There was a record turnout for the Shelter Island Public Library’s Book and Author Luncheon on Saturday, June 22, with avid fans of novelist Adriana Trigiani swelling the ranks of the Library’s traditional supporters.
Television journalist Willie Geist engaged the author, whom he described as “the single most magnetic human being I’ve ever met,” in a conversation about her writing process and stories about her childhood in a big Italian family in Appalachia. Not only magnetic, but kinetic, Ms. Trigiani rarely sat still for long as she regaled the audience with tales ranging from her choreographing an ice-skating themed wedding to her penchant for attending strangers’ weddings and funerals.
A lifelong bookworm, Ms. Trigiani traced her love of reading from her days waiting for the Bookmobile in Great Stone Gap, Virginia. Her mother was a librarian, she said, expressing a deep appreciation for the role that libraries play in the community as well as the importance of educators. “I don’t understand why in this country, with its massive wealth,” she said, “we do not pay our teachers enough.”
The bestselling author has published a novel every year since 2000, with 18 works of fiction and non-fiction in all. She is also a television writer, film director and entrepreneur based in New York City. She is co-founder of The Origin Project, an in-school writing program that serves over a thousand students in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. Described by The New York Times as “a comedy writer with a heart of gold,” she is the award-winning director of the documentary film, “Queens of the Big Time.”
In addition to moderator Willie Geist and his wife, Christina, the Geist family was well represented at the event, with Jody Geist, a Library trustee, and her husband, author and journalist Bill Geist, in attendance. Willie Geist’s daughter Lucie, 12, and son George, 9, sold raffle chances and Lucie announced the winners.
According to Library Board Chairman Dave Roggie, the luncheon at Gardiner’s Bay Country Club was the best attended since the fundraisers began in 1992. Library Director Terry Lucas counted 135 attendees.