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luncheon with the authors 2023

The Allentown Art Museum Society of the Arts (SOTA) proudly presents its eleventh annual fundraising event Luncheon With The Authors on October 5, 2023. The event will be held at Lehigh Country Club in Allentown.

Three nationally-acclaimed authors, Brendan Slocumb, Rae Meadows, and Oindrila Mukherjee will share remarks, participate in a panel discussion, and sign books for attendees.

Emmy Award winning PBS39 reporter Brittany Sweeney will emcee for the benefit.


SOTA's Luncheon with the Authors gives the public an excellent opportunity to participate in an engaging discussion by three authors about their books, meet and speak personally with them, and pose questions during the panel discussion.  

The SOTA “Luncheon With The Authors” Committee members spend months reading more than one dozen books before deciding on the three authors, basing their choices not only on the authors' storytelling abilities, but also on how they would be as a panelist in providing a lively discussion with the event attendees.

Luncheon With The Authors benefits educational programs at the Allentown Art Museum, the SOTA Print Fund and the SOTA Education Endowment. Books purchased through SOTA also benefit the Allentown Art Museum.

The Details

  • Luncheon with the Authors 2023 will be held 

Thursday, October 5, 2023 | 11am - 2pm​

Lehigh Country Club, 2319 S Cedar Crest Blvd, Allentown, PA 18103

  • Tickets are will be available for purchase below beginning August 1. Tickets will sell out fast!

  • Menu:

Salad with roast pears, dried cherries, gorgonzola wedge, and Raspberry vinaigrette 

Creamy Polenta with a hearty fall vegetable ragout topped with a breast of chicken

Chocolate Sorbet with Raspberry Coulis


  • Entire menu is gluten Free; Vegan or Vegetarian is served without the chicken or the cheese

the authors


Brendan slocumb

The Violin Conspiracy

Growing up Black in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian’s life is already mapped out. But Ray has a gift and a dream—he’s determined to become a world-class professional violinist, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his mother, who wants him to stop making such a racket; not the fact that he can’t afford a violin suitable to his talents; not even the racism inherent in the world of classical music. 
When he discovers that his beat-up, family fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, all his dreams suddenly seem within reach, and together, Ray and his violin take the world by storm. But on the eve of the renowned and cutthroat Tchaikovsky Competition—the Olympics of classical music—the violin is stolen, a ransom note for five million dollars left in its place. Without it, Ray feels like he’s lost a piece of himself. As the competition approaches, Ray must not only reclaim his precious violin, but prove to himself—and the world—that no matter the outcome, there has always been a truly great musician within him.

Brendan Slocumb was raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a degree in music education, concentrations on Violin and Viola. For the past two decades, he has been a public and private school music educator from kindergarten through twelfth grade, teaching general music, orchestra and guitar ensembles. His students were often chosen for district and regional orchestras. In 2005, Brendan was named Teacher of the Year for Robert E. Lee High School; he has been named to Who’s Who of American teachers, and is a Nobel Teacher of distinction. Brendan also serves as an educational consultant for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He has performed with orchestras throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., such as the Washington Metropolitan Symphony, the McLean Symphony, the Prince George's Philharmonic, and the Alexandria Symphony. He has served as the concertmaster for the NOVA-Annandale Symphony Orchestra and regularly performs chamber music with members of the Alexandria Chamber Music Society.

Brendan published his first novel, THE VIOLIN CONSPIRACY, a Good Morning America Book Club Pick, in 2022. In 2023, Brendan published his second novel, SYMPHONY OF SECRETS (Anchor Books), about a music historian who discovers that the world's greatest composer may have stolen the music from a neurodivergent Black woman – and the powers-that-be will do anything to silence the historian. Brendan is now at work on his third novel, to be published in early 2025.


Rae MEadows

Winterland: A Novel

In 1970, in an Arctic town on the far edge of the Soviet Union, a young mother disappears leaving a mystery that haunts her husband and daughter. In the years that follow, Anya becomes a gymnast, part of the grueling state system. Her world is a small constellation: her father Yuri, a one-time crusader for the Party, her friend Sveta, whose fate soon veers sharply from Anya’s, her neighbor Vera, an old woman who survived ten years in a Gulag camp, and her coach Anatoly, both cruel and tender, who will push her as far as she can go. At the national training center outside Moscow Anya meets fellow gymnast Elena who will change everything. 

From the wild tundra of Norilsk to the glittering heights of the golden age of Soviet gymnastics to gritty late-nineties Brooklyn, Winterland is the story of a woman—and an era—shaped by glory and loss, about forging a life when you no longer are what you were.

 Rae Meadows is the author of I Will Send Rain (2016), which was shortlisted for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. Her first novel, Calling Out, received the 2006 Utah Book Award for fiction and was named an Entertainment Weekly Must Read, a Book Sense Notable Novel, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her second novel, No One Tells Everything, was named a Notable Novel by Poets & Writers and was awarded Honorable Mention in the Anne Powers Fiction Prize. Mercy Train (released in hardback as Mothers and Daughters) was chosen as a Target Emerging Authors selection and was published in multiple languages. Winterland is her fifth novel.

Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals as well as in Contexts, Under Purple Skies: The Minneapolis Anthology, and online at NPR, Lit Hub, and PEN Center USA. 

Rae received a B.A. in Art History from Stanford University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Utah. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY. She can often be found at Chelsea Piers, training in adult gymnastics.


oindrila mukherjee

The Dream Builders

After living in the US for years, Maneka Roy returns home to India to mourn the loss of her mother and finds herself in a new world. The booming city of Hrishipur where her father now lives is nothing like the country where she grew up, and the more she sees of this new, sparkling city, the more she learns that nothing—and no one—here is as it appears. Ultimately, it will take an unexpected tragic event for Maneka and those around her to finally understand just how fragile life is in this city built on aspirations.

Written from the perspectives of ten different characters, Oindrila Mukherjee’s incisive debut novel explores class divisions, gender roles, and stories of survival within a society that is constantly changing and becoming increasingly Americanized. It’s a story about India today, and people impacted by globalization everywhere: a tale of ambition, longing, and bitter loss that asks what it really costs to try and build a dream.

Oindrila Mukherjee grew up in India, where she worked as a journalist for the country's oldest English language newspaper The Statesman. She has attended university on three continents and now lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she teaches creative writing at Grand Valley State University. Her work has appeared in Salon, Kenyon Review Online, Ecotone, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Oxford Anthology of Bengali Literature, The Colorado Review, and elsewhere. She was the creative writing fellow in fiction at Emory University from 2009 to 2011. She has been the recipient of a Nehru Chevening Centenary Scholarship from the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, the Diana P Hobby Prize from Inprint Houston, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers Conference and a fellowship from the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts. She is a contributing editor for Aster(ix), a literary and arts magazine committed to social justice. She created a book series called Bottom Shelf for the Indian magazine, where she writes about lesser known or forgotten Indian books in English. She is the author of the debut novel The Dream Builders, published in January 2023.

Meet the emcee


Brittany Sweeney, a 2020 Emmy® Award Winner for Video Journalist, is passionate about telling compelling stories in her home state of Pennsylvania. Prior to her role with PBS39, Sweeney was the anchor of Eyewitness News at 7 p.m. on WYOU and a general assignment reporter for Eyewitness News at 11 p.m. She also became the host and producer of the area's only lifestyle show, PA Live at 4 p.m. daily. Her most memorable and intense experience in northeast Pennsylvania was covering the Eric Frein manhunt after an ambush-style attack on a state police barracks. Sweeney is a proud Temple University graduate who is always looking for intriguing story ideas in Berks County.

Contact Fran Favretto at 917.744.8060 or

To arrange for delivery of book your purchase(s) please contact one of the

Luncheon with the Authors organizers:

Sera Duffy (610-730-4169/ )

Deb Sanek (610.295.9895 / )

2023 Luncheon With The Authors
2023 Luncheon With The Authors
Oct 05, 11:00 AM
Lehigh Country Club

Thank you for supporting SOTA! 

All donations and ticket amounts in excess of $45 are tax deductible.  

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