscored anything, it's that time is not guaranteed. Instead of wallowing in that reality, I wanted to celebrate it. To embrace the many beautiful people in my life and tell them exactly what they mean to me. Just as the characters do here, begrudgingly sometimes, but with unconditional love, a lot of laughter and wide open hearts.”  

Steven Rowley is the bestselling author of four novels including Lily and the Octopus, a Washington Post Notable Book of 2016; The Editor, an NPR Best Book of 2019; and The Guncle, finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor and Goodreads finalist for Novel of the Year. His fiction has been translated in twenty languages. He resides in Palm Springs, California. 

Kerri Maher is the USA Today bestselling author of The Paris BooksellerThe Girl in White GlovesThe Kennedy Debutante, and, under the name Kerri Majors, This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and lives with her daughter and dog in a leafy suburb west of Boston, Massachusetts.

Saturday, June 10, 2023 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
111 South Street
Plainville, MA 02762
The Celebrants By Steven Rowley Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593540428
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - May 30th, 2023

The Guncle By Steven Rowley Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525542308
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - April 5th, 2022

The Editor By Steven Rowley Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525537984
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - June 30th, 2020

Lily and the Octopus By Steven Rowley Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501126239
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 30th, 2017

The Paris Bookseller By Kerri Maher Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593102190
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - December 6th, 2022