November 9 – 12, The Word Place will host author Alan Elsner, a journalist with 30-years experience as a Reuters correspondent. His first book,Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America’s Prisons (Prentice Hall, 2004), won praise for its searing look inside the walls that hold society’s offenders and rejects. Guarded by Angels: How My Father and Uncle Survived Hitler and Cheated Stalin was published by Yad Vashem in 2005.
His debut novel, The Nazi Hunter (
was described by Publisher’s Weekly
as “a gripping debut thriller”. Library
Journal described it as having “the bells and whistles of a thriller while
tracing the honest emotions of its appealingly sincere characters.”
Romance Language Portals Press, 2009), Mr. Elsner’s second novel, released November 1. Set in modern-day
it flashes back to 1989 when the country struggled under its communist regime. Petra
O’Neill, born to a magazine writer and a dissident Romanian poet, returns to
the country of her origin to seek the father she has never known.
Please join me in welcoming Alan Elsner to The Word Place on November 9 and check back on the following three days for more of his experiences and insights for writers.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Passionate love story against the backdrop of tempestuous revolution “Romance Language” by Alan Elsner
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the violent revolution that ended Nicolae Ceauşescu’s cruel dictatorship in Romania, journalist Alan Elsner captures those dramatic events in his new novel “Romance Language.” Elsner was State Department correspondent for Reuters News Service in 1989. He traveled with U.S. Secretary of State James Baker to Berlin, Prague, Moscow and Bucharest and was present during tense negotiations and dramatic street events. His 30-year career with Reuters has included stints in Jerusalem, London, Stockholm and Washington. Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb) said, “Alan Elsner is a world class reporter with a deep reservoir of experience and ability who understands the craft of writing and selling a story.” In 2007, Elsner was a Knight International Journalism Fellow in Romania where he advanced the cause of a free media in an emerging democracy.
Elsner’s first book, “Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America’s Prisons” won wide praise as a dramatic exposé of appalling neglect and abuse in the nation’s jails. The late Sen. Edward Kennedy said: “Elsner makes an overwhelming case for reform, and his many sensible proposals deserve to be implemented. This book should be a wake-up call for federal, state, and local governments across America.” In 2007, Publisher’s Weekly called Elsner’s first novel, “The Nazi Hunter” “a gripping debut thriller” while Library Journal said it, “chimes with the bells and whistles of a thriller while tracing the honest emotions of its appealingly sincere characters."
Part love story, part historical drama, part coming-of-age novel, "Romance Language" begins in 2007 as 17-year-old Petra O'Neill runs off from college and shows up in far-away Romania on a quest to find the father she's never known and uncover the tumultuous events that led to her birth. We flash back to 1989. Petra's mother Liz, an experienced magazine writer, is assigned to write an expose of Europe's most brutal Communist regime. She discovers in Romania a half-starved nation cowering under the heel of a cruel, paranoid dictatorship. Liz meets Stefan Petrescu, a dissident poet, one of the few with the courage to defy the regime. But in Ceausescu's Romania, it is a serious crime for a citizen even to talk to a foreigner and the secret police are constantly watching. As the action swings between 1989 and 2007, we follow Petra through her own, first love and Liz, caught at the center of a revolution that has turned the capital into a deadly battlefield. Meticulously researched and based on numerous eye-witness interviews, “Romance Language” is also a meditation on the power and limitations of language and literature. Portals Press is a small literary publisher in New Orleans, devoted to bringing out poetry, novels and short stories of exceptional literary merit.