This is an in-person event, and seating is first come, first served.
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Three Muses is a love story that enthralls: a tale of Holocaust survival venturing through memory, trauma, and identity, while raising the curtain on the unforgiving discipline of ballet. In post-WWII New York, John Curtin suffers lasting damage from having been forced to sing for the concentration camp kommandant who murdered his family. John trains to be a psychiatrist, struggling to wrest his life from his terror of music and his past. Katya Symanova climbs the arduous path to Prima Ballerina of the New York State Ballet, becoming enmeshed in an abusive relationship with her choreographer, who makes Katya a star but controls her life. When John receives a ticket to attend a ballet featuring Katya Symanova, a spell is cast. As John and Katya follow circuitous paths to one another, fear and promise rise in equal measure. Song, Discipline, and Memory weave their way through love and loss, heartbreak and triumph.
Martha Anne Toll writes fiction, essays, and book reviews, and reads anything that’s not nailed down. Her debut novel, Three Muses, won the Petrichor Prize for Finely Crafted Fiction. Martha brings a long career in social justice to her work covering BIPOC and women writers. She is a book reviewer and author interviewer at NPR Books, the Washington Post, The Millions, and elsewhere; and publishes short fiction and essays in a wide variety of outlets.
Toll will be in conversation with Michelle Brafman, the author of Bertrand Court: Stories and the novel Washing the Dead. Her new novel, Swimming with Ghosts, will be published in June of 2023 by Turner Publishing. Michelle’s essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Slate, LitHub, The Forward, Tablet, The Nervous Breakdown, and elsewhere. She teaches in the Johns Hopkins University MA in Writing Program and founded The Glen Echo Writers’ Workshop, a monthly gathering of poets and memoir and fiction writers.