The official pub date of Mudbound was March 4, and the night of the 5th, my friends Denise Benou Stires, Alice Yurke and Kristin Jones threw me a party to celebrate. What a magical evening! So many people I adore were there. Much bubbly was drunk and many hugs & kisses exchanged. As I said in my little speech, it felt a lot like my wedding, only without the future ex-husband.
Family was represented by my sweet coz Robert Lewis, whose amazing photography I encourage you all to check out on his website. Elizabeth Molsen, who has known me since we were 13 (I won't say how many years ago that was) drove up from Pennsylvania. There was a big contingent of Wellesley gals — Denise, Alice, Anna Bulkot, Leslie McCall, Phyllis Spinale, Eileen Luby — and a lone male, my favorite college professor and former thesis advisor, Craig Murphy. The Columbia crew included James Cañón, with his partner José Manuel Villanueva, Jenn Epstein, Mishka Schubaly, Suzanne Dottino and Binnie Kirshenbaum. Tanya Selvaratnam snuck out of rehearsal to be there. Michael Caporusso, Rick Rudik and Marie Greener all came. Kathryn Windley (an immensely talented painter, as you will see for yourself if you click on her name) and her husband Gary DiMauro (the guy to talk to if you're looking for a house in the Hudson Valley) drove up from Red Hook. Author Tayari Jones dropped by, as did Michelle Green, who wrote that terrific 4-star review of Mudbound in People. Denise's husband Todd was the unofficial photographer for the event, and their son Hunter thoughtfully provided tractors, tanks, half-tracks and a B-17 bomber as thematic decorations.
Algonquin's publisher, Elisabeth Scharlatt, honored me with a lovely speech. She brought a number of other people from Algonquin & Workman, including Michael Rockcliff and Michael Taeckens. And my editor, Kathy Pories, flew in from Chapel Hill for the occasion. It was wonderful to finally meet her, after a year and a half of working together on Mudbound via phone and e-mail. I think we both felt a bit like Internet daters meeting for the first time after a hot and heavy 18-month exchange. And of course, my agent extraordinaire, Chris-Parris-Lamb, and his wife Whitney came.
I know, I'm gushing. But it really was one of the happiest nights of my entire life. Thanks to all who participated and made it so special.