Annual Luncheon with the Authors Goes Virtual to Benefit the Allentown Art Museum

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Featured Image: Ann Napolitano, Dani Shapiro(Photo Credit Michael Maren), Therese Ann Fowler

The Society of the Arts (SOTA) is proud to present its 8th annual Luncheon With The Authors benefiting the Allentown Art Museum and featuring three nationally acclaimed authors. Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s event, which takes place at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 8th, 2020, will have an exciting twist: the book discussion and audience Q & A will take place over a secure online platform. Guests can enjoy a lively panel discussion with the three authors – moderated by PBS39 News Tonight reporter and multi-media journalist, K.C. Lopez – all from the comfort of their own home.  The 2020 books and authors selected for the luncheon are:

A Good Neighborhood

by Therese Ann Fowler

A Good Neighborhood is a timely story of two households in the tight-knit neighborhood of Oak Knoll, North Carolina.  Valerie, a college professor, single mother, and soon to be empty nester, is raising her college bound biracial son. All is well until the Whitmans, a family with new money, ambition, and a troubled teenaged daughter, move in next door. Told from multiple points of view, Fowler’s story asks big questions about life in America today as it explores the effects of class, race, and star-crossed love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.

Dear Edward

by Ann Napolitano

One summer, twelve-year-old Edward, his older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight to Los Angeles. Tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor. His story captures the attention of the nation as he struggles to live in a world without his family, feeling that a piece of him has been lost, forever tied to the plane and his fellow passengers. Inspired by a true story of incredible survival, Dear Edward is a transcendent coming-of-age story, a portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

by Dani Shapiro

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her beloved deceased father was not her biological father. Inheritance is about a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story hidden from her for more than fifty years. Shapiro’s memoir unfolds at a breakneck pace—part mystery, part investigation, part rumination on the ineffable combination of memory, history, biology, and experience that makes us who we are. Inheritance is a haunting interrogation of the meaning of kinship and identity.

“SOTA’s Luncheon With The Authors has been a fantastic community experience for the past 8 years,” said Val Johnson, President of SOTA, “so the decision to continue this beloved event– seamlessly transitioning it to a secure virtual platform– was an easy one.”

“The arts are an important way of bringing us together in a time of uncertainty,” continued Johnson. “Now more than ever, people are interested in finding these human connections, escaping through great works of literature, and supporting our critical arts institutions, like the Allentown Art Museum which has been a beacon of hope for our community. This event combines all three – and all from the comfort and safety of your own home. It’s a win-win!”

SOTA Luncheon With The Authors Committee members spent months reading more than a dozen books before deciding on these three selections. The group began the reading process back in January and chose the authors based not just on their story telling abilities, which was a main priority, but also on how the stories in these books could spark lively, insightful conversation.

Proceeds from the SOTA’s virtual Luncheon With The Authors will benefit Allentown Art Museum educational programs, the SOTA Educational Endowment, and the SOTA Print Fund. Tickets start at $40 and can be purchased along with the books at

About Society of the Arts (SOTA): Founded in 1964, SOTA is a non-profit service organization whose purpose is to work with and actively support the Allentown Art Museum.

Information provided to TVL by:
Cecily Traynor
Society of the Arts (SOTA)