Lectures & Speaking Topics

Chocolate and the History of American Candy
Katharine Weber's immersion in the candy industry while she researched and wrote her satiric novel True Confections has given her an insider's knowledge of the delectable history and politics of chocolate and candy in America. Warning: This entertaining talk triggers chocolate and candy cravings and goes well with dessert!
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911
As the granddaughter of an immigrant seamstress who finished buttonholes at the Triangle Waist Company in 1909, Katharine Weber's own family history was one of the inspirations for her fictional exploration of the events and consequences of that historic 1911 fire in her contemporary novel. (She appeared in the 2011 HBO 100th anniversary documentary film.) Her talk can be tailored for audiences interested in learning about the fire and its historic significance -- from the ashes of the Triangle fire came regulation, empowered unions, and the New Deal -- or for audiences interested in a discussion of this novel's depiction of and relationship to the historic events of the Triangle fire and its aftermath.
George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and the American Songbook
Katharine Weber's memoir, The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My family's Legacy of Infidelities, sheds light on her grandmother's romance with the celebrated composer (Kay Swift, composer of the enduring hit songs "Fine and Dandy" and "Can't We Be Friends?" was the love of George Gershwin's life, though she was married to banker Jimmy Warburg, her lyricist, for most of the decade of their romance), and offers a unique, insider's sense of how their deepest connection was through their music. This talk can be enhanced by a cabaret-style musical performance, with Aaron Gandy, artistic advisor to the Kay Swift Trust (http://www.aarongandy.com/) at the piano, accompanying one or two vocalists singing Swift and Gershwin songs.
Vermeer and the Narrative Impulse
Katharine Weber's second novel, The Music Lesson, was the first of the "Vermeer novels" that flowed from many novelist's pens in the wake of the 1996 Vermeer exhibition in Washington and The Hague. In this illustrated talk she offers insights into how and why the intimacy and ambiguity of Vermeer's paintings invite the invention of narrative in such beguiling and enduring fashion.

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