Are virtual events losing popularity?

Honeywell's Anne Madden and Katie Lackey joined New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict for an online conversation on March 30, 2022.

If our March 30 event “Conversation with New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict” is any indicator, the answer is no.

With almost 200 people registered for the event, it’s clear that virtual events are here to stay at the Library Foundation, even as our in-person events begin again. While the pandemic made online interaction a necessity, our supporters see it as a benefit, adding another avenue to stay connected, be educated and enjoy lively conversations.

The platform has also opened up opportunities for us to reach new supporters and writers. Unlike our in-person events, attendees were from all over the world including UK, Australia, and India — primarily due to our generous partner Honeywell who offered tickets and autographed copies of Benedict’s latest historical fiction novel Her Hidden Genius to their Women’s Employee Network worldwide in celebration of Women’s History Month.

The topic could not have been more ideal. Benedict shared her research methods (heavily informed by her previous profession as an attorney) for developing the story about Rosalind Franklin, the real-life young British chemist who discovered the structure of DNA.

Benedict’s writing feels personal, lyrical, and authentic. She knows she must get all the details right. Her novels capture a specific time period with a subject who is historically important, but who was also human.

Honeywell’s VP of Learning & Development Katie Lackey moderated the conversation, deftly relaying the questions asked by our attendees. From answers on what started this love of forgotten female voices (hint: it’s this book gifted to her in middle school by a beloved aunt) to what are her latest passions (hint: her next book launches in January 2023 about the famous Mitford Sisters), her protagonists “grabble with issues that have modern day resonance.”

“I love all my ladies,” Benedict exclaimed when asked if there is a woman she enjoyed writing about more than the others, “They’re my heroes. I feel this incredible sense of responsibility and duty to them to honor them, to give them a second chance at having their lives and legacies known because they most of them didn’t get that during their own lifetime.”

While most of Benedict’s time is spent creating page turners for you and me, she did reveal what she’s been reading. Click on the book covers below and take a look.

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