Historical Fiction Panel with Jenni Walsh and Virginia Pye - with Mary Kay Zuravleff - at The Wharf

Upcoming Event
Saturday, January 27, 2024 - 3:00pm

Unsinkable - Violet Jessop is Miss Unsinkable.

Violet is a stewardess and wartime nurse who not only survives a shipwreck but also two sinkings, one on the infamous Titanic. No one can understand why she would return to sea, but Violet is simply trying to survive. Her childhood was fraught with illness and death in her family. Her distraught mother is too ill to work, that responsibility falling to Violet as the oldest of nine. When the world enters the Great War, she becomes aboard as a nurse, helping men who could very well be her brothers. But disaster strikes again, this time as the Britannic strikes a mine. Miraculously, Violet survives, but her obligation to her mother and siblings still remains, leaving Violet to wonder if she'll ever be able to put her tumultuous life at sea behind her and pursue a life and love all her own.

Daphne has survived calamity of her own.

Daphne Chaundanson grows up as an unwanted child after her mother died in a tragedy. She throws herself into education, collecting languages like candy in a desperate attempt to finally earn her father's approval. When the Special Operations Executive invites her to be an agent in France in World War II, her childhood of anonymity and her love of languages make her the perfect fit. She sees it as an opportunity to help the country she loves and live up to her father's expectations. But unthinkable moments of challenge and resilience change Daphne in ways she could never expect, including an eye-opening encounter where she must come to terms with the secrets in her own past.

Two unsinkable women. Two stories of survival, family, and finding one's own happiness. One connection that reshapes both their lives forever.

Jenni L. Walsh worked for a decade enticing readers as an award-winning advertising copywriter before becoming an author. Her passion lies in transporting readers to another world, be it in historical or contemporary settings. She is a proud graduate of Villanova University, and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband, daughter, son, and various pets. Jenni is the author of historical novels Becoming Bonnie, Side by Side, A Betting Woman, and The Call of the Wrens. She also writes books for children, including the nonfiction She Dared series and historical novels Hettie and the London Blitz, I Am Defiance, By the Light of Fireflies, and Over and Out.

The Literary Undoing of Victoria Swann - Victoria Swann is a successful author of romance and adventure novels who becomes a champion of women's rights as she takes on the literary establishment and finds her true voice, both on and off the page. Everything changes for Victoria when she goes against her publisher's demands and abandons her frivolous style to tell her own story. Her new, young, Harvard-bred editor becomes her unexpected ally as she fights for the women who have been her faithful readers. Set in Gilded Age Boston, The Literary Undoing of Victoria Swann shows writing and reading as acts of defiance and revision in life and revision on the page as intimately entwined.

Virginia Pye's story collection Shelf Life of Happiness won the 2019 IPPY Gold Medal for Short Fiction and her two historical novels set in China, Dreams of the Red Phoenix and River of Dust, also received literary awards. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Literary Hub, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She is Fiction Editor at Pangyrus and has taught writing at NYU, UPenn, and at GrubStreet Writing Center in Boston..

Walsh and Pye will be in conversation with Mary Kay Zuravleff. Zuravleff is the award-winning author of American Ending, Man Alive, and The Bowl is Already Broken. She is the recipient of the American Academy of Art's Rosenthal Award, the James Jones First Novel Award, and multiple Artist Fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts. She has taught writing at American University, the Chautauqua Institution, Johns Hopkins and George Mason Universities, and she has written and edited extensively for the Smithsonian. Her essays and short stories have appeared in such venues as American Short Fiction, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, This Is What America Looks Like, and Why I Like This Story. She grew up in Oklahoma and has made Washington, DC, her home.

This event is free with first come, first served seating.


610 Water St SW
Washington, DC 20024
Fiction & Poetry
The Literary Undoing of Victoria Swann By Virginia Pye Cover Image
ISBN: 9781646033973
Availability: Backordered
Published: Regal House Publishing - October 3rd, 2023

Unsinkable By Jenni L. Walsh Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400233946
Availability: Coming Soon—Pre-Order Now
Published: Harper Muse - January 9th, 2024