WAPAKONETA — The 2019 Celebration Committee will host a presentation by Lily Koppel, author of the New York Times best seller of The Astronaut Wives’ Club, on Thursday, March 21, 7:30 pm, at Wapakoneta Middle School, W. Harrison St.
The Astronaut Wives Club is the Community Read selection chosen to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Tickets for Koppel’s appearance are $5 and available at any library in the county, as well as at Riverside Art Center and the Wapakoneta Daily News. Tickets will also be available at the door. All proceeds from the ticket sales benefit activities for the Apollo 11 anniversary celebration.
“The Astronaut Wives Club provides a window into the fascinating yet little-known chapter of America’s space history: the lives of the families of the astronauts,” said Rachel Barber, co-chair of the 2019 Celebration Committee. “We hope that everyone will plan on attending Ms. Koppel’s presentation.”
Thanks to support from the St. Marys Community Foundation, Koppel will also speak to students at Memorial High School during Thursday assemblies.
About Lily Koppel
Born in 1981, Lily Koppel is a New York City-based author, best known for her books The Red Leather Diary (2008) and The Astronaut Wives Club (2013).
Koppel writes for The New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Daily Beast, and Glamour, among other publications. She graduated from Barnard College in 2003 with a degree in English Literature and creative writing. Koppel began contributing reporting to The New York Times “Boldface Names” celebrity column in 2003.
She has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America and National Public Radio.
Koppel’s book The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal was published by HarperCollins on April 1, 2008. The book is about her discovery of a young woman’s diary, kept in New York in the 1930s, and its return to Florence Wolfson Howitt, its owner, at age 90. The diary was recovered from a steamer trunk found in a dumpster outside of Koppel’s apartment building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The non-fiction book is based on Koppel’s New York Times City section cover story.
Her second book, The Astronaut Wives Club, was published by Grand Central Publishing on June 11, 2013.The book served as the basis for the ABC television series The Astronaut Wives Club, which premiered in June 2015.
About The Astronaut Wives Club
Koppel offers a revealing glimpse into the lives of “the women behind the spacemen”—from Project Mercury, of the Kennedy years, to the two-man Gemini missions and finally the Apollo program. Beginning with the announcement in 1959 of the seven Mercury astronauts, Koppel paints chatty, personal portraits of each woman as she adjusts to dramatic changes: one day she’s living the life of an ordinary military wife; the next she’s married to a major celebrity. The wives were closely monitored by NASA and expected to be perfect, right down to what they wore and what food they served their husbands. They needed a support group, so the Astronaut Wives Club came into being in 1966. Over the years, they worked together in myriad ways, from helping the wives whose husbands died in crashes or Apollo I’s disastrous launch-pad fire to sleeping in the Lovell’s living room while Jim Lovell was orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve 1968. The U.S. moon program ended in 1972—but many of these unique women still remain connected, friends now for more than 50 years.
— Deborah Donovan/Booklist
Additionally, the Auglaize County Public District Library will host a private reception with Lily Koppel at the Perry Street location in Wapakoneta at 5 pm Thursday. Food and drinks will be served. Tickets for this event are available from the libraries for $25 each (and also cover admission to the 7:30 pm presentation).
The 2019 Committee’s mission is to develop and implement public programs, events, and legacy efforts that reflect the many themes associated with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon walk, and to ensure that Wapakoneta and Auglaize County are at the forefront of this worldwide commemoration.