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  • Writers In The Loft Presents: Claire Messud with her new novel The Burning Girl

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    August 21, 2017
    WRITERS IN THE LOFT presents
    The bestselling author of The Emperor’s Children and The Woman Upstairs
    with her new novel
    Profiled 8/13 in the New York Times Magazine as "one of our foremost chroniclers of women's hidden appetites"
    Tuesday, September 12, at 7 pm
    “Messed … [has] an unassuming demeanor that only hints at the remarkable intelligence, wit and depth of her writing.” The New York Times Magazine
    “Spectacular!” Glamour
    “Messud shines a tender gaze on her protagonists and sustains an elegiac tone as she conveys the volatile emotions of adolescent behavior and the dawning of female vulnerability. . . . emotionally gripping.” Publishers Weekly
    “...emotionally intense and quietly haunting.”
    Kirkus Reviews, starred review
    “Messud’s prose grabs the reader by the collar.”
    New York Times Book Review
    Ticket package includes book, bar beverage, author presentation, Q+A and
    author meet-and-greet/signing

    Portsmouth, New Hampshire, August 21, 2017 - The Music Hall’s Writers in the Loft series welcomes to the stage New York Times bestselling author of The Emperor’s Children and The Woman Upstairs, Claire Messud, on Tuesday, September 12. She will discuss her latest work, THE BURNING GIRL, most recently heralded in the NY Times magazine (8/13) - a piercing story of adolescence and identity told through a friendship between two girls.
    The 7pm event includes an author presentation and moderated Q+A, plus book signing and a meet-and-greet. It will be held at the Music Hall Loft at 131 Congress Street, in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

    “Claire Messud’s remarkable work The Emperor’s Children launched her to literary success, and she just keeps going. The Woman Upstairs, a  haunting look at one seemingly successful life, is an all-time favorite among my friends. I can’t wait to read THE BURNING GIRL, a coming-of-age novel about childhood friendships and what it means to really know someone,”  said Margaret Talcott, Producer of Writers in the Loft and the evening’s moderator.  

    “I think all of us can relate to Claire’s message about the complications of friendship and of being a woman today. As do others, I compare her to Elena Ferrante, yet with her own unique voice I am so excited that she will be joining us in the Loft,” added Talcott.  

    Julia and Cassie have very different family lives: Julia’s parents are married, calm, and stable, whereas Cassie is raised by a single mother. Even so, they’ve been friends since nursery school, sharing everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts.
    But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge. Julia, supported by her parents, aspires to become an actress and embraces opportunities at their school, while Cassie focuses her energy on clothes and parties, even dating Julia’s longtime crush. Rumors of Cassie’s sexual escapades reach Julia, who cannot parse which stories are true, though she chooses to believe Cassie’s denials even when no one else does. When Cassie takes off in search of her real father, Julia realizes that she is the only person who can rescue her friend. But Julia’s great act of devotion is, to Cassie, the deepest treachery.
    In THE BURNING GIRL, Claire Messud skillfully and masterfully mixes fable and coming-of-age tale to create a novel that resonates with universal truth; a story about how we are forged by the magic of our earliest relationships, and how we are honed by their unfathomable loss. This hypnotic coming-of-age story raises the big question: To what extent can we know ourselves and others?
    Claire Messud is a recipient of Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The author of five previous works of fiction including her most recent novel, The Woman Upstairs. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her family.
    The ticket package for Writers in the Loft: Claire Messud  on Tuesday, September 12, at 7 pm, is $40 ($38 members). In addition to a reserved seat, the package includes a copy of THE BURNING GIRL ($25.95 hardcover), a bar beverage, author presentation, Q+A, and book signing meet-and-greet.  Packages can be purchased online at TheMusicHall.org, over the phone at 603.436.2400 or in person at the B2W Box Office at the Historic Theater, 28 Chestnut Street.
    About Writers in the Loft
    Akin to The Music Hall’s anchor literary series, Writers on a New England Stage, Writers in the Loft features bestselling authors in a smaller, more intimate space. The series brings audiences today’s top authors, the best of fiction and nonfiction, and award-winners across categories. The evening package includes a reserved seat and bar beverage, author presentation and Q+A, a copy of the book, and a meet-and-greet book signing with the featured writer.
    Series Sponsors:  RMC Research Corporation
    Contributing Partner:  The University of New Hampshire
    Season Sponsors:  Carey & Giampa Realtors;  Portwalk Place; The River House restaurant
    About The Music Hall
    The Music Hall is a performing arts center featuring curated entertainment from around the world in two theaters in its downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire campus - one, a landmark 1878 Victorian theater, designated an American Treasure for the Arts by the National Park Service’s Save America's Treasures Program, the other the intimate Music Hall Loft around the corner, recently named "best performing arts venue" by Yankee Magazine and the recipient of the NH AIA award for design excellence.
    Web: www.TheMusicHall.org | Twitter: @MusicHall | Facebook: /musichall | YouTube: /musichallnh
    “The crown jewel of Portsmouth’s cultural scene”- Yankee Magazine

    “The beating cultural heart of New Hampshire's seacoast” - Boston Globe
    For more information, contact:
    Margaret Talcott, Producer
    The Music Hall                                                                            
    or Patricia Lynch, Executive Producer
    “Messud writes about happiness, and about infatuation—about love—more convincingly than any author I’ve encountered in years.”Lionel Shriver, NPR
    “Adept at evoking complex psychological territory.” Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker
    “Messud’s prose grabs the reader by the collar.” Liesl Schillinger, New York Times Book Review
    “If you love when a favorite writer risks new narrative ground, Claire Messud nails it.” —Elle Magazine
    “Spectacular!” —Glamour
    “With characteristically lucid prose, Messud perfectly captures the agonizing social insecurities of middle school. . . . [B]y the novel’s closing pages it packs an emotional wallop. Emotionally intense and quietly haunting.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review
    “Messud shines a tender gaze on her protagonists and sustains an elegiac tone as she conveys the volatile emotions of adolescent behavior and the dawning of female vulnerability. . . . [T]his novel is haunting and emotionally gripping.” Publishers Weekly
    “Messud’s entrancing, gorgeously incisive coming-of-age drama astutely tracks the sharpening perceptions of an exceptionally eloquent young woman navigating heartbreak and regret and realizing that one can never fathom ‘the wild, unknowable interior lives’ of others, not even someone you love.”Booklist, starred review
    “Messed … [has] an unassuming demeanor that only hints at the remarkable intelligence, wit and depth of her writing.”The New York Times Magazine

    “[Messud] displays uncommon skill in depicting the conflicting interests and emotions of the tween years. . . . [T]he narrative has broad appeal for teens and adults alike.”Library Journal
    Margaret Talcott, Producer