Fall Arts: Lineup of speakers confirms Pittsburgh as literary hub

| Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 4:45 p.m.

Chuck Kinder, former director of the creative-writing program at the University of Pittsburgh, once called our city “the Paris of Appalachia.”

This year's visiting authors and writers confirm the notion that Pittsburgh is a literary hub, with an impressive array of talent scheduled to come to town. The literary lineup includes best-selling authors, distinguished novelists, and noted nonfiction writers.

The season unofficially starts Sept. 23 with an appearance by Michael Moss as a guest of the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures' Monday Nights — Literary Evenings at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. Moss' “Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” is a look at the processed foods industry.

On Sept. 28, Cranberry-based writer JJ Hensley unveils his debut novel, “Resolve,” at Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont. Hensley is a former police officer and special agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

Ron Suskind, former national-affairs writer for the Wall Street Journal and a Pulitzer Prize winner, will appear at a fundraiser Sept. 26 for the Neighborhood Academy in Shadyside. Suskind's latest book is “A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League.”

Terry McMillan, the best-selling author of “Waiting to Exhale” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” appears Sept. 30 at the Byham Theater, Downtown. McMillan's appearance is being co-hosted by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. Her new novel is “Who Asked You?”

Mystery writer Sue Grafton, she of the alphabetically titled mysteries, appears Oct. 7 at Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland, as a guest of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. Grafton's new book is “W is for Wasted.”

British mystery writer John Lawton visits Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont on Oct. 17. His new novel, “Then We Take Berlin” is part of a series featuring a World War II orphan in England.

The Prague Writers Festival, hosted by Point Park University, Downtown, Oct. 18 and 19, will feature an appearance by renown novelist E.L. Doctorow. The slate of international writers also includes Anita Desai (India/U.S.), Hamdy Elgazzar (Egypt) and Eda Kriseova (Czech Republic).

Ian Frazier, author of the new novel “The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days,” will be hosted by Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures on Oct. 21 at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.

On Oct. 30, writer, humorist and essayist Bill Bryson will be the featured guest of Robert Morris University's Pittsburgh Speakers Series at Heinz Hall, Downtown. Bryson's books include “A Short History of Nearly Everything” and “A Walk in the Woods.”

David Nasaw, author of “The Patriarch: The Remarkable Times and Turbulent Life of Joseph P. Kennedy” and “Andrew Carnegie” (a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize), appears at Carnegie Music Hall on Nov. 4 as a guest of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures.

Also being hosted by Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures: Amy Tan on Nov. 25 at Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland. Tan, the author of “The Joy Luck Club” and “The Bonesetter's Daughter,” is releasing her first new novel in eight years, “The Valley of Amazement” in November.

Rege Behe is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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