Sheila Rogers, the founder and co-chair of East Hampton Library’s annual Authors Night, is typically too busy making sure the event runs smoothly to pick up all the books she wants by the end of the cocktail party, and get them signed.
But this year, she is coming prepared: Ms. Rogers, who is also the East Hampton Library Board of Managers president, said she is making a list to ensure she doesn’t miss out on a single book that she wants to add to her collection.
Guests will pay $100 for admission to the cocktail party and signing this Saturday, August 13, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., and may purchase as many autographed books at they like.
“We’ll have about 100 authors, and we definitely have more bestsellers than we’ve ever had before,” East Hampton Library Director and Authors Night Committee Co-Chair Dennis Fabiszak said. “All of the authors are volunteering to be there. All of the books have been donated by the publishers, and the book sale money goes directly to the library as a 100-percent donation, as do all of the ticket sales.”
He noted that the library raises more than 10 percent of its annual operating budget from the event, which is in its 12th year. The event supports all of the library’s programming—there is never a fee for any library program thanks to Authors Night, he explained.
“We raise a lot of our operating budget, rather than depending on the taxpayer,” Ms. Rogers said. “It’s something we’re very proud of. We model ourselves after the New York Public Library in that respect.”
In 2015, Authors Night grossed more than $300,000, Mr. Fabiszak noted, adding, “I think we’re in line to do the same this year, if not better.”
About 2,500 guests are expected to attend the book signing portion of the event under a tent on a field on Maidstone Lane. Of those guests, 600 will also attend dinners hosted by members of the East Hampton community, with each of the 25 dinners welcoming one or more authors as guests of honor.
Ms. Rogers is looking forward to dinner with Lyndon Johnson biographer Robert A. Caro, who is an honorary co-chair of the event.
Guests leave with anywhere from one book, to multiple boxes of books that they plan to give away as presents, Mr. Fabiszak said.
As guests enter, East Hampton Library’s version of the iconic New York Public Library lions will greet them. Gwyneth Paltrow, with “It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook,” and Christie Brinkley, with “Timeless Beauty,” will be situated near the entrance signing their newest books.
Among the television personalities will be celebrity chef Eric Ripert of “Avec Eric” and “Parts Unknown,” and sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Mr. Ripert will sign his memoir “32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table to Working the Line,” and Dr. Ruth—as she is known—will sign “Dr. Ruth’s Sex After 50.”
Throughout the tent there will be a number of authors whose fame transcends the literary world. Many are East End locals—at least part-time—including Ina Garten, who will sign “Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook,” and Dick Cavett, who will offer “Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments and Assorted Hijinks.”
Mary Higgins Clark will sign “As Time Goes By,” and Nelson DeMille will sign “Radiant Angel,” from his John Corey series. Both authors are prolific suspense novelists, and both are among the honorary co-chairs.
Also among the local authors are Steven Gaines with his memoir “One of These Things First,” Tom Clavin with his historical nonfiction book “Reckless: The Racehorse Who Became a Marine Corps Hero,” and Phil Keith with another history book, “Stay the Rising Sun: The True Story of USS Lexington, Her Valiant Crew, and Changing the Course of World War II.” Matt Marinovich will sign his psychological thriller “The Winter Girl,” which is set in Shinnecock Hills.
Some authors will fly in from the West Coast just for the event, but the writer coming from farthest afield is perhaps Alaskan novelist Eowyn Ivey, who was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her new book is “To the Bright Edge of the World.”
“We have such a wide range of books, it’s just fantastic,” Ms. Rogers said. There are five cookbooks, four political books, many biographies. “We have memoirs, we have novels—so, whatever your interest is.”
“It’s absolutely a great time and I think they really appreciate supporting a great cause,” Mr. Fabiszak said of the guests. “The library has really flourished in the past few years, and they feel like they’re a part of that because they help contribute by attending the event.”
When the event was new, there were approximately 20 authors, grossing between $80,000 and $90,000. “It’s not the same event anymore. It’s come into a life of its own,” Mr. Fabiszak said. “Now we’re bombarded by publishers and authors who want to be a part of it, because it really has become one of the largest literary events on the East Coast.”
For tickets, visit authorsnight.org. The signing is $100. To attend the signing and a dinner, the cost is $300.