Virtual Events

Kate Fuglei, The Embrace of Hope: A Novel Based on the Life of Frank Capra

Thursday, May 26, 2022 ~ 7:00pm EDT

Register for Kate Fuglei's Virtual Event


Crossing the Atlantic Ocean was going to be the biggest adventure of Frank Capra’s life, but the five-year-old Sicilian boy’s dreams were soon hobbled by the cramped steamship. Feverish and weak, Frank was separated from his family and frightened. Emerging from the darkness into a new world, he saw the torch of Lady Liberty’s reaching arm. Frank Capra’s movies celebrated the individual’s power to define their own destiny through hard work and selflessness.

 Kate Fuglei is an actor, singer and author.  Her three novels are based on the lives of physicist Enrico Fermi, educator Maria Montessori and director Frank Capra. Her fourth novel based on the life of Federico Fellini, will be published in April 2022 by Mentoris Press. She narrated the audiobook for The Soul of A Child, her novel based on the life of Maria Montessori. She has also written the book for a one person musical, In The Blink Of An Eye, that will have a reading at the National Opera Center in New York City on May 15th. ( Kate got her professional start at the Guthrie Theater and since then has played leading roles at theaters across the country. She has appeared in over forty episodes of television.

Dr. Ronald Bayor, Encountering Ellis Island: How European Immigrants Entered America

Thursday, June 9, 2022 ~ 7:00pm EDT

America is famously known as a nation of immigrants. Millions of Europeans journeyed to the United States in the peak years of 1892–1924, and Ellis Island, New York, is where the great majority landed. Ellis Island opened in 1892 with the goal of placing immigration under the control of the federal government and systematizing the entry process. Encountering Ellis Island introduces readers to the ways in which the principal nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American portal for Europeans worked in practice, with some comparison to Angel Island, the main entry point for Asian immigrants. What happened along the journey? How did the processing of so many people work? What were the reactions of the newly arrived to the process (and threats) of inspection, delays, ospitalization, detention, and deportation? How did immigration officials attempt to protect the country from diseased or "unfit" newcomers, and how did these definitions take shape and change? What happened to people who failed screening? And how, at the journey's end, did immigrants respond to admission to their new homeland? In reality, Ellis Island had many liabilities as well as assets. Corruption was rife. Immigrants with medical issues occasionally faced a hostile staff. Some families, on the other hand, reunited in great joy and found relief at their journey's end. Encountering Ellis Island lays bare the profound and sometimes-victorious story of people chasing the American Dream: leaving everything behind, facing a new language and a new culture, and starting a new American life.

Dr. Bayor is a historian who specializes in urban, ethnic and immigration history. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. He is the founding editor of Journal of American Ethnic History and served as editor from 1981-2004. He is author of Neighbors in Conflict: The Irish, Germans, Jews, and Italians of New York City, 1929-1941 (Choice outstanding academic book for 1978); Fiorello LaGuardia: Ethnicity and Reform; and Race and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century Atlanta (Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America ). He is also coauthor of Engineering the New South: Georgia Tech 1885-1985; editor of Neighborhoods in Urban America; co-editor of The New York Irish (James S. Donnelly, Sr. prize of the American Conference for Irish Studies for best book in history and social sciences), editor of Race and Ethnicity in America: A Concise History; The Columbia Documentary History of Race and Ethnicity in America; and Multicultural America: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans,4 vols.(selected as one of the best reference works of 2011 by Booklist, published by the American Library Association). His most recent books are : Encountering Ellis Island: How European Immigrants Entered America (2014) and ed. The Oxford Handbook of American Immigration and Ethnicity (2016) and Fiorello La Guardia: Ethnicity, Reform, and Urban Develpment, 2nd ed. (2017) He has been the recipient of Georgia Tech’s Outstanding Teacher Award and the Geoffrey G. Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award. He has also received the Immigration and Ethnic History Society’s Distinguished Service Award, the Association for Asian American Studies Lifetime Service Award, and the 2008 Distinguished Editor Award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. He served as president of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society from 2006-2009.

David R. Gillham, Shadows of Berlin

Tuesday, June 21, 2022 ~ 7:00pm EDT

1955 in New York City: the city of instant coffee, bagels at Katz's Deli, ultra-modern TVs. But in the Perlman's walk-up in Chelsea, the past is as close as the present. Rachel came to Manhattan in a wave of displaced Jews who managed to survive the horrors of war. Her Uncle Fritz fleeing with her, Rachel hoped to find freedom from her pain in New York and in the arms of her new American husband, Aaron. But this child of Berlin and daughter of an artist cannot seem to outrun her guilt in the role of American housewife, not until she can shed the ghosts of her past. And when Uncle Fritz discovers, in a dreary midtown pawn shop, the most shocking portrait that her mother had ever painted, Rachel's memories begin to terrorize her, forcing her to face the choices she made to stay alive? choices that might be her undoing. From the cafes of war-torn Germany to the frantic drumbeat of 1950's Manhattan, Shadows of Berlin dramatically explores survival, redemption and the way we learn to love and forgive across impossible divides.

David R. Gillham is a New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction. His work includes "City of Women," "Annelies," and the upcoming novel, "Shadows of Berlin." Having studied screenwriting at the University of Southern California before transitioning into fiction, David Gillham relocated to New York City, spending more than a decade in the book business. He now lives with his family in Western Massachusetts.

Kristina McMorris, The Ways We Hide

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 ~ (time TBD)

A sweeping World War II tale of an illusionist whose recruitment by British intelligence sets her on a perilous, heartrending path. As a little girl raised amid the hardships of Michigan's Copper Country, Fenna Vos learned to focus on her own survival. That ability sustains her even now as the Second World War rages in faraway countries. Though she performs onstage as the assistant to an unruly escape artist, behind the curtain she's the mastermind of their act. Ultimately, controlling her surroundings and eluding traps of every kind helps her keep a lingering trauma at bay. Yet for all her planning, Fenna doesn't foresee being called upon by British military intelligence. Tasked with designing escape aids to thwart the Germans, MI9 seeks those with specialized skills for a war nearing its breaking point. Fenna reluctantly joins the unconventional team as an inventor. But when a test of her loyalty draws her deep into the fray, she discovers no mission is more treacherous than escaping one's past. Inspired by stunning true accounts, The Ways We Hide is a gripping story of love and loss, the wars we fight—on the battlefields and within ourselves—and the courage found in unexpected places.

Kristina McMorris is a New York Times bestselling author of two novellas and six novels, including the runaway bestseller Sold on a Monday. Initially inspired by her grandparents' WWII courtship letters, her works of fiction have garnered more than twenty national literary awards. Prior to her writing career, she owned a wedding-and-event planning company until she had far surpassed her limit of YMCA and chicken dances. She also worked as a weekly TV-show host for Warner Bros. and an ABC affiliate, beginning at age nine with an Emmy Award-winning program. A graduate of Pepperdine University, she lives near Portland, Oregon, where (ironically) she's entirely deficient of a green thumb and doesn't own a single umbrella.