“Evening with an Author” at the Susi Q will feature novelist Michelle Huneven on June 3

The Susi Q will continue its popular “Evening with an Author” series on Monday, June 3; this time featuring critically acclaimed award-winning author Michelle Huneven.

Huneven is the author of five novels, most recently Search, which the New York Times Book Review called “a wicked pleasure” and which was also selected as an NPR Best Book of the Year. Search is described as a sharp and funny novel of a congregational search committee, told as a memoir with recipes.

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Photos courtesy of Susi Q

Michelle Huneven discusses her new novel on June 3

Huneven will be in conversation with podcaster and arts columnist Marrie Stone. The program runs from 5:15-7:30 p.m. and includes light appetizers, beverages and book signings. Attendees will receive a copy of the book. Cost is $40. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.

To register, visit www.thesusiq.org.

Susi Q recently chatted with moderator Stone about the upcoming event. She is uniquely qualified for events of this kind. Stone has conducted more than 700 author interviews over 17 years hosting the “Writers on Writing” radio-show-turned-podcast, including literary giants such as George Saunders and Elizabeth Strout. She’s also moderated many a literary panel.

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“Search” is Huneven’s fifth novel

“It’s the best job,” Stone said. “And now I often record the podcast from home, in my closet [for sound quality reasons], often in my pajamas. But it’s also lovely to chat in person in front of a live audience of enthusiastic readers at the Susi Q.”

Though not, she added, in her pajamas…

SQ: Why is Michelle Huneven a good choice for the “Evening with an Author” series?

Stone: This season, we focused on bringing authors across genres and perspectives to represent as much diversity of subject matter as possible. We typically try to bring a bit of fun buoyancy to our summer event, and Michelle proved the perfect fit. She’s funny, she’s a little irreverent and her writings about food will make people salivate. Even readers who come from an utterly secular background (as I do) will relate to these characters and enjoy Michelle’s humor.

SQ: Do you have a favorite among her novels?

Stone: I first interviewed Michelle back in 2009 for her novel Blame, a book that explored alcoholism and its consequences, as well as moral ambiguity (which I always love talking about).

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(L-R) Author Lisa See with Marrie Stone at the last “Evening with an Author”

SQ: Can you share a couple of topics you plan to raise in conversation with her?

Stone: We haven’t yet explored the role of the church in modern America, and I think there’s some rich ground to cover in that conversation. Michelle will do that with an accessible, light and humorous touch. What does faith mean these days? What role does the church play in our contemporary culture and how does that role differ between generations? It will also be fun to talk about Michelle’s career as a food critic and how that informed so much of this book.

SQ: This is the fifth “Evening with an Author” at the Susi Q. They usually sell out. Why do you think they are so popular?

Stone: I think people are hungry for live book events, hungry for the opportunity to hear authors in person and hungry for community. We also make a special effort to bring authors to Laguna Beach that don’t often (or ever) appear here. They are big names for our small pond, and the Susi Q provides such an intimate and informal setting to commune with them.

SQ: Thanks so much, Marrie. See you at the Susi Q on June 3!

Huneven’s first two books, Round Rock (Knopf 1997) and Jamesland (Knopf 2003), were both New York Times notable books and also finalists for the L.A. Times Book Award. Her third, Blame, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and also a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award. Her fourth novel, Off Course, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice.

Huneven is currently teaching creative writing to undergraduates at UCLA, working on her next novel and writing the occasional article about food.

For “Evening with an Author, register here.

Visit www.thesusiq.org to review the many ongoing programs that Susi Q offers, from ukulele lessons, to standing yoga, to bridge and mahjong classes, not to mention support groups and clubs for special interest groups ranging from genealogy to current affairs to books and so much more. The Susi Q’s Care Management Department (now the Dorene Cares Office) provides free consultation, education and practical resources for vulnerable seniors, enabling them to stay safe, informed and independent.

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