J. Ryan Stradal Author Event on April 6 at 12:30 PM. Gibson Community Music Hall Appleton, WI

Saturday, April 6, 2024

  • 12:30 PM
2024 FCBF a free author event with Brendan Slocumb on April 6 at 2:00 pm. Gibson Community Hall in Appleton, WI.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

2024 Fox Cities Book Festival Presents

J. Ryan Stradal and Brendan Slocumb

April 6, 2024

  • The 2024 Fox Cities Book Festival invites you to attend a free event with J. Ryan Stradal, author of Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club.

  • Saturday, April 6, 2024

  • 12:30 PM

  • Gibson Community Music Hall 211 W. College Ave. Appleton, WI 54911

  • The 2024 Fox Cities Book Festival invites you to attend a free event with Brendan Slocumb, author of The Violin Conspiracy and Symphony of Secrets.

  • Saturday, April 6, 2024

  • 2:00 PM

  • Gibson Community Music Hall 211 W. College Ave. Appleton, WI 54911

About the Authors

SO FAR: J. Ryan Stradal lives and works in Los Angeles County, California.

His latest novel, Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club, published by Viking / Pamela Dorman Books in April 2023, is an instant national bestseller. The novel is, “the story of Mariel and Ned, a couple from two very different restaurant families in rustic Minnesota, and the legacy of love and tragedy, of hardship and hope, that unites and divides them.”

It debuted at #11 on the national ABA Indiebound list, #7 on the Los Angeles Times list, and was the #1 selling hardcover fiction book among independent bookstores in the Midwest its first week of release. Roxane Gay has called it “a perfect book,” and it received glowing reviews from NPRPeople, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer PressMinnesota Public RadioTASTE MagazineAARP Magazine, and Kirkus, where it earned a starred review. In September 2023, it was named a finalist for the Heartland Booksellers Award in Fiction, and the German language rights were sold to Diogenes.

His second novel, The Lager Queen of Minnesota, was published by Viking / Pamela Dorman Books in July 2019. Receiving starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and BookPage, it became a national bestseller its first week of release, and was named one of the best books of the year by NPRUSA TodayBooklistPaste, and the Texas Library Association, among other places. In 2019, he did a sixty-one-stop book tour that took him to bookstores, libraries, and breweries in fifteen states between July and December. In 2020, The Lager Queen of Minnesota was named the winner of the WILLA Literary Award (by Women Writing the West, to honor the best in literature, featuring women’s or girls’ stories set in the West that are published each year) and was a finalist for the Heartland Booksellers Award.

His first novel,  Kitchens of the Great Midwest, was published by Viking / Pamela Dorman Books on July 28th, 2015, and reached the New York Times    Hardcover Best Seller list at #19 on its third week of release.  In April 2016, the American Booksellers  Association voted Kitchens the Indies Choice Book of the Year Award – Adult Debut Winner. In July 2016,   the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association awarded it the 2016 Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for the year’s top fiction book, and in October 2016, the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association also named   Kitchens the year’s top novel.

So far, Kitchens has been acquired for publication overseas in twelve countries (Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, Italy, Korea, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). Back in November 2014, before it was published, the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society awarded  Kitchens of the Great Midwest first prize in their annual novel competition. He’s extremely grateful for the places that put it on their 2015 best-of lists.  

He grew up in the Midwest, in the southern Minnesota town of Hastings, where he often failed his driver’s license exams, and graduated from Northwestern University, where he often slipped on the ice. He does not own a gun and a motorcycle, which makes him unique among the men in his extended family.

He likes books, wine, sports, root beer, craft beer, and peas.

Brendan Nicholaus 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.

Music has always played a major part of Brendan’s life. He believes that it’s a life-saving force, and a gift we should always offer our children. When he was nine, he started playing violin through a public school music program. Friends he grew up with are today sitting in jail; when they were out running the streets, he was in rehearsals. When they were breaking into people’s houses, he was practicing Dvorak and Mozart. His violin opened the door to opportunity, and he ran through it. Since then, Brendan has performed with 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. He maintains a private music studio teaching lessons to students on violin, guitar and piano. Brendan believes that everyone can learn to appreciate and love music, and that it can be a new way of communicating, building bonds, and connecting with people who may look, sound, or speak differently.

In 2022, Brendan published his first novel, The Violin Conspiracy (Anchor Books), a GMA Book Club Pick, the riveting story of a young Black musician who discovers that his old family fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius: when it’s stolen on the eve of the world’s most prestigious classical music competition, he risks everything to get it back. 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.