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June 24, 2009 > Meet the author of Vivaldi's Virgins

Meet the author of Vivaldi's Virgins

By Meenu Gupta

The Milpitas Library Book Group is synonymous with hosting book signing by famous authors. After authors like Laurie King, Khaled Hosseini, Kate Moses and Susan Straight, visiting the group. This time it is Barbara Quick, the famous author of Vivaldi's Virgins who is coming to speak at the book discussion.

"The event is free and open to the public, they need not be a member of the group to attend," said Adult Librarian Terye Balogh, who will lead the event. She and the audience will then ask questions about the book.

Quick will do a short reading from her book and then sign copies after the discussion. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

The book group is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Library who acquires the books from an independent bookseller, Books Inc. "The staff at Books Inc. has been fantastic. Not only do we enjoy a very nice discount from them, but they also provide staff for our author events, so that people may purchase the book, and have it signed by the author. We would not be getting the caliber of authors that we've had without their tremendous help" said Balogh.

The books are then shared by other library book groups. Those not used are sent on to the literacy program, Vision Literacy, that provides innovative literacy services for adults.

When asked about what motivated her to write the book, the author said "The idea came to me when I heard that Antonio Vivaldi was not only a composer but also a priest who taught music in an all-girls' orphanage. It seemed incredible to me that no one had written a novel based on that setting and situation: a brilliant and fiery young composer, a cloistered institution filled with talented girls and women who had nothing but their musical talent, their teachers, and each other. Women who were excluded from the great pageant of life that everyone else in 18th century Venice was free to enjoy."

Quick wanted to know what it would feel like to be one of those girls. She studied Italian, immersed herself in history books, learned more about Baroque music, and made several trips to Venice. "The novel took me three full years to research and write" she said.

Although Vivaldi is a vivid presence in this novel, he is not the book's main character. The orphan Anna Maria dal Violin - based on a real person, who was one of Vivaldi's favorite students - is at the center of the story. The novel is about her quest to solve the mystery of where she came from, and whether she can find a way to fulfill her ambitions as a musician without completely forsaking love.

"This will probably be the only book-signing I will be doing in Milpitas until my next novel, "A Golden Web" is published by HarperTeen in April 2010. "I will be sure to return then, given the warm welcome that's been extended to me by the Milpitas Library group" said Quick. To know more about the author or her book visit

The Milpitas Library Book Group started in 1999, led by adult librarian Martha Kruger. "Ms. Kruger retired in 2004 and I took over the group then. We currently have over 25 members in our group. Such a large book group does present some challenges of equal time for everyone to speak, but I am very proud to say that the long standing members have always been very gracious and welcoming to new members and have encouraged the new faces to share their thoughts during our discussion.," said Balogh.

For more information about the event please contact Terye Balogh at or call theadult reference desk at (408) 262-1171 x 3616.

Author talk and book signing
Wednesday, June 24
7:30 p.m.
Milpitas Library
160 North Main St., Milpitas
(408) 262-1171 x 3616

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