Tom Perrotta & Maria Semple

The Human Comedy:
Serious Humor in the American Novel

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
7:30 PM

Purchase a single ticket for $15 (buy

Folger Shakespeare Library – Elizabethan Theatre
201 East Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC 20003


Tom Perrotta - author photo © Mark Ostow

Tom Perrotta is the author of eight books, most recently The Leftovers and Nine Inches.  Two of his novels—Election and Little Children—have been made into award-winning movies.  Perrotta grew up in New Jersey and now lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

In his Seattle Times review of The Leftovers, Ken Armstrong says “Perrotta combines absurd circumstance and authentic character to wondrous effect, turning his story into a vivid exploration of what we believe, what matters most, and how, if untethered, we move on.” Read the full review here and Gregory Cowles’s New York Times profile of the author here

Purchase books by Tom Perrotta. 


Maria Semple author photo - © Leta Warner

Maria Semple is the author of the novels Where’d You Go, Bernadette? and This One Is Mine. Before turning to fiction, she wrote for the television shows Mad About You, Ellen, and Arrested Development. Her writing has appeared in the New Yorker. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Writing for the New York Times Book Review, Janet Maslin calls Where’d You Go, Bernadette “a divinely funny, many-faceted novel.” You can read the full review here, and find Greg Olear’s interview with Semple at the Nervous Breakdown here

Purchase books by Maria Semple.  


Linda Holmes author photoModerator Linda Holmes is the editor of NPR’s pop culture blog, Monkey See, and the host of the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. A happily lapsed one-time attorney, she can now be found writing madly, wrangling her DVR, strategically freeing up space on her Kindle, seeking the perfect seat at the movies, and drinking too much coffee the morning after every awards show. Her work has also been seen at Television Without PityNew York Magazine‘s Vulture blog,, and TV Guide

Listen to the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast here