Literary Dinner Party


Sparked by the weekly “By the Book” interview in the Sunday Book Review, in which they ask a featured author a series of interesting questions, I thought we’d play a fun little game:

You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited, living or deceased?


This makes for surprisingly fun dinner conversation, if you’re book nerds like me and Jamal. And after careful deliberation, and lots of waffling, I’ve narrowed down my three writers to:

1. Steve Martin
2. Paul LaFarge
3. JK Rowling

Who would you pick? It’s tough! I originally chose Shakespeare for the third spot, but then remembered, “Oh yeah, Harry Potter!” I thought about F. Scott Fitzgerald, but he’d probably just get drunk the entire time, right? Who are your three invitees?

photo of Ernest Hemingway and Eva Gardner dining in Spain, via JFK Library

26 thoughts on “Literary Dinner Party

  1. J’aimerais avoir entre mes invitées J. Rowling. J’adorée Harry Potter. J’ai trouve qu’il y a dedans une imagination impressionnante ! Sinon, j’aurais aussi invitée avec plaisir à Anna Gavalda, une écrivaine française que j’aime bien! Et pour finir ma table, j’inviterais aussi Erin, une jeune écrivaine de Philadelphie qui est en train d’écrire son premier romain!! xo

    1. Ah, c’est moi!! :D Oh, Eva, merci pour votre gentillesse; il me donne beaucoup de confidence! Tu cuisine toujours de bons repas, donc je voudrais aller à chez toi pour une fete a tout moment! Je n’ai lis pas de Anna Gavalda, mais je vais chercher ses livres maintenant, je te fais confiance. Tu aime Harry Potter, aussi! xo

      1. Ah oui, j’ai vraiment aimée Harry, j’aurais adorée étudié dans le même école!!
        Pour Anna Gavalda, demande “Ensemble, c’et tout”. Après il sont fait un film avec Guillaume Cannet et Audrey Tautou qui n’est pas mal mais comme d’habitude le livre est mieux! xo

        1. Oui, je vais l’achete! Et je suis en d’accord, presque tous les livres sont mieux que leurs films! xo

  2. Oooo, so tricky!! I’d probably go for one of the Bronté sisters (or Jane Austin?), and hmmmm. Maybe a children’s writer like Judith Kerr (the Tiger who Came to Tea, Mog etc). This is a big question, I’m going to need some more time!! x

    1. Children’s authors! I totally forgot about that vast selection of writers. I had some favorites growing up! Maybe I’ll have a few of these dinner parties so I could squeeze everyone in :) The Bronte sisters are a good choice! xo

    1. Too easy! Haha, it just proves how much you love their books if it was that easy to pick them. I’d love to pick Roald Dahl’s brain, too. xo

  3. these kind of questions are nearly impossible for me to answer. you may have realized by now that i am a terribly indecisive person. hmmm . . . ok. jose saramago would be one for sure. and then haruki murakami maybe. and lastly um, OH sherman alexi. i think. i will probably want to add someone else or switch someone out as soon i hit the submit button. xoxo

    ps i love that photo.

    1. Indecisive? You? Naah. ;) It’s a charming trait, though, fear not! Especially in this situation because it means you love too many great authors to pick just three! Solid choices, twinsy. I found that the faster I answered the less time I had to change my mind or doubt my original selections, haha. xo

  4. i’m excited you would pick jk rowling! i was just reading some articles about her, and the more i learn, the more in awe i am.

    for me, i would definitely love to spend some time with f. scott fitzgerald, no matter how drunk he is, oscar wilde since he is my absolute favorite, and henry miller because he writes with beautiful descriptions, and maybe he talks that way too? this dinner, of course, would have to happen in france with all of these ex pats.

    1. How can you NOT love JK Rowling? The woman is so impressive, to conjure a story of that magnitude and complexity and length out of absolutely nowhere, to build an entirely new universe and ultimately, a business empire. Plus, Harry Potter was the largest pop culture touchstone of my life between the ages of 13 and, ahem, 20. It still is a huge part, if we’re being honest.

      Haha, I definitely see the appeal of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Man knew how to party. Have you read “Z” by Therese Anne Fowler? I just finished it, it’s Scott & Zelda’s story told from Zelda’s point of view. I think you’d like it! xo

  5. oh, that’s an interesting question. I’d say I’d invite Rilke, Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac. the latter two would probably get along just fine, but I wonder what Rilke would make of them…

    1. Ooh, the dynamics of the dinner guests never occurred to me but that’s a really interesting point! I just did a quick scan of my three and I’m pretty sure they’d all get along well (it helps that they’re from the same time frame and are all still living, haha). xo

  6. It’s such a fascinating question. Do you think about just who you’d want there or who you’d want who would gel together? Jane Austen, Madeleine L’Engle, (I like to think they’d like each other, right?) and …. still thinking.

    1. I’d love to say John LeCarre, but he totally wouldn’t fit, so maybe he can come to Neel or my dad’s party and I can make up the numbers.

    2. Oh, it’s all about who YOU want there, not whether they would necessarily jive on their own. You’re the hostess, they have to be on their best behavior despite how they might feel about the others ;) Madeleine L’Engle is such a good choice. “A Wrinkle in Time” is one of my favorites! xo

  7. For today it would be:
    1. Mark Twain (Sam Clemons) — he’d be a hoot!
    2. C.S. Lewis
    3. Thomas Wolfe — if not to lull me to sleep with his adjective laden writing (still love him though).
    This list will change on a daily basis. It’s really hard to choose. I would add Dostoyevsky, but there’s the language barrier or does that not exist at literary diners?

      1. Haha, don’t worry about it, I’ll chalk it up to the fact that you were so excited to answer spelling wasn’t your first priority! ;) xo

    1. C.S. Lewis! How could I have forsaken him? At first I thought you meant Tom Wolfe, the living American writer, but then I googled to be sure — totally different writer! And language barriers aren’t an issue, this is a magical dinner party, after all. If time travel and resurrection are possible, I think we could make Dostoyevsky speak some English for a night :) xo

      1. Definitely Thomas Wolfe. It would be a whole different kind of party if Tom Wolfe was in attendence, probably resulting in bickering among the authors. At least he’d show up well-dressed!

    1. Haha, right?! He got kind of doughy and sad in his old age! Maybe it was the four wives or all the alcohol, I can’t tell! I giggle all the time, too. “WHO WANTS TO FIGHT?!” xo

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