Author Events

SLCL Presents Cynthia Branigan

Wednesday, October 20th, 7pm CST
St. Louis County Library, HEC Media, and Left Bank Books present Cynthia Branigan, "The Last Diving Horse in America: Rescuing Gamal and Other Animals--Lessons in Living and Loving."
Doc Carver’s High Diving Horses was one of the most popular acts on the Atlantic City Pier. Beginning in 1929, four times a day, seven days a week, a trained horse sailed forty feet through the air, plung­ing into a ten-foot-deep tank of water. Decades later, the act was shuttered, and Gamal, the last Atlantic City diving horse was placed on the auction block. Haunted by the act she’d seen as a child, Cynthia Branigan made the impulsive decision to out-bid the slaughterhouses. Branigan shares the magical story of how she and Gamal came to rescue each other--and how caring for Gamal led her to saving other animals and a surprising, but purposeful, life. 
Books available from Left Bank Books. Curbside pick-up, in-store pick-up, and shipping available.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 7:00pm

SLCL Presents David S. Reynolds

Monday, October 18th, 7pm CST
St. Louis County Library, HEC Media, and Left Bank Books present David S. Reynolds, "Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times".
In conversation with Renowned Historian HW Brands.
From one of the great historians of nineteenth-century America, “Abe” is a revelatory biography that brings Lincoln to life within his turbulent age. From New England Puritan stock on his father's side and Virginia Cavalier gentry on his mother's, Lincoln was linked by blood to the central conflict of the age. As a politician, he moved too slowly for some and too swiftly for many, but he always pushed toward justice while keeping the whole nation in mind. “Abe” culminates, of course, in the Civil War, the defining test of Lincoln and his beloved country. Reynolds shows us the extraordinary range of cultural knowledge Lincoln drew from as he shaped a vision of true union.
Books available from Left Bank Books. Curbside pick-up, in-store pick-up, and shipping available.
Monday, October 18, 2021 - 7:00pm

SLCL Presents N. West Moss

Thursday, October 14th, 7pm CST
St. Louis County Library, HEC Media, and Left Bank Books present N. West Moss, "Flesh & Blood: Reflections on Infertility, Family and Creating a Bountiful Life".
In conversation with Shellie Fidell, Psychotherapy Specialists - Missouri Baptist Medical Center.
N. West Moss’s remarkable memoir breaks the silence about infertility and will resonate with millions of women. “Flesh & Blood” follows Moss’s story through an emergency hysterectomy, complications, and recovery as her thoughts turn to her previous struggles with infertility. We  learn about the inspiring women in Moss's family as she sorts out her feeling that this line will end with her. Ultimately, Moss discovers that there are other ways besides having children to have a legacy, and that grief is not a stopping place but a companion that travels along with us through everything, even happiness.
Books available from Left Bank Books. Curbside pick-up, in-store pick-up, and shipping available.
Thursday, October 14, 2021 - 7:00pm

SLCL Presents Andrea Elliott

Friday, October 8th, 7pm CST
St. Louis County Library, HEC Media, and Left Bank Books present Andrea Elliott, "Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City."
In conversation with Chris Krehmeyer, President/CEO of Beyond Housing.
Drawing on nearly a decade of reporting, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Andrea Elliott tells the unforgettable story of Dasani Coates, a homeless girl whose indomitable spirit is tested by poverty and racism in an unequal America. Elliott weaves the story of Dasani’s childhood with the history of her family, tracing the passage of their ancestors from slavery to the Great Migration north. As Dasani comes of age, she must guide her siblings through a city riddled by hunger, violence, drug addiction, homelessness, and the monitoring of child protection services. By turns heartbreaking and inspiring, “Invisible Child” illuminates some of the most critical issues in America through the life of one remarkable girl.
Books available from Left Bank Books. Curbside pick-up, in-store pick-up, and shipping available.
Friday, October 8, 2021 - 7:00pm

VIRTUAL: Driven by Nature: Dr. Peter Raven’s Journey in Botany and Global Sustainability

Monday, October 11, 4pm CT
Register for the free event here

Dr. Peter H. Raven, Missouri Botanical Garden’s President Emeritus and George Engelmann Professor of Botany Emeriti at Washington University, will discuss Driven by Nature, his newly released autobiography that takes readers across multiple continents and decades. Driven by Nature follows the globetrotting botanist from China to the American Midwest as he works to foster concern for a changing planet, further the cause of biological education, and build the Missouri Botanical Garden into the world-renowned haven for plant life it is today. Barbara Schaal, the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor and a nationally recognized plant evolutionary biologist, will lead our discussion with Dr. Raven expanding on the autobiography and his relationship with WashU through his many years of work in Missouri and around the world.
More about Peter Raven: 
Peter H. Raven is one of the world’s leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity. Described by Time magazine as a “Hero for the Planet,” Raven champions research around the world to preserve endangered plants and is a leading advocate for conservation and a sustainable environment.

Raven joined the Department of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis in 1971 and two years later was appointed George Engelmann Professor of Botany, a position that had been created in 1884 and has been held by subsequent directors/presidents of the Missouri Botanical Garden for more than 130 years. He held this position until 2010, chairing, co-chairing, or serving on the committees of some 30 PhD students, often jointly with Prof. Barbara Schaal. Now emeritus, he continue to encourage relationships between the university and the garden.

For four decades, he headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured into a world-class center for botanical research, education, and horticultural display. He retired as president in 2010 and assumed the role of president emeritus and consultant through 2014.

In recognition of his work in science and conservation, Raven is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the prestigious International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan and the U.S. National Medal of Science, the country’s highest award for scientific accomplishment. He has held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships. He initiated and co-chaired the Flora of China project, which was completed in 50 volumes in 2013.
Raven was a member of President Bill Clinton’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He also served for 12 years as home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and is a member of the academies of science in Argentina, Brazil, China, Denmark, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, the UK, and several other countries.
Driven by Nature books are available for purchase online and in select shops. Visit online the local St. Louis favorite Left Bank Books, opened in 1969 by a group of graduate students at Washington University. Missouri Botanical Garden members receive a discount if they order online from MBG Press. Please contact for your 20% coupon code before ordering.


Register for the free event here!

Monday, October 11, 2021 - 4:00pm

Nina Mukerjee Furstenau with Ann Lemons Pollack - Green Chili and Other Imposters

Wednesday, October 27, 12pm CT
Left Bank Books' Facebook Live Page or YouTube Page


Left Bank Books welcomes Missouri author & M. F. K. Fisher Grand Prize for Excellence in Culinary Writing award-winning author
Nina Mukerjee Furstenau,
who will discuss her exploration of food history, 
Green Chili and Other Imposters,
on our Facebook Live Page at 12pm (noon) CT on October 27th.
Johnson will be in conversation with beloved St. Louis food writer
Ann Lemons Pollack.
Join us on our Facebook Live Page and order a copy of
from Left Bank Books to support authors and independent bookstores!


About Green Chili and Other Imposters

Follow a food trail and you'll find yourself crisscrossing oceans. Join M. F. K. Fisher Grand Prize for Excellence in Culinary Writing award-winning author Nina Mukerjee Furstenau as she picks through lost tastes with recipes as codes to everything from political resistance to comfort food and much more. Pinpoint the entry of the Portuguese in India by following green chili trails; find the origins of limes; trace tomatoes and potatoes in India to the Malabar Coast; consider what makes a food, or even a person, foreign and marvel how and when they cease to be.

Food history is a world heritage story that has all the drama of a tense thriller or maybe a mystery. Whose food is it? Who gets to tell its tale? Respect for food history might tame the accusations of appropriation, but what is at stake as food traditions and biodiversity ebb away is the great, and not always good, story of us.

"A compelling book with a remarkable mix of history, personal insights, and a genuine investment in making connections across continents, generations, and disciplines. I loved its wonderfully eclectic mix of themes, in terms of ingredients, communities, and historical traditions."--Jayanta Sengupta, director, Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata, India

"Early on in Furstenau's book, a sentence gave me pause: 'We have tired soils.' Given what you learn of her appreciation for the natural world, her pride and curiosity in all things food and culture, I could just as easily imagine myself reflecting on the state of the world and reading this as, 'We have tired souls.' But Furstenau also offers us a healing. Look around you, see who you are, where you come from, where you have made your home, and especially see, smell, taste, understand, and savor what you eat. I was mesmerized by this ambitious book--a blend of memoir, research, and food lore--from start to finish. From inside her farmhouse kitchen in Missouri to the home of a traditional cheesemaker outside Kolkata, from the fishpond in her grandmother's garden to the tea gardens of Makaibari, I walked with the author as she took me to multiple flavor-rich worlds."--Sayantani Dasgupta, author, Women Who Misbehave


About our Speakers

Nina Mukerjee Furstenau is author of Biting through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America's Heartland (Iowa, 2013), winner of the 2014 M. F. K. Fisher Grand Prize for Excellence in Culinary Writing. She lives in Columbia, Missouri.

Ann Lemons Pollack has been writing about food a good while, but not so long that she remembers all the restaurants in Lost Restaurants of St. Louis. She's reviewed restaurants, written cooking columns and traveled for food, and she was daring enough to cook for and then marry the restaurant critic of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Joe Pollack. Together, they wrote three guidebooks to St. Louis food and many food and travel stories. Ann carries on the tradition and is currently found monthly in and online at St. Louis Magazine and on her blog,, where she also writes about theater. She is also the author of Iconic Restaurants of St. Louis which came out in November 2020.


All you need to do to participate is log in to your personal Facebook account, go to Left Bank Books' Facebook Live Page, and wait for the livestream to begin on the page (you may need to refresh the page periodically until the stream begins). You may also watch the simulcast on Left Bank's YouTube channel.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 12:00pm

SLCL Presents Jackie Kay

Tuesday, October 5th, 7pm CST
St. Louis County Library, HEC Media, and Left Bank Books present Jackie Kay, "Bessie Smith: A Poet’s Biography of a Blues Legend."
In conversation with Gerald Early, Washington University - Chair of African and African American Studies.
Scotland’s National Poet, Jackie Kay blends poetry and prose to create a unique biography of the Empress of the Blues. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1854, Bessie Smith sang on street corners before becoming a big name in traveling shows. Her first recording with Columbia Records sold 780,000 copies and catapulted her to fame. Known for tough persona and her ability to enrapture audiences with her raw voice, the Empress of the Blues remains a force and an enigma. Kay creates an enthralling account of an extraordinary life and captures the soul of the woman she first identified with as a young Black girl growing up in Glasgow. 
Books available from Left Bank Books. Curbside pick-up, in-store pick-up, and shipping available.
Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - 7:00pm

LBB Celebrity Storytime: Amy Sklansky - Knock Knock, Trick or Treat!

Saturday, October 30, 10:15-10:45am CT
Left Bank Books
399 N. Euclid Ave
St. Louis, MO 63108
Outside (weather permitting)
Left Bank Books is excited to present an in person Celebrity Storytime!
We welcome St. Louis children's author
Amy Sklansky
who will read aloud and talk about how she made her new picture book
and lead us through a fun Halloween activity at Left Bank Books at 10:15am CT on October 30th.
Join us in person and order copies of Amy's books
from Left Bank Books to support authors and independent bookstores!
The event will precede the CWE Halloween Kids Costume Parade at 11am!
Halloween treats will be ready for participants of the event and parade!
About Knock Knock, Trick or Treat!: A Spooky Halloween Lift-The-Flap Book

Knock, knock, trick or treat! Knock on the doors and lift the flaps to see who's hiding inside this spooky haunted house!

Come with me, right down my street.
Who knows what creatures we might meet?
"Knock knock, trick-or-treat!
Give us something good to eat."

Knock on this haunted house to find out what kind of Halloween monsters are waiting inside...if you dare! From a ghost to a witch to a skeleton and more, little ones will love lifting the die-cut flaps to reveal the spooky surprises behind each door.

Amy E. Sklansky is the author of a dozen books for children, most of which are written in verse. As a kid, she dressed up as Laura Ingalls Wilder two Halloweens in a row. She has visited (in person and virtually) more than 150 schools and libraries from Turtle Lake, North Dakota, to Singapore. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she is fond of reading aloud and drinking fancy black tea as she crafts her stories.


Protective masks are required to enter the store for ages 2+ (Halloween masks are not permitted in the store for adults nor are they protective).

Unable to make the event? Order signed copies to be mailed anywhere in the country.

Saturday, October 30, 2021 - 10:15am

Colson Whitehead - Harlem Shuffle - In Person & Online

Thursday, October 28, 7pm CT
In Person at .ZACK & Online
Colson Whitehead: In Person & Online
Harlem Shuffle
In Conversation with G'Ra Asim
Thursday, October 28, 7pm CT
To attend IN PERSON visit MetroTix
To attend VIRTUALLY purchase Harlem Shuffle from Left Bank Books





IN PERSON: The in-person event will be held at .ZACK, 3224 Locust St., St. Louis, MO. Tickets for in-person attendance are available through MetroTix and include one signed copy of Harlem Shuffle. ​​​​​Tickets for the in-person event are not available to purchase at Left Bank Books' physical location.

**Proof of vaccination and mask will be required for entry to the in person event.** Guests will need to bring a photo ID AND either their physical vaccination card or a photo of their vaccination card.

Your copy of Harlem Shuffle will be available to pick up at the event.

ONLINE: To join us for the virtual presentation, purchase a copy of Harlem Shuffle from Left Bank Books either online, over the phone, or in the store. Please provide us with a valid email address for sending you the event link. We will email the link to join the virtually the day of the event.

Signed copies of Harlem Shuffle will be available for pick up or mail out the day after the event.

Colson will be doing a private signing before our in-person event on October 28th. 

Ordering now will guarantee you a signed copy, which will be ready for pickup or scheduled to ship on Friday, October 29th. 

Unsigned books purchased and picked up before the event will not be able to be signed by Colson at the event due to COVID restrictions. Additionally, we cannot honor exchanges of an unsigned copy for a signed copy after the event.



From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys, a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in Harlem in the 1960s.

Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked... To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture, making a decent life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver's Row don't approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it's still home.

Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his facade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time.

Cash is tight, especially with all those installment-plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace, Ray doesn't ask where it comes from. He knows a discreet jeweler downtown who doesn't ask questions, either.

Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa--the Waldorf of Harlem--and volunteers Ray's services as the fence. The heist doesn't go as planned; they rarely do. Now Ray has a new clientele, one made up of shady cops, vicious local gangsters, two-bit pornographers, and other assorted Harlem lowlifes.

Thus begins the internal tussle between Ray the striver and Ray the crook. As Ray navigates this double life, he begins to see who actually pulls the strings in Harlem. Can Ray avoid getting killed, save his cousin, and grab his share of the big score, all while maintaining his reputation as the go-to source for all your quality home furniture needs?

Harlem Shuffle's ingenious story plays out in a beautifully recreated New York City of the early 1960s. It's a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem.

But mostly, it's a joy to read, another dazzling novel from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning Colson Whitehead.


Colson Whitehead is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of ten works of fiction and nonfiction, and is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, for The Nickel Boys and The Underground Railroad, which also won the National Book Award. A recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.

G’Ra Asim, a writer and musician, is an assistant professor of nonfiction writing at Ithaca College. He has served as writing director at the African American Policy Forum and as graduate teaching fellow in Columbia’s Undergraduate Writing Program. His work has appeared in SlateSalonGuernicaThe Baffler, and The New Republic. When not writing prose or teaching, he sings, plays bass and writes lyrics for NYC DIY pop punk band babygotbacktalk, who were named one of AfroPunk’s “Top 8 Punkest Bands on the Planet Right Now.”


Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 7:00pm

Rebecca Solnit with adrienne maree brown - Orwell's Roses

Monday, October 25, 6pm CT
Private Online Event - Book Purchase Required

Left Bank Books, Literati Books, & Seminary Co-op Bookstores welcome writer, historian, and activist
Rebecca Solnit,
who will discuss her literary biography
Orwell's Roses,
on October 25th at 6pm CT in a private online event.
Solnit will be in conversation with bestselling author of Pleasure Activism and Emergent Strategy,
adrienne maree brown.
This is an exclusive event that requires purchase of a copy of
Orwell's Roses

from Left Bank Books for admission.


About Orwell's Roses

A lush exploration of roses, pleasure, and politics, and a fresh take on George Orwell as an avid gardener whose political writing was grounded in his passion for the natural world

"In the year 1936 a writer planted roses." So begins Rebecca Solnit's new book, a reflection on George Orwell's passionate gardening and the way that his involvement with plants, particularly flowers, and the natural world illuminates his other commitments as a writer and antifascist, and the intertwined politics of nature and power.

Sparked by her unexpected encounter with the surviving roses he planted in 1936, Solnit's account of this understudied aspect of Orwell's life explores his writing and his actions--from going deep into the coal mines of England, fighting in the Spanish Civil War, critiquing Stalin when much of the international left still supported him (and then critiquing that left), to his analysis of the relationship between lies and authoritarianism. Through Solnit's celebrated ability to draw unexpected connections, readers encounter the photographer Tina Modotti's roses and her Stalinism, Stalin's obsession with forcing lemons to grow in impossibly cold conditions, Orwell's slave-owning ancestors in Jamaica, Jamaica Kincaid's critique of colonialism and imperialism in the flower garden, and the brutal rose industry in Colombia that supplies the American market. The book draws to a close with a rereading of Nineteen Eighty-Four that completes her portrait of a more hopeful Orwell, as well as a reflection on pleasure, beauty, and joy as acts of resistance.

"I loved this book, and so will many. . . [Orwell] is re-envisioned as a joyous, hopeful, life-loving, toad-appreciating, baby-cherishing dad, but especially as an avid and energetic gardener . . . an exhilarating romp through Orwell's life and times and also through the life and times of roses." --Margaret Atwood

"A kaleidoscopic view of a man we thought we knew, by a woman who keeps surprising us with her dazzling mind. Solnit has written an exquisitely layered book soaring in its reach, subversive in its scope, and joyous in its pleasure to read. Her exploration into how and why cultivating beauty matters, alongside fighting injustices as Orwell's garden supported his fierce critique of fascism, reminds us of the singular fact: life is both flower and thorn. This profound and graceful book not only redefines what is 'Orwellian, ' it reimagines how we might live a life of greater intention by opening our hearts to what is beautiful, brave, and of Earth." --Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion

"Solnit shows that Orwell's politics were grounded in a vision of the good life that he conducted with gusto through some of the worst decades of the twentieth century. This was partly his nature and partly his political project; along with his famous lessons about the misuse of political language and power, he wanted people to understand that the life of a democratic socialist could and should include joy, as an already existing example of what might happen if we made a better world. A beautiful and important book." -- Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Ministry for the Future


About our Speakers

Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books, including Recollections of My NonexistenceA Field Guide to Getting LostThe Faraway NearbyA Paradise Built in HellRiver of Shadows, and Wanderlust. She is also the author of Men Explain Things to Me and many essays on feminism, activism and social change, hope, and the climate crisis. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a regular contributor to The Guardian and other publications.

adrienne maree brown is the writer-in-residence at the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, and author of Grievers (the first novella in a trilogy on the Black Dawn imprint), Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and MediationWe Will Not Cancel Us and Other Dreams of Transformative JusticePleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling GoodEmergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements and How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office. She is the cohost of the How to Survive the End of the WorldOctavia’s Parables and Emergent Strategy podcasts. adrienne is rooted in Detroit.


You may purchase a copy of Orwell's Roses from Left Bank Books online or by phone. You must provide an email address to be invited to the private online event. If you have purchased the book from Left Bank, you will receive an email event reminder a few days prior to the event. You will receive the email with the link to join the private online event the DAY OF the event.


Monday, October 25, 2021 - 6:00pm


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