The Library Book

Susan Orlean
In conversation with Attica Locke
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Episode Summary

Join us for a special program on the 25th anniversary of the reopening of the Los Angeles Central Library that brings home the inspiring story of how Central Library rose from the ashes after the catastrophic fire of April 29, 1986. In a new book by New Yorker staff writer and author of seven books, including Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief, Susan Orlean offers a profoundly moving cultural history of the Los Angeles Public Library and its critical civic role since its inception in 1872. Reexamining the unsolved mystery of the biggest library fire in American history that destroyed or damaged more than one million books, Orlean investigates if someone purposefully set fire to the Library—and if so, who? Through this behind-the-scenes look at the Los Angeles Public Library system, Orlean weaves her life-long love of books and reading with the fascinating legacy of libraries across the world. In a conversation with author and Library Foundation Board Member Attica Locke and a surprise librarian guest, Orleans shares from The Library Book—a testament to the importance of all libraries and an homage to a beloved institution that remains a vital part of the heart, mind, and soul of our community today.

Participant(s) Bio

Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. She is the author of seven books, including Rin Tin TinSaturday Night, and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award–winning film Adaptation. She lives with her family and her animals in upstate New York.

Attica Locke’s latest novel Bluebird, Bluebird won the Edgar Award for best novel, and was named as a Best of 2017 book by the New York Times. Her other works include the novels Pleasantville, winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction; Black Water Rising, which was nominated for an Edgar Award; and The Cutting Season, a national bestseller and the winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. A former fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmaker’s Lab, Locke has worked as a screenwriter as well.  Most recently, she was a writer and producer on the Fox drama, Empire, and worked with Ava Duvernay on the Netflix project Central Park Five. She is currently developing Bluebird, Bluebird into a TV series with FX. She serves on the board of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.