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  • WRITERS IN THE LOFT presents award-winning author Liza Wieland

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    June 30, 2019

    WRITERS IN THE LOFT presents


    Award-winning author

    Liza Wieland

    with her new novel

    PARIS, 7 A.M.


    Wednesday, July 17, 7pm


    “Wieland is a vital voice in contemporary American fiction.”
    Colum McCann, author of the National Book Award-winning 
    Let the Great World Spin


    “Striking imagery and sharp, distinctive language...[Wieland’s] dreamlike juxtapositions of the searing and the sensual probe the artistic process, the power of the mother-daughter bond, and the creative 
    coming-of-age of one of America’s greatest poets.”

    Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)


    “With this exquisite novel, Wieland offers a beautifully realized tribute...The novel exhibit[s] its own kind of poetry as it brings its subject's deeply humane, inquisitive, and intelligent sensibility compellingly to life. A triumph.”
    Library Journal (Starred Review)


    Portsmouth, NH, June 30, 2019 - On Wednesday, July 17, award-winning author Liza Wieland visits The Music Hall Loft with her new novel PARIS, 7 A.M., a sweeping and stunning imagining of what happened to the poet Elizabeth Bishop during the weeks she spent in Paris amidst the imminent threat of World War II.

    The 7pm event includes an author presentation and Q+A, plus a book signing and meet-and-greet. It will be held at The Music Hall Loft at 131 Congress Street, in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire.


    “It’s always a delight to welcome authors who fill the missing pieces of history with their own vivid storytelling,” said Patricia Lynch, Executive Producer and the night’s moderator. “I can’t wait to discuss the real and imagined life of the fascinating poet Elizabeth Bishop with Liza, herself an enchantress with words.”


    June 1937. Elizabeth Bishop, still a young woman and not yet one of the most influential poets of the twentieth century, arrives in France with her college roommates. They are in search of an escape, and inspiration, far from the protective world of Vassar College where they were expected to find an impressive husband, a quiet life, and act accordingly. But the world is changing. As they explore the City of Light, the larger threats of fascism and Nazi occupation are looming. There, they meet a community of upper-crust expatriates who not only bring them along on a life-changing adventure but also into an underground world of rebellion that will quietly alter the course of Elizabeth’s life forever.


    PARIS, 7 A.M. imagines 1937—the only year Elizabeth, a meticulous keeper of journals, didn’t fully chronicle—in vivid detail. It brings us from Paris to Normandy, where Elizabeth becomes involved with a group rescuing Jewish “orphans” and delivering them to convents—where they will be baptized as Catholics and saved from the impending horror their parents will face. 


    Poignant and captivating, the novel is a beautifully rendered take on the formative years of one of America’s most celebrated—and mythologized—female poets.



    Liza Wieland is the author of seven works of fiction and a volume of poems. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, and the North Carolina Arts Council. She is the 2017 winner of the Robert Penn Warren Prize from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Her novel, A Watch of Nightingales, won the 2008 Michigan Literary Fiction Award, and Land of Enchantment was a longlist finalist for the 2016 Chautauqua Prize. She teaches at East Carolina University.



    The ticket package for Writers in the Loft: Liza Wieland with PARIS, 7 A.M. on Wednesday, July 17, at 7pm is $41. In addition to a reserved seat, the package includes a copy of PARIS, 7 A.M. ($26.99, hardcover), a bar beverage, author 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. 


    For further information, or to request an author interview, please contact: Patricia Lynch, Executive Producer, at plynch@themusichall.org or Brittany Wason, Literary Coordinator, at bwason@themusichall.org 


    For images, please see: https://goo.gl/photos/UENT8hSiMjZnrTWt5


    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, Q+A, a copy of the book, and a meet-and-greet book signing with the featured writer.


    Series Sponsor:  RMC Research Corporation

    Season Sponsors:  Carey & Giampa Realtors; Portwalk Place; The River House restaurant

    Contributing Partner:  The University of New Hampshire



    One of O the Oprah Magazine’s Best LGTBQ Books of 2019 


    “Wieland’s prose is simultaneously poetic and sparse, much like Bishop’s poems...In college, Bishop contemplated what it meant to keep her ‘eyes open’ and attain a deeper vision that could reorder pieces of the past and present into coherence, like a cubist painting or modernist collage, a feat she achieved in writing. Wieland’s rendition of Bishop’s life aptly and beautifully mirrors that process.”—Booklist


    "Fitting for the poet at this story's heart, Wieland's fifth novel, which follows Elizabeth Bishop as she navigates the City of Lights in the lead up to World War II, is an achingly introspective marvel."—O The Oprah Magazine


    ?“Inspired by a missing period in poet Elizabeth Bishop's journals, Wieland imagines her adventures in France on the brink of World War II...Finely written...Wieland creates an unsettled, dread-soaked atmosphere appropriate to the period.”—Kirkus


    “The life of extraordinary poet Elizabeth Bishop is a more than challenging subject for fiction, but Liza Wieland, in this rendering, captures a sensibility that is believable as Bishop’s, complete with its sometimes acerbic lucidity, its wit, and crystalline precision of mind. PARIS, 7 a.m. stands with works like Colm Tóibín’s The Master in its startlingly credible rendition of the inner life of a great artist of our time.”—Madison Smartt Bell, author of Master of the Crossroads and Devil’s Dream


    "PARIS, 7 A.M weaves historical facts, biographical speculation, and the plaintive, teasingly playful elements of poems written by one of America’s most beloved 20th-century poets, Elizabeth Bishop—and it is nothing short of wizardry. I am romanced by this story, half true, half re-imagined, about the queer women bohemians of pre-World War II, who dared to resist, create and salvage in the midst of virulent fascism. I love these heroes, as much as I love the true poetry of this daring novel."—Kathy Fagan, author of Sycamore


    “Meticulously researched and crisply imagined, biography, history, and poetry come together in this elegant, literary-but-not-too-literary spellbinder. Nothing is left out—Bishop’s love life, her alcoholism, her extraordinarily intense flashbacks from childhood, even her asthma—all are brought to life as Europe descends into war. A masterwork.”—Michael White, author of Travels in Vermeer


    “Wieland is a vital voice in contemporary American fiction.”—Colum McCann, author of the National Book Award-winning Let the Great World Spin


    “Striking imagery and sharp, distinctive language shimmer in Wieland’s haunting fifth novel, which imagines American poet Elizabeth Bishop as a young woman...[Wieland’s] dreamlike juxtapositions of the searing and the sensual probe the artistic process, the power of the mother-daughter bond, and the creative coming-of-age of one of America’s greatest poets.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)


    “With this exquisite novel, Wieland offers a beautifully realized tribute to distinguished American poet Elizabeth Bishop...The novel exhibit[s] its own kind of poetry as it brings its subject's deeply humane, inquisitive, and intelligent sensibility compellingly to life. A triumph.”—Library Journal (Starred Review)

    About The Music Hall

    The Music Hall is an active and vital cultural center in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, dedicated to the advancement of the tri-state region’s cultural life through the performing arts, literature, and education. A community-supported 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, it presents entertainment from around the world and around the corner—the greatest musicians, writers, and performers of the time, extraordinary films, and award-winning documentaries. Its 600 yearly events delight an annual audience of 130,000 (including 20,000 children) in two theaters—an 1878 Victorian-era Historic Theater and the modern and intimate Loft space. The Music Hall was recently named Editors’ Choice “Best All-Around Entertainment” by Yankee Magazine and is a designated “American Treasure for the Arts.” Through innovative community partnerships, it subsidizes thousands of tickets each year to make the arts accessible to all. The Music Hall is community-oriented and committed to helping the Seacoast region flourish. 


    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

    Brittany Wason
    (603) 436-2400