Verse & Vino 2018 Authors

Quick Look:

This year's lineup features history, mystery, and everything in between!

  • Elliot Ackerman is a former White House Fellow and Marine, and served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. He is the author of Dark at the Crossing, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Green on Blue. His writings have appeared in Esquire, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Travel Writing. New Release: Waiting for Eden
  • Lou Berney is the author of three previous crime fiction novels, Gutshot Straight, Whiplash River, and the multiple prize-winning The Long and Faraway Gone. His short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. New Release: November Road
  • Casey Gerald grew up in Dallas and went to Yale, where he majored in political science and played varsity football. After receiving an MBA from Harvard Business School, he cofounded MBAs Across America, a non-profit effort of MBAs and entrepreneurs working together to revitalize communities throughout the country. Gerald was named one of “The Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company. New Release: There Will Be No Miracles Here
  • Paula McLain has been credited with reinvigorating the genre of historical fiction. Her acclaimed New York Times best-selling novels The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun have sold more than 2 million copies combined. She is also the author of two collections of poetry; a memoir, Like Family, Growing up in Other People's Houses; and a first novel, A Ticket to RideNew Release: Love and Ruin
  • Julia Reed is a contributing editor at Garden & Gun, where she writes the magazine's “The High & the Low” column. She is the author of But Mama Always Puts Vodka in Her Sangria; Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties; Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena and The House on First Street, My New Orleans Story. New Release: South Toward Home

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Elliot Ackerman

Waiting for Eden

From the National Book Award finalist, a breathtakingly spare and shattering new novel that traces the intersection of three star-crossed lives.

Eden Malcom lies in a bed, unable to move or to speak, imprisoned in his own mind. His wife Mary spends every day on the sofa in his hospital room. He has never even met their young daughter. And he will never again see the friend and fellow soldier who didn't make it back home--and who narrates the novel. But on Christmas, the one day Mary is not at his bedside, Eden's re-ordered consciousness comes flickering alive. As he begins to find a way to communicate, some troubling truths about his marriage--and about his life before he went to war--come to the surface. Is Eden the same man he once was: a husband, a friend, a father-to-be? What makes a life worth living? A piercingly insightful, deeply felt meditation on loyalty and betrayal, love and fear, Waiting for Eden is a tour de force of profound humanity.

About the Author

Elliot Ackerman is the author of the novels Waiting for EdenDark at the Crossing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and Green on Blue. His writings have appeared in Esquire, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications, and his stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Travel Writing. He is both a former White House Fellow and Marine, and served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. He divides his time between New York City and Washington, D.C.

 

Lou Berney

November Road

A story of unexpected connections, daring possibilities, and the hope of second chances— NOVEMBER ROAD showcases Berney’s “supreme sensitivity” (New York Times Book Review).  This outstanding novel highlights exactly how, in the hands of a gifted writer, an extraordinary crime novel can illuminate the human struggle, explore what connects us and ultimately reveal universal truths, all done within a gripping and entertaining plot. ​

Set against the assassination of JFK, a poignant and evocative crime novel that centers on a desperate cat-and-mouse chase across 1960s America—a story of unexpected connections, daring possibilities, and the hope of second chances from the Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone.

Frank Guidry’s luck has finally run out.

A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans’ mob boss Carlos Marcello, Guidry has learned that everybody is expendable. But now it’s his turn—he knows too much about the crime of the century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Within hours of JFK’s murder, everyone with ties to Marcello is turning up dead, and Guidry suspects he’s next: he was in Dallas on an errand for the boss less than two weeks before the president was shot. With few good options, Guidry hits the road to Las Vegas, to see an old associate—a dangerous man who hates Marcello enough to help Guidry vanish.

Guidry knows that the first rule of running is "don’t stop," but when he sees a beautiful housewife on the side of the road with a broken-down car, two little daughters and a dog in the back seat, he sees the perfect disguise to cover his tracks from the hit men on his tail. Posing as an insurance man, Guidry offers to help Charlotte reach her destination, California. If she accompanies him to Vegas, he can help her get a new car.

For her, it’s more than a car— it’s an escape. She’s on the run too, from a stifling existence in small-town Oklahoma and a kindly husband who’s a hopeless drunk.

It’s an American story: two strangers meet to share the open road west, a dream, a hope—and find each other on the way.

Charlotte sees that he’s strong and kind; Guidry discovers that she’s smart and funny. He learns that’s she determined to give herself and her kids a new life; she can’t know that he’s desperate to leave his old one behind.

Another rule—fugitives shouldn’t fall in love, especially with each other. A road isn’t just a road, it’s a trail, and Guidry’s ruthless and relentless hunters are closing in on him. But now Guidry doesn’t want to just survive, he wants to really live, maybe for the first time.

Everyone’s expendable, or they should be, but now Guidry just can’t throw away the woman he’s come to love.

And it might get them both killed.

About the Author

 Lou Berney is the author of three previous novels, Gutshot Straight, Whiplash River, and multiple prize-winning The Long and Faraway Gone. His short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He teaches at the University of Oklahoma and in the Red Earth MFA program at Oklahoma City University.

 

 

 

Casey Gerald

There Will Be No Miracles Here

At just 31 years old, Casey Gerald is already an electrifying presence in the world.  His TED Talk, “The Gospel of Doubt,” has been viewed 1.5 million times, his Harvard Business School commencement speech went viral, he opened for Barack Obama at South by Southwest, and Fast Company declared him one of the “Most Creative People in Business.” Now in his meteoric first book, Gerald sets forth in a bold new direction as a pathfinder for a generation coming of age during increasingly broken times. 

With mesmerizing language, Gerald takes readers through his journey, a journey that powerfully shows “the incredible price that must be paid to be free.” There Will Be No Miracles Here is a singular coming-of-age story, one that straddles the complex intersection of race, class, religion, queer sexuality and masculinity. On the surface, it is a classic rags-to-riches narrative: poor boy from inner city Dallas gets recruited by Yale to play football, and makes it to Harvard Business School, Wall Street, Washington and beyond. But Gerald splinters the myths of the American Dream and illuminates the stark reality of American inequality. He delves into questions central to this national moment: how do we achieve success outside of a superstructure designed to suppress us?  How do we rescue each other from suffering and heal from trauma without forsaking our identities?  At a time when so many of us are losing faith in American institutions and reckoning with systematic injustice, Gerald brings a human and profoundly intimate voice to this collective anger and growing disillusionment.    

Incantatory, with bracing humor infusing Gerald’s inimitable storytelling, There Will Be No Miracles Here  is a groundbreaking book that resists categorization.  It is a deeply personal memoir, an absorbing meditation, an incisive manifesto.  At its heart, it is a book about how every person deserves to define and hold onto their own humanity. Gerald’s story shows how violently this world silences people, how power turns people into puppets, how complicit we are in the construction of an American narrative that narrows so many lives down to nothing.

About the Author

Casey Gerald grew up in Dallas and went to Yale, where he majored in political science and played varsity football. After receiving an MBA from Harvard Business School, he cofounded MBAs Across America, a non-profit effort of MBAs and entrepreneurs working together to revitalize communities throughout the country. He has been featured on MSNBC, at TED and SXSW, on the cover of Fast Company, and in The New York Times, Financial Times, and The Guardian, among others.

 

Paula McLain

Love and Ruin

In Love and Ruin, McLain returns to the timeless subject of Ernest Hemingway, this time through the prism of his stormy relationship with the incomparable Martha Gellhorn, a force of nature who carved her own way in a man’s world. In McLain’s words, “Gellhorn was incandescent, a true original with brass and vivacity and courage to spare. I was instantly under her spell.”

Over the course of her singular life, Gellhorn would report on virtually every major conflict of the 20th century. But in 1936, twenty-eight and untested and more than a little lost, she met her literary hero in a Key West bar, and then followed him to war in Spain.

In Madrid, Martha finds her voice as a correspondent, but also unexpectedly - and uncontrollably - falls in love with Hemingway, who is already well on his way to becoming a literary legend. In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the tumultuous backdrops of Madrid, Finland, China and especially Cuba, where Martha and Ernest make their home, their relationship and professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, it becomes painfully clear that they are no longer equals, and Martha is forced to make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife, or risk losing Ernest forever by forging a path as her own woman and writer.

This is the first novel based on the truly remarkable Gellhorn, an audacious and keenly independent woman who dedicated her life to telling the stories of those who could not speak for themselves.

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Paula McLain’s acclaimed novels The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun have sold more than 2 million copies combined. Credited with reinvigorating the genre of historical fiction, she has received accolades from Ann Patchett, Jodi Picoult, JoJo Moyes, NPR, O: The Oprah Magazine, People, Entertainment Weekly and USA Today, among many others.

 

 

 

Julia Reed

South Toward Home

In her new collection of essays, South Toward Home: Adventures and Misadventures in My Native Land, renowned writer and editor Julia Reed provides a wry and humorous take on life and culture in the American South.

In considering the pleasures and absurdities of her native culture, Julia Reed quotes another Southern writer, Willie Morris, who said, “It’s the juxtapositions that get you down here.” These juxtapositions are, for Julia, the soul of the South, and in her warmhearted and funny new book, South Toward Home, she chronicles her adventures through the highs and the lows of Southern life―taking us everywhere from dive bars and the Delta Hot Tamale Festival to an impromptu shindig on a Mississippi River sandbar and a coveted seat on a Mardi Gras float. She writes about the region’s music and food, its pesky critters and prodigious drinking habits, its inhabitants’ penchant for making their own fun―and, crucially, their gift for laughing at themselves.

With her distinctive voice and knowing eye, Julia also provides her take on the South’s more embarrassing characteristics from the politics of lust and the persistence of dry counties to the “seemingly bottomless propensity for committing a whole lot of craziness in the name of the Lord.” No matter what, she writes, “My fellow Southerners have brought me the greatest joy―on the page, over the airwaves, around the dinner table, at the bar or, hell, in the checkout line.” 

As Jon Meacham writes in his foreword, “Alternately funny and wise, charming and knowing, transporting and illuminating, Julia has, in this collection, given us yet another great gift. It is a gift, you will soon come to see, of deep delight. As is, inescapably, Julia herself.”  South Toward Home is Julia Reed’s valentine to the place she loves best.

About the Author

Julia Reed is a contributing editor at Garden & Gun, where she writes the magazine's “The High & the Low” column. She is the author of But Mama Always Puts Vodka in Her Sangria; Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties; Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena and The House on First Street, My New Orleans Story. Reed lives in New Orleans.

 

 

 

 

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