Author Event - Esther Cohen and Cynthia Newberry Martin

Join us Thursday, November 30th to hear authors Esther Cohen and Cynthia Newberry Martin in conversation about their newest works, All Of Us: Stories and Poems Along Route 17 and The Art of Her Life.


This event is free and open to the public!


All of Us is about people in a small town in upstate New York - different, even alien, from one another, often politically at odds, yet managing to live in peace, side by side. Seen through the lens of a warm-hearted narrator with an eye for a good story and a good laugh, All of Us is a unique tribute to rural upstate New York - a funny Spoon River Anthology, a northern relative of Eudora Welty's Why I Live at the PO.

“Masterful poet and storyteller Esther Cohen invites readers to take a day-trip with her from bustling Manhattan to a quiet rural town in Upstate New York where porchsitting, tomato-growing, and post office chitchat are appreciated and valued. Serving as both driver and tour guide, Cohen introduces us to a memorable cast of imperfect, identifiable villagers: loudmouths, late-in-life lovers, jilted spouses, settled seniors poised to jump off the diving board into the bracing waters of risk. US – Stories and Poems Along Route 17, a celebration of what’s extraordinary about the ordinary, is rendered in a unique hybrid form and characterized by Cohen’s open heart, her refreshing lack of judgment, and her appreciation of the simple beauty of the natural world. I urge readers to let this gifted writer transport you through the pages of her original and wonderful book.”

—Wally Lamb

“As an Upstater, these stories and poems soothe my soul and remind me of why I love this part of the world more than any other."

—Gary Shteyngart


At nine years old, on her first visit to a museum, Emily fell in love with Breakfast , a painting by Henri Matisse. Now a single mother, she lives in the world of art and can barely find time for her two daughters, much less for Mark, the man she loves. Her days are a jumble—she’s lost the thread of her life—but a contest at the museum where she’s the registrar gives her hope—the chance to see Breakfast again. Matisse’s words and paintings permeate her days and nights, and glancing at a note card of the painting she loves, she sees something she’s never seen before. The Art of Her Life shows the power of art to transform an ordinary life.

"Cynthia Newberry Martin’s new novel is a bold transcendent meditation on desire, memory, motherhood, and the power of art to remake a life. I loved this book. I could not put it down. There’s a spare lyric grace to Martin’s writing, and in this story, she captures the nuances of ordinary life – what we love and fear to risk, what we lose and ache to hold. The Art of Her Life is a rare, exquisite work of fiction."
—Dawn Tripp, author of Georgia, a novel of Georgia O’Keeffe

"Cynthia Newberry Martin is a deeply gifted writer. The Art of Her Life should be placed on the same shelf as A.S. Byatt's The Matisse Stories . When tragic things happen to the character of Emily, she becomes devoted to a kind of Gospel of Henri Matisse, and she gets lost in the artist's life in order to find her own life again. This is a family story; this is a love story. But the novel combines these in profound and original ways. The splendid prose is tinted with the inimitable melancholy of Matisse's blue."
—Howard Norman, author of The Ghost Clause

"In The Art of Her Life, Cynthia Newberry Martin tenderly and delicately shows how the unexpected turns of a life can most often only be steadied and moored by what we hold deepest inside. It is told with no punches pulled. No self-interrogation spared. Just a keen and blunt honesty. A lovely and moving novel that celebrates the legacy of the creative spirit, the power and salvation of art, and the challenges in balancing an intellectual life with an emotional life."
—Adam Braver, author of Rejoice the Head of Paul McCartney

"With grace and clarity, Cynthia Newberry Martin paints in this novel a lasting portrait of love and family, of love and perseverance, of love and beauty and care and heart. Even in the face of loss, every brushstroke of life becomes somehow sacred, a blessing, an abundance. "
—William Lychack, author of Cargill Falls

"The Art of Her Life is a rare book about an adult woman with the full complement of responsibilities—children, job, love, passions—grappling with how to manage and juggle them. Matisse's art, and the painting Breakfast in particular, is a character in this gorgeous book—his use of color and channeling of emotion form lifelines for our protagonist. Matisse accompanies Emily on her journey as she learns that, paradoxically, it is only through surrender that we can feel life's wholeness. I loved this book."
—Lindsey Mead, editor of On Being Forty(ish)


Esther Cohen ( Book Doctor, Don't Mind Me and Other Jewish Lies, GOD IS A TREE AND OTHER MIDDLE-AGED PRAYERS, and No Charge for Looking ) lives in New York City where she is Executive Director of Bread and Roses, the national non-profit cultural program of New York's union for health care workers. Winner of a Pure Visionary Award for a photographic project she initiated to give cameras and photography lessons to working men and women across the country, Cohen is a storyteller and humorist.

Cynthia Newberry Martin's first novel, Tidal Flats, won the Gold Medal in Literary Fiction at the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards and the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence Award for Fiction. Her website features the How We Spend Our Days series, over a decade of essays by writers on their lives. She grew up in Atlanta and now lives in Columbus, Georgia, with her husband, and in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in a little house by the water. Her third novel, The Art of Her Life, will be published in June of 2023. Visit:

Event date: 
Thursday, November 30, 2023 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
2020 Broadway
New York, NY 10023
All of Us: Stories and Poems Along Route 17 By Esther Cohen Cover Image
ISBN: 9798987954133
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saddle Road Press - November 6th, 2023

The Art of Her Life By Cynthia Newberry Martin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781953236975
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fomite - June 6th, 2023