A Celebration of the Work and Life of William Maxwell—"A lively evening of discussion and reminiscence" of the author and longtime New Yorker editor, with Daniel Menaker, Benjamin Cheever, Edward Hirsch, Stewart O'Nan, and Christopher Carduff. (In between discussing and reminiscing, I assume they're going to read from Maxwell's fiction, too.) Maxwell, who died in 2000, would have turned 100 in August. Presented by the National Book Foundation and the Madison Square Park Conservancy. (Madison Square Park, mid-Park at 25th St., New York. Thursday, July 31st, at 6:30. No tickets necessary.)
Now, this sounds like my kind of event. Literary and free! When I heard Eudora Welty read in New York many years ago, she was introduced by Maxwell, who was her editor at the New Yorker. During a question-and-answer session after the reading, one enthusiastic audience member kept pressing Welty to name her favorite author.You could tell that she didn't really want to answer the question, but finally she conceded that she liked William Maxwell's and Chekhov's work very much. Nice company, eh?