Susi Q’s ‘Evening with an Author’ Event One For The Books 


Susi Q’s “Evening with an Author” event was another sold-out hit for local readers and writers eager to mingle with like-minded literary enthusiasts and hear from best-selling novelist Lisa See last Wednesday, Sept. 13.

(L-R) Executive director of Susi Q Nadia Babayi, novelist Lisa See, moderator Marrie Stone, writing instructor Lynette Brasfield and Susi Q Program and Marketing Director Jo Ann Ekblad take a break during last week’s sold-out “Evening with an Author” event. Photo/Jeffrey Rovner

More than 90 guests enjoyed a pre-show social hour, then listened as See chatted with Writers on Writing podcaster Marrie Stone about her latest novel, “Lady Tan’s Circle of Women,” which appeared on both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists earlier this year.  

Stone touched on what she called some of the “cringiest,” yet most compelling, parts of See’s newest work, like foot-binding descriptions, which the author noted was not only about beauty standards but also a way to keep women from running away from their husbands.

“What I want people to get from my books is that all people on the planet share common life experiences: falling in love, getting married, having children, dying, and share common emotions: love, hate, greed, jealousy,” See said at the event. “These are the universals. The differences are in the particulars of customs and culture.”

Stone said she thinks See’s novels are so popular because of their ability to transport its readers to another time and place so unlike their own and then psychologically bind us to her characters. 

“For several hundred pages, we feel like we’re living in another world and leading some extraordinary life we couldn’t otherwise imagine,” said Stone, a fan of See’s. “Lisa always finds unique and compelling subject matters largely left unexplored by other authors. And she allows her readers to fully inhabit them.”

Attendee Irina Ensminger said she was grateful to the Susi Q for what she described as a “wonderful treat.”

“[Lisa See’s] emphasis on female relationships in her books is what attracts me to her as a writer first and foremost,” Ensminger said. “My first ever female mentor and a role model was my grandmother, an uneducated woman who knew hundreds of prayers by heart and was respected by the whole village for her ability to heal. She belonged to Udmurt ethnic group in Russia, which has its own language and traditions. For me, hearing Lisa See talk about embracing her roots [and embracing friendships] was the highlight of last night’s meeting.”

Next February, Susi Q will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning author Héctor Tobar. A professor of English and Chicano/Latino Studies at University of California, Irvine, Tobar has penned six books including, “Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of ‘Latino.’”

He also wrote the New York Times bestseller, “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them Free.” 

For more information on The Susi Q, visit

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