The Associates of the Boston Public Library hosted its 33rd Annual Literary Lights dinner on Sunday, April 30, at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. Literary Lights is the Associates’ largest annual fundraiser and one of its primary sources of support for its preservation initiatives. This black-tie-optional event honoring outstanding writers from the Northeast successfully raised over a half-a-million dollars of vital funds to support the preservation of the Boston Public Library’s Special Collections.
Emcee Jared Bowen, the Emmy award–winning host of Open Studio with Jared Bowen on GBH, engaged the crowd of 450 guests. Acclaimed author and historian Jill Lepore was the keynote speaker, presented by Diane Paulus, the Tony Award–winning Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University. Speaking honorees were novelist Dave Eggers, lawyer Scott Turow, historian Heather Cox Richardson, and journalist Alex Beam. Poet Claudia Rankine was honored by her friend Peter Muz in her absence. The Associates’ board chair, Alyce Lee, welcomed the audience. Boston Public Library president, David Leonard, also spoke. Introducing the “Lights” were radio hosts Margery Eagan and Jim Braude, investigative journalist Jane Mayer, poet Charles Coe, author Joe Finder, and poet Asiyah Herrera. Linda Pizzuti Henry served as the evening’s honorary chair, with co-chairs Julia Cabiness Shivers, Christy Scott Cashman, and Lisa Pierpont.
Notable attendees included John Henry; Emily Rooney; Matthew Teitelbaum, Director of the Museum of Fine Arts; Andrea Kaylin, Director of New England Conservatory; and acclaimed Boston authors Doris Kearns Goodwin, William Martin, Andrea Cohen, Jack Gantos, and Stona Fitch. Live music was performed by the Vosges Quartet with principal violinist Eric Chen. The Fairmont Copley Plaza Executive Chef, Zaid Khan, served tomato saffron consommé and little leaf greens, with a choice of smoked tenderloin of beef or charred cauliflower steak, followed by a trio of Parisian desserts.
The Associates of the Boston Public Library is an independent nonprofit organization that awards grants to conserve, catalog, digitize, and exhibit the Boston Public Library’s magnificent Special Collections—from rare books and manuscripts, to musical scores, artworks, and other items of artistic, historic, and cultural interest. Proceeds from the Literary Lights dinner support the David McCullough Conservation Fund, the William O. Taylor Art Preservation Fund, the Associates’ Endowment Fund, and the Associates’ operations.