NEWS & EVENTS

Bestselling Author Robert W. Fieseler to Speak at Sims Library

Tinderbox book talk

In June, 1973, an arson fire at the Up Stairs Lounge, a gay nightclub in New Orleans, claimed the lives of 32 people.  Robert W. Fieseler, author of the 2018 book Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation, which details the horrors of the fire and its aftermath, will speak on the third floor of Sims Library on Monday, April 29 at 5:30 p.m.  His presentation is co-sponsored by Sims Memorial Library and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Fieseler states that, unlike the 2016 mass shooting in the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse which became instant news with national and world figures expressing words of sympathy and condolence, the story of the Up Stairs Lounge received scant notice and “had disappeared willfully, hushed by a nation not ready to look….The Up Stairs Lounge fire received no political attention or investigative stories from a national newspaper.  The mainstream reaction to the fire ranged from silence and avoidance to trivialization and demonization.” Why this was so, and what caused the change, is part of the story told in this fascinating talk.

Fieseler’s debut book was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, and Shelf Awareness, and is a finalist for the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction and the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime.  The author graduated co-valedictorian from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and is a recipient of the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship.  He lives in New Orleans with his husband.

The lecture is free and open to the public.  The author will be signing books following his presentation.  For more information, please contact Eric Johnson at x3962.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 2:15:45 PM CDT