Book Talk: Founding Friends Luncheon

by Erica Moody

PEN/Faulkner’s literary luncheon series featured authors of kidnapped girls’ memoir. 

By Erica Moody

Photo by Finlay Lewis

Mary Jordan, Ambassador Anne Anderson, Kevin Sullivan and Willee Lewis

Literature lovers gathered for lunch on a beautiful spring Wednesday at the residence of the Irish Ambassador, Anne Anderson, for PEN/Faulkner’s last Founding Friends Luncheon until September.

We heard from Washington Post reporters Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, the Pulitzer Prize winning co-authors of the #1 New York Times bestseller “Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland” and got the chance to ask them questions and purchase books available from Politics & Prose.

“Hope” tells the unthinkable story of Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, two of the three women kidnapped and held in captivity for ten years by Cleveland school-bus driver Ariel Castro. Jordan and Sullivan worked with the survivors to tell their stories in a book that interweaves original reporting on the case. All proceeds from book sales go to the families of Berry and DeJesus.

Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan (Photo by Erica Moody)

Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan (Photo by Erica Moody)

“It’s a story of coping and hoping,” Jordan said, speaking of the girls’ hopes to one day escape and reunite with their families, and imagine a better life for Berry’s daughter Jocelyn. As journalists, Jordan and Sullivan found her journals to be a goldmine of information. They were able to read the journals and piece them together with the girls’ recollections to get the full story behind the headlines.

Founding Friends is an adjunct group of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation that offers special literary activities and events to the group’s members. Spotted at the luncheon were Buffy Cafritz, Lucky Roosevelt, PEN/Faulkner executive vice president Willee Lewis (who co-founded the group with Katherine Field Stephen), Finlay Lewis and Deborah Sigmund.

Visit for information on getting involved with PEN/Faulkner programs. Next on the events agenda is a discussion about Writers in Schools, a literary arts outreach program that brings well-known authors into urban public high schools. The evening will feature panelists including George Pelecanos, Rachel Broudy and Richard McCann with Susan Eisenhower as moderator, and will be held June 2 at the Scottish Rite Center.

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