Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jill Krementz covers Jonathan Dee

Jonathan Dee photographed in New York City on April 9, 2013 by Jill Krementz.
Jonathan Dee and his new literary thriller, A Thousand Pardons, were recently celebrated with a launch party hosted by Wendy Flanagan and her husband Chris O'Malley. The novel has just been published by Random House.

On hand to raise a glass were literary luminaries Julie Otsuka, Francine Prose, Elissa Schappell, Gilbert King, and Rivka Galchen.

Also in attendance were two top-notch
literary agents: Binky Urban, who represents the author, and Denise Shannon, who is married to him.

Mr. Dee was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his previous book, The Privileges, hailed in The New York Times as "funny, subversive and sympathetic." He teaches creative writing at Columbia University and is a literary critic for Harper's.
Jonathan Dee and his wife Denise Shannon. Ms. Shannon is the owner of a literary agency.
The party was hosted by Chris O'Malley and his wife Wendy Flanagan.

Mr. O'Malley is a non-profit executive and Ms. Flanagan is, in her words, "an unpublished fiction writer."
Wendy is wearing "an old Oscar."

"I met Jon years ago when I went back to Columbia to get my MFA as a 41-year-old and he was my first workshop professor."
ICM's Binky Urban flanked by her assistants, Maggie Southard and Molly Atlas.

Binky is Jon's longtime literary agent.
Claire Dee and her schoolmate Jackie Kumble. They are both juniors and have been friends for fourteen years (since they were two).
Gilbert King is the author of Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America (Harpers).

A New York City based writer, Mr. King has written for The New York Times and The Washington Post, and he is a featured contributor to Smithsonian magazine's history blog, "Past Imperfect."
Gilbert King, Jennifer Kumble, and Jon Dee.

Ms. Kumble is a corporate lawyer whose friendship with Jon and Denise dates back to when they were making the pre-school rounds with their daughters Claire and Jackie.
The Random House Three who are behind A Thousand Pardons: Jennifer Smith (Dee's editor), Sally Marvin (Publicity Director), and Susan Kamil (Publisher).
Declan O'Malley (co-host) is in the third grade and just turned 9. Writer and poet Fiona Wilson is a professor at Sarah Lawrence.
Jana Manning, Dan Jacobson, and Denise Shannon.

Ms. Manning is an interior designer for Manning Design Group and Mr. Jacobson is the publisher of triCityNews.
Arlene Baldassari is Denise Shannon's closest friend.

Formerly Norton's Permissions Manager, Ms. Baldassari took a few years leave to be a stay-at-home-mom in Hoboken where she lives, but she's returning in June to cover a Norton employee who is going on maternity leave.

"Norton's a fabulous company letting their employees take 8 weeks off."

Her daughter's science fair that evening caused Arlene to arrive a bit late for the party. "But I learned so much about condensation. The question posed was this: In what liquid do ice cubes melt the fastest?"

"The answer: Root beer."
Spring flower bouquets were everywhere.
Rivka Galchen is a Canadian-American writer. Her first novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, published in 2008, has been translated into over 20 languages. Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn.

Deirdre was formerly The Paris Review's blog editor; she is currently the book review editor at Harper's Magazine where she is Jon Dee's editor.
Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn, Rivka Galchen, and Fiona Wilson.
Fred Leebron and Francine Prose.

Mr. Leebron is a professor of English at Gettysburg College. "I've written seven books and I run a couple of graduate programs here and in Europe. I've just started a publishing house called "Unboxed Books" and we have two books coming out in the fall: one on healthy lifestyles for kids and the other is by the winner of a fiction book contest judged by Francine Prose."

Ms. Prose has just handed in her new novel to HarperCollins. Titled Lovers at the Chameleon Club Paris 1932, the narrative takes place in Paris between 1924-44.
Denise Shannon, Steve Rinehart, and Fred Leebron. Rinehart has written two books and is Bill Clinton's speech writer.
Amanda Urban and Wendy Flanagan. Carrie Neill, publicist of Unboxed Books, writes for Poets and Writers.
Out on the terrace: Fiona Wilson and lawyer Kathy Yang. "Jon was the best man at our wedding," Ms. Yang told me.
Dr. David Strauss is a psychiatrist at Columbia. He is married to Fiona Wilson. Dr. Steven Yang is a hand surgeon at Lenox Hill, who treats a lot of musicians.

He and Jon Dee were roommates at Yale.
Jon Dee with novelist Julie Otsuka.
Claire and her father.
Austrian novelist Josef Haslinger is a teacher of creative writing. Josef Haslinger and Binnie Kirshenbaum. Ms. Kirshenbaum chairs Columbia University's MFA writing program where Jon Dee teaches a course in creative fiction.
Rob Spillman, editor of Tin House, a literary magazine, runs an annual summer writers conference. Fiction writer Elissa Schappell also works for Vanity Fair. "You've got to have a lot of jobs when you're a writer."
Jon Dee, Elissa Schappell, Barbara Jones, Steve Rinehart, and Francine Prose.
The catering by Canard was the best I've experienced at any party in a very long time.

Recent high profile events include the Winter Antiques Show, The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary at the NYPL, and The Battery Park Conservancy Gala.
Allen Chin adds finishing touches, the good stuff, to bite-size Peking duck.
Jose Vidals, Michael Rich, and Allen Chin.
Fiona Maazel's new novel Woke Up Lonely has just been published by Graywolf.

Fiona and Jon worked together at The Paris Review where they were both editors.
Kathy Dooley was a classmate of Jon's at Andover. She is an editor for Maine Magazine, published in Portland. Kathy Dooley and Dr. David Strauss.
Finn, 12, returning from Lacrosse practice toward the end of the party. Declan and Finn.
Finn and Declan in family photo when they were younger.
With the party winding down, Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn in the foyer waiting for the elevator.
Justine Simons works for The New York Times in their video department. Josef Haslinger and Binnie Kirshenbaum.
Just as I was leaving, Messi, the hosts' Labradoodle (named after the soccer player from Argentina), returned home from his walk.

Did I mention that Jonathan Dee's book is a real page turner?
Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved. Contact Jill Krementz here.