Had an incredibly special event on Saturday: a reading with my dear friends James Cañón and Jennifer Cody Epstein at Hudson Opera House. James' novel, Tales from the Town of Widows and Chronicles from the Land of Men, debuted in January 2007 (it's now out in paperback) and Jenn's novel, The Painter from Shanghai, came out this year a few weeks after Mudbound. The three of us met eight years ago, in our first workshop at Columbia, and wrote our novels simultaneously. James and Jenn were my primary readers, a lame term for two people who read and critiqued so many drafts of Mudbound that they could probably recite it from memory. And of course we all had many doubts along the way that we would ever finish our books and find agents and publishers and become real live authors. So it was really wonderful to read with them and celebrate our mutual success. We were joined by a great crowd of Hudsonians, including friends Tom Swope, Val Shaff, Tom Froese, Maureen Cummins, Sarah Sterling, Carol Derfner, and Marc and Christine Heller. A big merci to Gary Schiro, Joe Herwick and E. Fout for hosting us and beating the drums.