AAUW’s Annual Literary Luncheon Returns


By Kathryn Lang-Slattery

The 33rd Annual Literary Luncheon, the primary fundraiser of AAUW Laguna Beach Branch, will be held at the Surf and Sand Resort on Saturday, March 28. The 2020 author speakers will be Rufi Thorpe, Jill G. Hall, and Maggie Shipstead.

Author Rufie Thorpe will talk about how she is able to present dark subjects with humor and empathy.

Rufi Thorpe has had two novels published and a third is on the way. Thorpe’s first novel, “The Girls from Corona del Mar,” explores childhood friendship and the challenges of the sheer unexpectedness of life. Thorpe’s second novel, “Dear Fang, with Love,” is told in two voices: Lucas, a well-meaning, weekend dad and his teenage daughter, Vera, whose emails to her boyfriend reveal her growing instability. Rufi Thorpe’s third book, “The Knockout Queen,” to be released this April, is about unruly thoughts and bodies and doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. Thorpe tackles issues such as estranged families, mental illness, teen angst, physical disability, gay coming of age, and failed relationships with a sense of humor and palpable empathy.


Jill G. Hall, a San Diego author of dual-timeline historical fiction, will speak at AAUW Literary Luncheon on March 28.

San Diego author, educator, and artist, Jill G. Hall, writes dual-timeline historical novels that share the same contemporary character, Anne, a young San Francisco based artist who loves vintage fashion. The historical stories of her first two books, “The Black Velvet Coat” and “The Silver Shoes,” take place respectively in the 1960s and in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Hall’s upcoming book, “The Green Lace Corset,” will link Anne to a woman in 1885 who is kidnapped by a bank robber and whisked away to the wild west of Arizona’s northern territory. The juxtaposition of a contemporary story and a historical one allows Jill G. Hall to highlight the differences between women’s lives today and the experiences of women in the past.


Maggie Shipstead, traveler and author, will talk about her novels and her many travel articles.

Maggie Shipstead, a frequent contributor to Travel + Leisure magazine, as well as many other topnotch journals, has also published two best-selling novels. The New York Times Book Review said of Shipstead’s break-out novel, “Seating Arrangements,” “Beneath the surface of this summery romp lie animosities, well-paced sexual suspense and a clash between appearances and authenticity.” Her second novel, “Astonish Me,” tells of love, parenthood, secrets, and the world of ballet. Shipstead is working on a third novel, “Great Circle,” that weaves together three plot lines: the 1950s disappearance of a female solo aviator, the backstory of her early life, and the experiences of a contemporary actress immersed in the role of the aviator.

Books by all the authors will be on sale both before and after the AAUW Literary Luncheon on March 28, and the speakers will be available to sign readers’ books. The Literary Luncheon furthers the AAUW promise to help deserving women and girls, and through them, society at large—a promise of equity, leadership, scholarship, and excellence.

The Surf & Sand Resort is located at 1555 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. Doors open at 11 a.m. for a no-host bar, a silent auction, opportunity drawings, book sales and to meet the authors. The luncheon and program run from noon to 2:30 p.m.. Paid reservations postmarked by March 20 are $95 ($110 afterwards if space available). Checks should be made out to AAUW Laguna Beach Foundation (AAUWLBF) and mailed to: AAUWLBF, P.O. Box 189, Laguna Beach, CA 92652. $59 is tax deductible. For more information, email [email protected] or visit [email protected] Or contact Audrey Locke at [email protected] or 949-291-4987.

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