Over 2,000 guests gathered in Amagansett for the chance to meet their favorite literary figure and leave with a personally inscribed copy of the author’s latest project during the East Hampton Library’s 15th Annual Authors Night fundraiser. Along with Founding Honorary Chair Alec Baldwin and honorary co-chairs Douglas Brinkley, Candace Bushnell, Robert A. Caro, Rosanne Cash, Bridget Moynihan and Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the book-signing cocktail party brought out more than 100 authors, who helped raise over $400,000 for the Library.
“Well, I didn’t always pay attention to things, for a long time, that involved the year-round community,” Founding Honorary Chair Alec Baldwin told Hamptons.com. “Slowly, over the many years I’ve been out here – I first came out here in ’82 and bought my first house in ’87 – in the time I’ve been out here, I’ve really become much more concerned with the year-round, which the Library is a huge example of. So, my wife and I donated to the children’s wing and so forth. Anything we can do to help the Library, we’re up for.”
Another Authors Night regular, Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer, was signing copies of her Sex For Dummies. “I want everybody to read it, because it has new chapters, especially for young people, about my concern about the art of conversation getting lost, and about loneliness,” Dr. Ruth told us. “I’m 91 and half and I’m hoping to be back here next year. It’s such a wonderful cause!” she told us about the Library.
One of the evening’s more unique endeavors was Dan Rizzie and Rosanne Cash’s Bird on a Blade, which features pairings of Cash’s lyrics and Rizzie’s images. “We’ve been friends for 25 years and we’re fans of each other. I have his paintings, he has my records and we wanted to do this with my lyrics and his images,” Cash told us about the collaboration.
When asked about working together, their good-natured friendship shined through. “Oh, horrible,” Cash joked. “Just awful. She’s very difficult,” Rizzie added with a laugh. “We love each,” Cash said. “Getting her to just take my phone calls was the toughest thing. But on a serious note, it was honestly one of the best projects of my life,” Rizzie revealed.
“The library saved my life as a kid,” Cash noted about the evening’s cause. “I’m all about libraries.” “I think libraries are one of the great institutions in the world today, and if I can be a little more verbal about it,” Rizzie said. “I think there’s a lot of people in positions of power today that could use a library.” “Seriously,” Cash agreed.
It was all about the footwear for Our Shoes, Our Selves: 40 Women, 40 Stories, 40 Pairs of Shoes authors Bridget Moynahan and Amanda Benchley. “We really tried to focus on having a wide range of women from different backgrounds and professions, but also age groups. We just wanted it very diverse,” Moynahan told us. “So, anyone who was going through it could kind of say, oh, that inspires me or I relate to that whatever it was. We had to really think about the different categories we wanted to highlight.”
For her part in the book, the Blue Bloods star selected a pair that she still turns to today. “My shoes, I found almost 12 years ago, during a very crazy and vulnerable and intimate time of my life that was very public. And so those shoes kind of gave me my strength back,” she relayed. “I kind of still go to those boots, I still have them, still take care of them, and I still put them on whenever I need a little bit more comfort.”
As for the cause, which she also championed a few years ago with The Blue Bloods Cookbook, Moynahan noted, “I think any library is important to support. It’s one of those places that you can always go to and have a safe place. You surround yourself with stories and friends you didn’t really know you had, so it’s a place in communities that I think are often overlooked and I think it’s important to support them.”
There was a Sex in the City mini reunion when Bridget Moynahan and Candace Bushnell exchanged books. “The inspiration is really a passage of time that I went through and that a lot of my friends were going through that reminded me of our Sex in the City days 25 years ago,” Candace Bushnell shared about her latest book. “So, Is There Still Sex in the City? is about a new passage. It’s about reinventing yourself in midlife. It’s really about what I call “the new middle age.” This is not your mother’s middle age.”
So, how has dating changed since those Sex in the City days? “Well, the biggest difference in dating – the reality is that young people seem to have a much harder time dating than anybody, and the big difference is technology,” Bushnell revealed.
As for journalist Jessica Yellin’s Savage News inspiration, she explained, “I wanted to write about the news business and a woman finding her voice at work. My whole life, I read books about girls finding their voice in relationships, but we work. So, how about a story about a young woman finding her voice at work?”
While the novel may be fictitious, the former CNN Chief White House Correspondent did find herself in similar situations that Savage News leading lady Natalie Savage faces. “The whole book is informed by experiences that I had, experiences friends had, experiences that were known in the business – all of the above,” Yellin told us. “Every one is a composite, but as a writer, you write what you know. I hope that there is an understanding of some of the challenges women face in the workplace, and that sticking to your integrity and raising your voice makes a difference.”
In addition to her new novel, Yellin is focused on her #NewsNotNoise Instagram stories, which offer a straight to the point, facts without the b.s. delivery, and are definitely worth checking out.
We caught up with Barbara Kavovit, who is already working on a sequel to Heels of Steel. “It’s basically based on my story, a Jewish girl from the Bronx who against all odds starts a construction company in New York City – determined, tenacious to break through the glass ceiling in a male dominated field and set her mark and build the tallest skyscraper in New York City,” Kavovit shared. “I just started working on my second book, and it looks like Heels of Steel will be a TV series. We are going to the Bronx in the second one and Barbara Kavovit, or Bridget Steel, is rebuilding the waterfront in the Bronx, and doing affordable housing for people that are in need of a beautiful place to live.”
As for casting, Kavovit would love to see a certain Bronx native take on Bridget Steel. “I would like Jennifer Lopez to play Bridget Steel,” she shared. “She’s from the Bronx and I’m from the Bronx and I think she would make the perfect badass woman in construction.”
“This is a great library. I’ve done a lot of work here. I’ve been a member part of this book night since the very beginning and I think it’s just terrific,” Robert A. Caro, who supports Authors Night just about every year, added.