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We're fascinated to see what comes out of a conversation between Patrick deWitt, of The Sisters Brothers fame, and Maria Semple, of, well, you know. They'll share the stage at Seattle's Central Library on September 6, when deWitt stops here on tour with his new book, French Exit.

These are two extraordinarily funny writers, and both lean toward the wry. But deWitt's humor is dark, astringent — leavened by his very fine sense of the ridiculous. Semple's comedy is warmly human, not without its shadows, but overall sunny side up. Put them side by side, and we anticipate a rich conversation — and yes, a lot of laughter.

And French Exit itself looks like classic deWitt: Widow Frances, her son Malcolm, and their cat (or is he really the spirit of Frances’ late husband?) try to escape their dire straits by heading to Paris. it's a send-up of high society and a moving mother/son caper (so maybe not so un-Bernadette-ish after all?). Semple calls it "my favorite book of his yet"; Andrew Sean Greer says it made him "feel as if I have downed a third martini, stayed up past sunrise, and still woken up refreshed."

If you'd like to feel like that too, join this week's sponsor on September 6. Books will be available for sale and signing after the event.

This event is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation, author series sponsor Gary Kunis, and media sponsor The Seattle Times, and presented in partnership with the Elliott Bay Book Company.

Speaker bios

Patrick deWitt is the author of the critically acclaimed Ablutions: Notes for a Novel, as well as The Sisters Brothers, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize. Born in British Columbia, he has also lived in California and Washington, and now resides in Portland, Oregon.





Maria Semple is the author of This One Is Mine and Where'd You Go, Bernadette, which has been translated into eighteen languages. She lives in Seattle.







Bonus for book design geeks: covers of select editions of deWitt's previous books (though not, sadly, this one) were designed by Portland-based illustrator and designer Dan Stiles. If you've been to Flatstock, or looked at the cover of the Seattle Weekly, you've seen his work — it's perfect for deWitt (though the cover of French Exit is very well done too!).