Roger Rosenblatt Lives in the Basement and Does Nothing?

South Fork author, professor and memoirist Roger Rosenblatt is launching a new play, “Lives in the Basement, Does Nothing: A Writing Life,” with performances on Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m. at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor.

The show includes “almost surprise appearances” by authors Amy Hempel  on Friday, April 26 and Alice McDermott on Saturday, April 27.

The New York Times says “Rosenblatt writes the way a great jazz musician plays, moving from one emotion to another, seeking only to surprise himself.” 

Mr. Rosenblatt sees it such: Writing makes justice desirable, evil intelligible, grief endurable and love possible. Talking, singing and playing the piano, he performs this seriocomic one-person show about the rewards, humiliations and sheer madness of being a writer. 

Mr. Rosenblatt is the author of five New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and three Times bestsellers, including the memoirs “Kayak Morning,” “The Boy Detective,” and “Making Toast,” which was originally an essay in The New Yorker. 

He has also written six Off-Broadway plays, including “Free Speech in America,” a one-person play that he performed at New York’s American Place Theater and was one of the Times Ten Best Plays of 1991, as well as the screenplay for his novel, “Lapham Rising,” shooting scheduled to begin this summer, and starring Frank Langella and Candice Bergen.

Mr. Rosenblatt serves as a Distinguished Professor of English and Writing at Stony Brook Southampton, and formerly held the Briggs-Copeland appointment in the teaching of writing at Harvard, where he earned his Ph.D. 

Among his honors are two George Polk awards, the Peabody and the Emmy for his work as an essayist at Time magazine and on PBS; the Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize; a Fulbright Scholarship; seven honorary doctorates; the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement; and the President’s Medal of the Chautauqua Institution for his body of work. 

Amy Hempel is the author of “The Dog of the Marriage,” “Tumble Home,” and “At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom.” She is a recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Ambassador Book Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and numerous grants from Yaddo. Her stories have appeared in Harper’s, Vanity Fair, GQ, Tin House, The Harvard Review, The Quarterly, and have been widely anthologized. She teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at Bennington College, and at Stony Brook Southampton.

Alice McDermott’s critically acclaimed eighth novel, “The Ninth Hour,” was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award and The 2017 Kirkus Prize for Fiction. Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and others named “The Ninth Hour” among the top works of fiction in 2017. Her seventh novel, “Someone,” in 2013 was a New York Times bestseller, a finalist for the Dublin IMPAC Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Patterson Prize for Fiction, and The Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Three of her previous novels, “After This,” “At Weddings and Wakes” and “That Night” were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2013, she was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame.  She is the Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. 

Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 when purchased the day of the event and are on sale now at or by calling the Box Office at 631.725.9500. The box office is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., or until show time.

East End Beacon

The East End Beacon is your guide to social and environmental issues, arts & culture on the East End of Long Island.

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