Thursday, August 8th Author Literary Luncheon

Chrishaunda Lee Perez, Jonathan Vatner, and Zeyn Joukhadar

Held at the Wequassett Resort in 28 Atlantic

Check-in Begins at 12 noon / Luncheon Begins at 12:30

This luncheon has sold out, but we are maintaining a waiting list.

Name *


We Come As Girls, We Leave As Women by Chrishaunda Lee Perez


When the Senior Class of the world-famous Madame Ellington School for Girls begins their final year, several students experience life-changing events that will reshape who they are throughout their transitions into womanhood. From final exams to graduation dresses, these become second priority as they struggle to navigate their personal lives. Romantic relationships, body-image issues, sexuality, and criminal activity threaten to turn their worlds upside down. Graduation is the goal, yet at what cost will each of them succeed? Whatever their fate, they learn they don’t have to go it alone.

“This delightful coming-of-age story serves as a clarion call for harmony with oneself and with others. Chrishaunda Lee Perez deftly orchestrates a madrigal of female voices spanning class, color, and creed to arrive at fundamental truths about the human spirit—and its ability to transcend circumstance. The triumphs and tribulations of each character are told with empathy and wit, and the reader cannot help but cheer as each young woman discovers that self-empowerment begins with self-acceptance.” — PAULA WALLACE, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN 

Chrishaunda Lee Perez is a writer and producer known for her work as cowriter and co-producer of the short film, “The Forever Tree”(learn more about her short film through the NPR coverage here). Chrishaunda Lee earned her start in entertainment first serving as a fashion publicist, then in front of camera corresponding on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2004, and later on “Entertainment Tonight” in 2005. A long-time animal advocate, Chrishaunda co-hosted the show, “Animal Attractions” for PBS in 2007. Most recently, Chrishaunda Lee released her first novel, “We Come as Girls, We Leave as Women”, about high school senior girls overcoming personal challenges as they head towards graduation. This debut has been praised by Paula Wallace, founder and president of the Savannah College of Art and Design, and endorsed by Oprah Winfrey.

Carnegie Hill by Jonathan Vatner


*A Must-Read Book of Summer 2019* - Town and Country!

"A perfect beach read."

"Carnegie Hill has got to be one of the most charming, hilarious, and insightful books I've read in ages. When it comes to New York's (often befuddled) elite, Vatner has an eagle eye for detail, and an ear for whip-smart dialogue. This is an assured, heartfelt debut." -Grant Ginder, author of The People We Hate at the Wedding and Honestly, We Meant Well

Deception is just another day in the lives of the Upper East Side's elite.

At age thirty-three, Penelope "Pepper" Bradford has no career, no passion and no children. Her intrusive parents still treat her like a child. Moving into the Chelmsford Arms with her fiancé Rick, an up-and-coming financier, and joining the co-op board give her some control over her life--until her parents take a gut dislike to Rick and urge Pepper to call off the wedding. When, the week before the wedding, she glimpses a trail of desperate text messages from Rick's obsessed female client, Pepper realizes that her parents might be right.

She looks to her older neighbors in the building to help decide whether to stay with Rick, not realizing that their marriages are in crisis, too. Birdie and George's bond frays after George is forced into retirement at sixty-two. And Francis alienates Carol, his wife of fifty years, and everyone else he knows, after being diagnosed with an inoperable heart condition. To her surprise, Pepper's best model for love may be a clandestine romance between Caleb and Sergei, a porter and a doorman.

Jonathan Vatner's Carnegie Hill is a belated-coming-of-age novel about sustaining a marriage--and knowing when to walk away. It chronicles the lives of wealthy New Yorkers and the staff who serve them, as they suffer together and rebound, struggle to free themselves from family entanglements, deceive each other out of love and weakness, and fumble their way to honesty.

Jonathan Vatner is an award-winning journalist who has written for The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Poets & Writers; and many other publications. He has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA in cognitive neuroscience from Harvard University. He lives in Yonkers, NY with his husband and cats. Carnegie Hill is his first novel.

The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar


This powerful and lyrical debut novel is to Syria what The Kite Runner was to Afghanistan; the story of two girls living eight hundred years apart--a modern-day Syrian refugee seeking safety and an adventurous mapmaker's apprentice--"perfectly aligns with the cultural moment" (The Providence Journal) and " shows how interconnected two supposedly opposing worlds can be" (The New York Times Book Review).

This "beguiling" ( Seattle Times) and stunning novel begins in the summer of 2011. Nour has just lost her father to cancer, and her mother moves Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria to be closer to their family. In order to keep her father's spirit alive as she adjusts to her new home, Nour tells herself their favorite story--the tale of Rawiya, a twelfth-century girl who disguised herself as a boy in order to apprentice herself to a famous mapmaker.

But the Syria Nour's parents knew is changing, and it isn't long before the war reaches their quiet Homs neighborhood. When a shell destroys Nour's house and almost takes her life, she and her family are forced to choose: stay and risk more violence or flee across seven countries of the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety--along the very route Rawiya and her mapmaker took eight hundred years before in their quest to chart the world. As Nour's family decides to take the risk, their journey becomes more and more dangerous, until they face a choice that could mean the family will be separated forever.

Following alternating timelines and a pair of unforgettable heroines coming of age in perilous times, The Map of Salt and Stars is the "magical and heart-wrenching" ( Christian Science Monitor) story of one girl telling herself the legend of another and learning that, if you listen to your own voice, some things can never be lost.

Zeyn Joukhadar is a Syrian American author and a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) and of American Mensa. Joukhadar's writing has appeared in Salon, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, The Saturday Evening Post, and elsewhere and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. Joukhadar is a 2017-2020 Montalvo Arts Center Lucas Artists Program Literary Arts Fellow and a 2019 Artist in Residence at the Arab American National Museum.