PBS Books Readers Club – Allison Pataki

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Episode Description:

Join the PBS Books Readers Club as we chat with New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki about her latest book “Finding Margaret Fuller.” In this virtual discussion we’ll dive into this fascinating historical fiction read about the adventures of Margaret Fuller, a renowned writer, journalist, and trailblazing women’s rights advocate whose story has too often gone untold. This work is a book-lovers dream, telling the story of Fuller’s thrilling adventures and relationships with notable literary figures like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thorough, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allen Poe. Pataki’s captivating storytelling will transport you back in time to the 19th century, where Fuller’s intellect and passion for social change made her a force to be reckoned with. So, grab a cup of tea, cozy up in your favorite reading nook, and get ready to embark on a literary journey with Allison Pataki and the PBS Books Readers Club. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to connect with fellow book lovers and learn more about one of history’s most inspiring women.

About the Book:

Finding Margaret Fuller by Allison Pataki - Book Cover

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In 1836, when young, brazen, beautiful, and unapologetically brilliant Margaret Fuller accepts an invitation from Ralph Waldo Emerson, the celebrated “Sage of Concord,” to stay in Concord, MA, she finds her intellectual equals among his coterie of enlightened friends. She becomes a role model to young Louisa May Alcott, an inspiration to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s character of Hester Prynne and the scandalous Scarlet Letter, a friend to Henry David Thoreau as he ventures into the woods of Walden Pond…and a muse to Emerson himself. But as love triangles and interpersonal drama threaten her ambitions, Margaret finds her restless soul in need of new challenges and adventure and decides she must venture into the broader world.

And so she charts a singular course against a backdrop of dizzying historical drama: From Boston, where she hosts a women-only literary salon for students like Elizabeth Cady Stanton; to Harvard’s campus, where she is the first woman permitted to study within its walls; to her role as the first female foreign news correspondent, mingling with luminaries like Frederic Chopin; and to Rome where she finds a world of passion, romance, and revolution, taking a Roman count as a lover amid a revolution that would result in Italy’s unification.

With a star-studded cast and epic sweep of historical events, this is a story of an inspiring trailblazer, a woman who loved big and lived even bigger—a fierce adventurer who transcended the rigid roles ascribed to women, and changed history for millions, all on her own terms.

Guest Biography:

Allison Pataki

Allison Pataki is the New York Times bestselling author of The Traitor’s Wife, The Accidental Empress, Sisi, The Queen’s Fortune, and The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post. She is also the author of the nonfiction memoir Beauty in the Broken Places and the children’s books, Nelly Takes New York and Poppy Takes Paris. Her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages around the world; she has appeared on Today, Good Morning America, Good Day New York, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe among other outlets. 

She has several screenplay adaptations of her novels currently in development for film and television. Pataki graduated cum laude from Yale University and is a former news writer and producer, having written for The New York Times, USA Today, and other outlets. A member of The Historical Novel Society and a certified Yoga instructor, she lives in New York with her husband and family.

Readers Club Hosts:

Heather Marie Montilla - Headshot

Heather-Marie Montilla, a dynamic integrative leader, is an educator and nonprofit manager. She has worked in the nonprofit sector and libraries for over two decades, making a positive impact in arts, cultural, educational, and community-building arenas.

Having joined the PBS Books team as their Library Bureau Chief in Fall 2018, Montilla is now the National Director of PBS Books and has interviewed more than 150 writers. In addition, she is a faculty member at Michigan State University and Eastern Michigan University for their Arts and Cultural/Entertainment Management Programs. Having been an Executive Director for 8 years, Heather has a wide range of experience in management, finance, strategic planning, marketing, and fundraising. Heather holds a MPA From Columbia University, a MLIS from Wayne State University, and a bachelor’s from Duke University. She lives in Chicagoland, and is married with four children, a dog, and a bird.

Princess Weekes is an award winning writer and video essayist who works at breaking down the intersections between race, gender, and pop culture. Formally an Assistant Editor at The Mary Sue, co-host of Netflix’s The Geeked Podcast, and co-host and co-writer on the PBS Digital Series It’s Lit. On weekends she works as a bookseller at a local bookstore. When not reading or writing she can be found playing TTRPGs of cuddling with her cat, Lola.

Lauren Smith - Headshot

Executive Producer and host of national PBS programming at Detroit Public TV, Lauren develops content for PBS and other distributors of public media for broadcast, streaming, and other digital channels and has executive-produced and/or produced over 60 national broadcast and programs. Her passion is to develop inspiring, entertaining, and educational content alongside the best national and international talent, and to engage important content with communities across the country. Lauren loves to read and has worked to develop and produce PBS Books content for nearly ten years!

Fred Nahhat is an Emmy Award-winning producer, host, and presenter for Detroit’s PBS station, where he serves as Sr. VP of Production. A 30-year broadcast veteran, Fred has hosted and produced numerous programs for Public TV – including music specials from Il Volo, Celtic Gold and the New Divas – as well as other series and specials “New Year’s Eve with the DSO”, “The Detroit Dream Cruise,” “The PBS Books Readers Club” and “Get Up, Get Out,” among others.

He is a graduate of Wayne State University and a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Michigan Chapter, USA Hockey, and Leadership Detroit.

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