NYT Bestselling Author, Susan Orlean, Talks Books, Writing and Her Love of Libraries

Contacts: Chris Boivin, (904) 255-6106

Cell: (904) 759-5643


Jeremy Yates, (904) 255-6111


Join the Lit Chat Author Interview and Writers Lab Workshop June 2-3 at the Main Library

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., May 22, 2023 - June 2-3, 2023, the New York Times bestselling author of The Orchid Thief and The Library Book, Susan Orlean, visits Jacksonville Public Library for two days of bookish excitement! On Friday evening, Orlean will be in conversation with local author Michael Wiley about her bestselling books and what it’s like to have your work and life adapted for the big screen! Saturday morning, Orlean returns to share her writing secrets with aspiring local authors! Both events take place in the Conference Center at the Main Library.

A special announcement about Jax Book Fest 2023 will immediately follow the Lit Chat Interview.

WHAT: Lit Chat Author Interview with NYT Bestselling Author Susan Orlean
WHERE: Main Library’s Conference Center (Hicks Auditorium)
WHEN: Friday, June 2, 2023, 6:30 p.m. (please use the special events entrance at 304 N. Main Street)
HOW: Visit bit.ly/SusanOrlean_LitChat to secure your spot
WHO: Free and open to all readers, fans, writers

Orlean will sign books after the Lit Chat, with a limited number of books available for purchase on-site from San Marco Books and More (or you can bring your own copy to be signed). Note: Street parking is free downtown on the weekends and after 6 p.m.

In The Orchid Thief - her breakout national bestseller that inspired the Academy Award-winning film Adaptation - Orlean delves into the life of John Laroche, a charismatic schemer once convicted of trying to steal endangered orchids from a state preserve in southern Florida. Orlean spent two years researching the book, going so far as to wade through a swamp in hopes of spotting the elusive ghost orchid. The result is a story The Wall Street Journal called “a swashbuckling piece of reporting that celebrates some virtues that made America great." 

In The Library Book, Orlean explores the history and future of libraries as she attempts to solve a notorious cold case... Who set fire to the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986, ultimately destroying 400,000 books? She is currently at work adapting The Library Book for a forthcoming limited series with Paramount TV, as well as writing her memoir.

Bestselling author Susan Orlean will share her secrets for making the beginning and end of a book sparkle! How do you craft a lede? How do bring your story to a satisfying close? There will be time for questions and answers about best writing and editing practices in this free, hour-long workshop. Get your work noticed by readers, literary agents and publishers!

WHAT: Writer's Lab Workshop with Author Susan Orlean: "To Begin... and In Conclusion."
WHERE: Main Library’s Conference Center (Multipurpose Room)
WHEN: Saturday, June 3, 2023, 10 a.m. (use the main entrance on North Laura Street)
HOW: Visit bit.ly/SusanOrlean_WritersLab to secure your spot
WHO: Free and open to all current and aspiring writers

Writers are encouraged to stay after the Writer's Lab and network with local authors. Authors RoundtablePersonalize Your Marketing Plan starts at 11:15 a.m., in the Conference Level Learning Space (across from the Center for Adult Learning). Space is limited. Authors Roundtable isa local 501C3 that supports authors in reaching their highest potential. Meeting on the first Saturday of every month at the Main Library, authors participate in educational forums, workshops, classes, and events. All genres are welcome.

More About the Author

Susan Orlean is the bestselling author ofThe Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and ObsessionThe Library Book, and Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend. Her latest is On Animals, her first essay collection in nearly twenty years, which gathers a lifetime of musings, meditations, and in-depth profiles about the creatures we share our homes, lives and the world with. 

Orlean’s work has inspired two successful films: Blue Crush, the story of young women surfing in Maui, and Adaptation, the metafilm directed by Spike Jonze. Meryl Streep, who portrayed Orlean in the film, was nominated for an Academy Award, as were costars Nicholas Cage and Chris Cooper and writer Charlie Kaufman. A staff writer at The New Yorker for over three decades, she has also written for Outside, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vogue, and The Boston Globe, and has edited both Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing. Currently, she writes the Afterword column for The New Yorker, an obituary column that pays homage to people, places, and things we’ve lost. She also hosts the podcast Book Exploder, a miniseries from Song Exploder, where award-winning and bestselling authors break down a passage from one of their books, and discuss the creative process that went into writing it.

Find more at susanorlean.com.

About the Interviewer

Michael Wiley’s new novel is The Long Way Out, featuring Franky Dast, an exonerated ex-con who investigates a series of murders in Northeast Florida. Michael is also the author of three mystery and detective series, including the Shamus Award-winning Joe Kozmarski books, the Daniel Turner thrillers, and, most recently, the Sam Kelson PI novels, which are currently in development for television. His short stories appear often in magazines and anthologies, including Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2022. He teaches literature at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

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