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Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996.

Writer Peter Mayle dies

Peter Mayle. Star Tribune file photo

Peter Mayle. Star Tribune file photo

Sad news via an email from the folks at Alfred A. Knopf. Writer Peter Mayle, author of the much beloved and much emulated memoir, "A Year in Provence," has died. He was 78 years old.

In a 2001 interview with the Star Tribune (over a leisurely lunch at Cafe Un Deux Trois in Minneapolis), Mayle talked about how he nearly ruined France for himself after writing that book. He had included real names and places and, when the book became a best-seller, he was inundated with visitors. 

"I had Germans and Americans and Japanese, Swedes, Dutch, everybody coming to the house just to say hello and have the book signed - it's a very easy house to find," he told the Star Tribune's then-food writer Jeremy Iggers. "We put up with all that for two years. Two things decided us that we had to move. We found a couple of Italians in the swimming pool with a video camera, quite unabashed. They seemed to feel that since they had read the book, they were entitled to the run of the house."

The last straw was a group of tourists "who had been sold a tour of Provence with a visit to our house, which we hadn't been asked about."

The Mayles left France for a few years but later returned. Mayle died today at a hospital near his home.

Poet Kevin Young and Marlon James to be in conversation at the Loft

Marlon James. Star Tribune file photo.

Poet and essayist Kevin Young, author of the nonfiction book, "Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News," will be in conversation with Man Booker Prize winning writer Marlon James in Minneapolis in March.

Their discussion is one in a series of "Big Ideas" hosted by the Loft Literary Center. (Previous Big Ideas included James in conversation last spring with Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.)

Kevin Young. Photo by Melanie Dunea

"Bunk," published by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press, was long-listed for a National Book Award and was named a top book of 2017 by many publications, including the New York Times.

Young was recently named poetry editor of the New Yorker magazine and is director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

James teaches at Macalester College in St. Paul. His novel, "The Book of Night Women," won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

Their discussion will take place at 7 p.m. March 19 at the Loft LIterary Center, 1011 Washington Av. S., Mpls. Tickets are $15 ($10 for Loft members) and are available through the Loft website.

The event is in conjunction with Graywolf Press and the College of St. Benedict.

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