Authors Night, the premier literary event of the Hamptons, is taking place on Saturday, August 11.
This year’s Authors Book Signing Cocktail Reception will include the chance to mingle with Founding Honorary Chair Alec Baldwin, and his wife Hilaria Baldwin, as well as many other notable authors like Robert A. Caro, Lee Child, Florence Fabricant, Jules Feiffer, A.J. Finn, Wednesday Martin, Malcolm Nance, Geraldo Rivera, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and more.
We recently caught up with Sheila Rogers, East Hampton Library Board President and Authors Night Co-Chair, to learn more about this year’s benefit.
How many authors will be featured this year?
SR: Right now, I believe we have 88 and we still have people signing on. We had two people sign on recently and it was people we were really interested in having.
Who was it?
SR: One of them was Beck Dorey-Stein and she worked in the White House under Obama and she wrote a book called From the Corner of the Oval: A Memoir. She got really great reviews and people think it’s really funny. It’s a wonderful humor.
This year’s event has a major change with Authors Night moving to 555 Montauk Highway in Amagansett.
SR: Yes, the location is a big change. Frankly I think it’s going to be much better because it’s much bigger. It’s going to be exciting having it in a new place and that’s a great thing. I think we needed change and need to be more visible in the town. Whereas before we were in the Village, kind of tucked behind the windmill. In the old days we were in the Library and parking was such a problem, but here we’re going to be in the center of the Town of East Hampton so that people from Montauk and Wainscott and East Hampton will know where we are. I’m hoping we get a lot more people from Montauk to get involved in our events – including our children’s fair.
Are there any themes in regards to genres featured?
SR: As usual, we have a number of political authors – people who write in the political arena. Those people are always sought after because people are just so interested in politics and what’s going on. We have a couple of books on Russia and they are extremely popular. But, it’s a lot of different genres for a lot of different tastes and that’s what makes it so wonderful. Whatever you’re interested in, you can find something that appeals to you.
With such a strong presence from politically themed books, was that something you sought out?
SR: We always look for that because we know who our constituents are. We have a lot of very intelligent, educated people in this community and they’re interested in what’s going on in the world. We know that to make them happy and make us happy we need to make sure we have people that address those issues. And people who are really in the know about it. We have quite a number of journalists.
And you’ll also welcome back Alec Baldwin this year.
SR: Absolutely! We love our Alec. I tell him he’s our superhero. He really is. He’s been so committed to the East Hampton Library and we are very thankful for his attention and generosity.
How has funding from Authors Night impacted the Library?
SR: East Hampton Library has had a tradition of raising a good portion our of operating budget through our various fundraising activities. Our main one now is really Authors Night. Because of Authors Night, we provide a lot of programs and we can do them all free of charge. A lot of libraries have programs, but they have to charge their patrons because they don’t have the funding for it. In our case, we have lower taxation and we raise a good deal of our money through our fundraising efforts and over time the people that have come to our fundraising events have also supported us in very meaningful ways and have given us large donations that have become part of our endowment. So, the interest that we get from our endowment also helps to fund what we do. We’re very, very lucky. We kind of modeled ourselves after the New York Public Library – they work the same way. It’s less of a tax burden for the community.
For you personally, which authors are you most looking forward to seeing this year?
SR: Well, I love seeing Alec Baldwin. I love having him at our event. It’s always just a great personal pleasure for me. I’ve known him now for so many years and I feel like he’s a friend – which is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Another one that I’m very excited about is Lee Child – who lives in England and New York City. The first thriller I ever read was one of his and I became hooked on it. So I read a lot of them and the fact that he’s coming to me is just fabulous.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
SR: We encourage everyone to come and join in the fun, have some wonderful food and wine, and meet their favorite authors!
Authors Night kicks off with the Authors Book Signing Cocktail Reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Attendees also have the chance to attend an intimate dinner with their favorite author, which begin at 8 p.m.
Authors Night will take place at 555 Montauk Highway in Amagansett. For tickets, or more information, visit authorsnight.org.