Wednesday, September 28, 2011

They wrote on the walls...

Katherine and David  Bradley

by contributor Donna Shor
Photo credit: "©James R. Brantley

Several million dollars worth of talent took the stage of the Folger Shakespeare Library when the Pen/Faulkner Foundation held its 23rd Annual Gala.

Eleven authors of renown -  prize winning and best selling - had been given the theme,” Writing on the Wall,” as the take-off point for an essay they would compose to read at the gala.

Master of Ceremonies was Roy Blount,Jr. - the Southern humorist who has published twenty-two books - and whose latest is “Alphabetter Juice: or the Joy of Text.”

The Pillsburys
The first two readers were local students, Maxine Davis of Benjamin Banneker Academic High School and Laneisha McCauley of Cardozo Senior High School. They were chosen from 100 entries by a committee of authors. Both participate in Writers in the Schools, Pen/Faulkner’s outreach program.

When the eleven professional authors read their pieces, they were as different as the eleven themselves. Some were dramatic, some touching, some funny, a few held sadness. 

The Honorable Ann Brown, Mary Haft, Willee Lewis, former Chief of Protocol Molly Raiser

Ludmila and Conrad Cafritz

Pen/Faulkner supporters and directors spotted in the audience included Willee and Finlay Lewis, Ludmila and Conrad Cafritz, Robert and Mary Haft—her twenty-third year of serving as co-chair, Marie Ridder, Kay Kendall and Jack Davis, Gina Adams, Septime Weber and the Honorable Ann Brown.      

Authors David Ignatius, Ken Ludwig, and James McBride listen to Andrew Sullivan

 Francesca Craig, food pioneer Nora Pouillon
Judging by the dinner following the program, lovers of fine literature evidently love fine food as well. It was excellent, starting with a stack of roasted tomato, quinoa and avocado, then champagne and peach-glazed chicken and caramelized polenta. Dessert brought little warm chocolate tarts with malted milk ice cream and sent everyone home happy.