By Samantha Samel
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Whiting Writers’ Award-winner Teddy Wayne will be visiting DUMBO’s powerHouse Arena on Jan. 30 to celebrate the paperback release of his acclaimed novel “The Love Song of Jonny Valentine” — and joining him in conversation will be renowned actor Jesse Eisenberg, as well as writers Simon Rich and Dan Kennedy.
In “The Love Song of Jonny Valentine,” Wayne, who has been praised for his inventive humor, illustrates a frighteningly reflective satire of America’s fixation on fame. The book’s protagonist, Jonny Valentine, is an 11-year-old pop singer, managed by an L.A. label and his hard-partying mother. Idolized for his musical talent and looks, Jonny is successful in a superficial sense. But despite his popularity, he suffers from painful insecurities prompted by his absent father and his transition into adolescence.
Wayne’s novel is filled with apt humor, and his ability to write through the eyes of a child is uncanny. “The Love Song of Jonny Valentine” is at once a ridiculous and familiar exploration of modern American pop culture.
Teddy Wayne, the author of “Kapitoil,” is the winner of a 2011 Whiting Writers’ Award and a finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award, PEN/Bingham Prize, and Dayton Literary Peace Prize. He writes regularly for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. He lives in New York.
Jesse Eisenberg is an Academy Award nominated actor, playwright and humorist for the New Yorker. For his first play, Asuncion, he was nominated for a Drama League Award. He has appeared in the films “Now You See Me,” “The Social Network,” “Adventureland,” “Zombieland,” ‘The Squid and the Whale,” and “Roger Dodger.”
Simon Rich is the author of “The Married Kama Sutra,” “Free-Range Chickens,” “Ant Farm,” “Elliot Allagash,” “What in God’s Name,” and “The Last Girlfriend on Earth.” His work has appeared in The New Yorker and the Believer. He lives in San Francisco, where he is a staff writer at Pixar.
Dan Kennedy is a writer living in New York. He is author of the memoirs “Loser Goes First” and “Rock On,” host of The Moth storytelling podcast and live events, and a contributor to GQ and McSweeney’s. His stories have been featured on the Peabody Award-winning Moth Radio Hour.
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The Jan. 30 event will begin at 7 p.m. powerHouse Arena is located at 37 Main St. in DUMBO.