Our Events Winter/Spring 2021
The Library is open, and events continue online. Click on any event title for more details and to register where required.
All events are open to the public unless otherwise listed.
New events are added throughout the season. Join our mailing list to hear about it first (open to all).
Exhibitions | Special Events | SUMMER WATCH PARTIES | Performances | Lectures & Panels | Poetry | Seminars & Reading Groups | The Writing Life | Technology | Children's & Young Adult Events | Informal & Informational Gatherings
Black Literature Matters
April 28, 2021 - May 1, 2022
In a consequential moment in American history, the New York Society Library presents a not-to-be-missed exhibition of its remarkable collection of books by African American, Caribbean, and African writers. The exhibition is open to the public in limited numbers during the Library's open hours.
Summer Watch Parties 2021
It's the streaming premiere of our winter/spring events! Just drop in to our YouTube channel on any of these dates at noon Eastern time and look for the premiere. Each video will be available for free streaming anytime after that date.
- Friday, July 16 - Casey Cep, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee (originally February 8): Furious Hours brings to life a shocking historic case, from the murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. It also offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country’s most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity.
- Monday, July 19 - Russell Shorto, Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob (originally February 18): Family secrets emerge as the bestselling author of The Island at the Center of the World dives into the history of the mob in small-town America.
- Friday, July 23 - Salamishah Tillet, In Search of The Color Purple: The Story of an American Masterpiece, in conversation with Marsha Norman (originally February 24): Mixing cultural criticism, literary history, biography, and memoir, scholar and New York Times writer Salamishah Tillet explores Alice Walker’s critically acclaimed and controversial novel The Color Purple, in conversation with playwright Marsha Norman, who adapted it for Broadway.
- Friday, July 30 - Ian W. Toll, Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945 (originally March 4): The final volume of the magisterial Pacific War Trilogy from acclaimed historian Ian W. Toll, “one of the great storytellers of War” (Evan Thomas). Drawing from a wealth of rich archival sources and new material, Twilight of the Gods casts a penetrating light on the battles, grand strategic decisions and naval logistics that enabled the Allied victory in the Pacific.
- Monday, August 2 - Janice P. Nimura, The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine (originally March 10): This richly researched new biography celebrates two complicated pioneers who exploded the limits of possibility for women in medicine. "Nimura casts a thoughtful and revelatory new light onto women’s and medical history." (Publishers Weekly)
- Friday, August 6 - Victoria Shorr, The Plum Trees (originally March 15): From the author of Midnight, a poignant tale about one woman’s quest to recover her family’s history, and a story of loss and survival during the Holocaust.
- Monday, August 9 - Laurence Bergreen, In Search of a Kingdom: Francis Drake, Elizabeth I, and the Perilous Birth of the British Empire (originally April 19): In this grand and thrilling narrative, the acclaimed biographer of Magellan, Columbus, and Marco Polo brings alive the singular life and adventures of Sir Francis Drake, the pirate/explorer/admiral whose mastery of the seas during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I changed the course of history.
- Friday, August 13 - Edward Hirsch, 100 Poems to Break Your Heart, with dramatic readers (originally April 21): Edward Hirsch's new book presents 100 of the most moving and inspiring poems of the last 200 years from around the world, a collection that will comfort and enthrall anyone trapped by grief or loneliness, selected by the award-winning, best-selling, and beloved author of How to Read a Poem. In this special event, Dr. Hirsch introduces the poems and their creators, with moving readings by actors R.J. Foster and Sarah Rose Kearns.
- Friday, August 20 - Melissa J. Homestead, The Only Wonderful Things: The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather & Edith Lewis (originally May 4): What would Willa Cather's widely read and cherished novels have looked like if she had never met magazine editor and copywriter Edith Lewis? A groundbreaking new look at the American novelist's creative process.
- Monday, August 23 - Kirstin Valdez Quade, The Five Wounds: A Novel, in conversation with Meg Wolitzer (originally June 3): From an award-winning storyteller comes a stunning debut novel about a New Mexican family’s extraordinary year of love and sacrifice. In this special event, Ms. Quade talks about The Five Wounds and the art of fiction writing with award-winning novelist Meg Wolitzer.
- Friday, August 27 - Hayden Herrera, Upper Bohemia: A Memoir (originally June 24): A poignant coming-of-age memoir by the daughter of artistic, bohemian parents—set against a backdrop of 1950s New York, Cape Cod, and Mexico.
Seminars and Reading Groups
Seminar: "What's with This Trojan War Anyway?" with Jane Mallison
Thursdays June 17, July 1, July 15, July 29, 11:00 AM
online | for members only | $60 for the four sessions | registration required
Archeologists place the Trojan War somewhere around 1200 B.C.E. How then to explain the fact that the last twenty years have witnessed an outpouring of books on this topic? In the context of the classic ancient texts, discussion covers contemporary reinterpretations from David Malouf to Ursula LeGuin to Daniel Mendelsohn.
The Writing Life
Writing Life Poetry Workshop: Let's Write Our Summer Down with Esther Cohen
Thursdays July 1, July 22, August 12, 2:00 PM
online | open to the public; free for members | separate sessions | registration required
We will write about love and write about living and everything in between in this summer writing workshop.
Zoom | for all ages | no registration required
Join us on Zoom for a live face-to-face storytime.
YouTube | for all ages | no registration required
Informal and Informational Gatherings
Member Orientation Videos
Videos introducing the Library's collections, services, and online resources are now available on the website.
Fridays, 3:00 PM to 3:30 PM
online | for members only | free of charge | drop in
Grab your favorite cup and your current read and spend a little time in social sipping and book-friendly chat with your fellow members.
The Black Literature Matters exhibition is generously supported by The Florence Gould Foundation. Photograph of Langston Hughes Copyright © Van Vechten Trust; Gravure and Compilation copyright © Eakins Press Foundation.
The Writing Life events in 2021 are generously underwritten by Jenny Lawrence.
Children's events are generously supported by the Richard Peck Fund.
(Sidebar image: Mary Schmidt Campbell spoke on An American Odyssey, her biography of Romare Bearden, in April 2021.)