Thursday, March 18, 2010

April 20: Allan Appel and Jake Halpern

Allan Appel's most recent book is The Hebrew Tutor of Bel Air (2009). A novelist, poet, and playwright who was born in Chicago in 1946, Allan's books include Club Revelation, High Holiday Sutra (winner of a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award) and The Rabbi of Casino Boulevard, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. His writing has appeared in The National Jewish Monthly, The Progressive, and National Lampoon, and his plays have been produced in New York, Chicago, New Haven, and Provincetown. He has published six novels, a biography, two collections of poetry, a book on botany, and A Portable Apocalypse, a handy anthology of erudite and humorous quotations about the end of the world. Among his plays, Dear Heartsey, a staged adaptation of the letters of a colonial New Yorker, Abigail Franks, was commissioned by the American Jewish Historical Society, and presented, starring Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach, at New York's Jewish Museum, at Queens College, City University of New York, and at Yale. In 2003, Flight, a play about the perils of patriotism, was presented in a staged reading by the New England Academy of Theatre in New Haven.

Jake Halpern is an author, journalist, and radio producer. His first book, Braving Home (2003), was a main selection for the Book of the Month Club by Bill Bryson and was a Library Journal “Book of the Year.” His next book, Fame Junkies (2007), was the basis for an original series on NPR's All Things Considered and portions of the book were published in both the New Yorker and Entertainment Weekly. His first work of fiction, a fantasy novel entitled Dormia (2009), has been hailed by the American Library Association as the next Harry Potter. As a journalist, Jake has written for a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, and Outside. In the realm of radio, Jake is a contributor to NPR's All Things Considered and This American Life. Last, but not least, he is a fellow of Morse College at Yale University, where he teaches a class on journalism. His website is