Four prize winners to highlight Brandeis Book & Author events


It’s time to celebrate books. The Brandeis National Committee/Tucson Chapter will hold its 18th annual Book & Author Day luncheon on Thursday, March 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Skyline Country Club, and its evening soirée March 12 at the same venue.

The four featured authors write in genres ranging from memoir to adult and young adult fiction, from thrillers to short stories and mystery.

Philip Caputo
Philip Caputo

Philip Caputo won a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for investigating voter fraud in Chicago. His latest book is a memoir, “The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America from Key West to the Arctic Ocean.”

“I made the trip in 2011 as I approached my 70th birthday,” Caputo told the AJP. “My father had died that year at 94, which got me thinking about what was left that I wanted to do.” His wife, Leslie Ware, and their two English setters accompanied him for the four-month trek. Caputo interviewed 84 people along the way, wanting to find out “what American lives are like during this economic distress and during two long-fought wars.”

Caputo, a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago, is a former foreign correspondent who has worked in 51 countries.

A Vietnam War veteran, Caputo wrote the memoir “A Rumor of War,” which has sold more than 1.5 million copies since 1977 and has been translated into 15 languages. His most recent novel is “Crossers,” about illegal drug and immigrant smuggling along the Mexican-U.S. border.

Caputo, who winters in Patagonia, Ariz., is working on a new novel that takes place in northern Sonora, where there’s been incredible violence relating to the drug cartels. The protagonist is a missionary priest. “I’m always working on something,” says Caputo. “I can’t imagine myself retiring. I can imagine myself writing even if it’s not published. I’m one of these people who needs some higher purpose to get me out of bed in the morning.”

Tom McNeal
Tom McNeal

Tom McNeal won the Southern California Independent Bookseller’s Association award for his novel “Far, Far Away,” which was shortlisted for the 2013 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and is a finalist for an Edgar Award (to be announced in May). His short story, “What Happened to Tully,” was made into a film. He has collaborated with his wife on four young adult novels and a picture book, “The Dog Who Lost His Bob.”

McNeal received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of California at Irvine and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Along the way, he taught high school English, drove a school bus and substituted in a one-room schoolhouse. McNeal lives in Southern California, where he grows oranges.

Thomas Perry
Thomas Perry

Thomas Perry won an Edgar Award in 1983 for his debut mystery “The Butcher’s Boy,” followed by “Metzger’s Dog,” voted one of NPR’s “100 Killer Thrillers, Best Thrillers Ever.” Among Perry’s other 20-plus books are the Jane Whitfield series, debuting with “Vanishing Act,” which was included in the “100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century” by the Independent Mystery Bookseller’s Association. His most recent novel is “The Boyfriend.”

Perry received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a PhD. in English from the University of Rochester. He has worked in park maintenance and as a factory worker, teacher, commercial fisherman and university administrator. Perry lives in Southern California.

Jacqueline Winspear
Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear won the Agatha, Alex and Macavity awards for “Maisie Dobbs,” the first mystery in her nationally best-selling series about a female private investigator and psychologist in the rigidly stratified and male-dominated society of post-World War I England.

“Maisie Dobbs” was also nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel, named a New York Times Notable Book and described on NPR’s “Fresh Air” as part “Testament of Youth,” part Dorothy Sayers and part “Upstairs, Downstairs.” Her most recent Maisie Dobbs mystery is “Leaving Everything Most Loved.”

Born and raised in Kent, England and educated at the University of London’s Institute of Education, Winspear has worked in academic publishing, higher education and marketing. She moved to the United States in 1990 and now lives in California.

Elizabeth Burden will moderate the author presentations on March 13. Burden is host of the Thursday evening edition of “Arizona Illustrated/Arts” on Arizona Public Media, Channel 6. Mostly Books will sell books for signing at the event and artisan boutiques will be open.

Proceeds will benefit Sustaining the Mind, a Brandeis National Committee fund supporting neuroscience research and endowed scholarships for science students at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass.

BNC also will host a buffet dinner and jazz performance with the four featured authors at Skyline Country Club on Wednesday, March 12 at 6 p.m.

The luncheon is $70 for members, $80 for nonmembers, or $125 for seating with an author. The evening soirée is $75 for members, $85 for nonmembers. Combination tickets are available.

Send check payable to BNC by March 3 to Sorale Fortman, 6300 E. Speedway Blvd., #1321, Tucson, 85710 or call Sheila Rothenberg at 232-9559.