Novelist Paul Auster visits the Stephen Crane House Nov. 20, in a special event keyed to “Burning Boy,” his study of the classic American author and onetime Asbury Park resident.
His literary legacy has been praised by famous wordsmiths ranging from Ernest Hemingway and “Invisible Man” author H.G. Wells, to Tom Wolfe and now acclaimed contemporary writer Paul Auster joins the long list of people who have claimed inspiration from, and passion for, the words of Stephen Crane.
The 19th century storyteller, poet and journalist best known for the classic novel “The Red Badge of Courage” lived in his mother’s home at 508 Fourth Ave., Asbury Park as a teenager, during which time he composed his first attempt at a short story and picked up his first professional writing experience as a cub reporter for his brother Townley’s locally based news service. A recent inductee to the New Jersey Hall of Fame, the Newark-born Crane came into this world in 1871 — the same year as the founding of Asbury Park — and in November 2021, the 150th birthday of the self-proclaimed “true Jerseyman” was marked with the publication of fellow Newark native Paul Auster’s “Burning Boy,” a biographical study of Stephen Crane’s life and work that Russell Banks called “the most profound homage by one writer to another that I’ve ever read.”
On Sun., Nov. 20, Auster, the Brooklyn-based novelist (The New York Trilogy, “The Book of Illusions,” “The Music of Chance”) and occasional filmmaker (“Smoke,” “Blue in the Face”) visits the historic Stephen Crane House for a reading and signing event keyed to the paperback edition release of “Burning Boy.”
Presented by the Asbury Park Historical Society in partnership with the member-owned collective Asbury Book Co-Op, the 3 p.m. program includes a discussion with the author, led by Professor Stanley Blair of Monmouth University, following which the floor will be opened to questions from the audience.
“On behalf of the Historical Society, we’re all very pleased and thrilled to welcome Mr. Auster to our state and national historic site,” said Crane House writer in residence Tom Chesek. “As the Garden State’s only landmark dedicated to the memory of its celebrated native son, we’re proud to offer this program as the latest in a long line of annual Crane salutes that have included ‘radio play’ adaptations of his writings, lectures, documentaries, screenings of feature films from his works, and staged theater pieces on Stephen and his common-law wife, Cora.”
Doors open at 2:30 p.m. for the 3 p.m. program, for which masks are required inside the event space. Limited seating tickets are priced at $30, and include a paperback signing copy of “Burning Boy,” with additional Auster titles available for purchase at the event and donations welcomed for the nonprofit Society to Protect Journalists. Admissions can be reserved at https:/bit.ly/AusterAP, with additional info on this and other upcoming events available by calling (732)361-0189.