Author talk : The thread collectors

Jan 19, 2023 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Skylight gallery
Salmagundi Program Committee
Open to the public
Eventbrite RSVP required
$15 | General admission
FREE | Salmagundi members with promo code
The member-only promo code is sent in an email to all members, and can also be requested by contacting
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About the Event

Salmagundi Artist member Debbie Wells presents Alyson Richman and Shaunna J. Edwards, authors of “The Thread Collectors.” This historical novel illuminates how creativity and the bonds of music can provide a sense of purpose, resilience, and hope during one of history’s darkest times. Using stories handed down by their own families and heritages, Richman and Edwards create a novel in which two Civil soldiers from different backgrounds and faiths, find themselves bonded in their shared love of music, while back home their use their skills to assist the Union cause, one of them undertaking great risk to embroider maps to help enslaved men run for freedom.  Richman and Edwards will explain the inside story of how they created their novel and its characters and why it is so meaningful to them. As an artful supplement to the event, Debbie Wells will tie it in with a talk about real-life fine artists, past and present, who have used material, fiber and other handicraft to create art with a “hidden” message.

To purchase the book in advance, visit

About the Book

Cover of "The Thread Collectors"

1863: In a small Creole cottage in New Orleans, an ingenious young Black woman named Stella embroiders intricate maps on repurposed cloth to help enslaved men flee and join the Union Army. Bound to a man who would kill her if he knew of her clandestine activities, Stella has to hide not only her efforts but her love for William, a Black soldier and a brilliant musician. Meanwhile, in New York City, a Jewish woman stitches a quilt for her husband, who is stationed in Louisiana with the Union Army. Between abolitionist meetings, Lily rolls bandages and crafts quilts with her sewing circle for other soldiers, too, hoping for their safe return home. But when months go by without word from her husband, Lily resolves to make the perilous journey South to search for him. As these two women risk everything for love and freedom during the brutal Civil War, their paths converge in New Orleans, where an unexpected encounter leads them to discover that even the most delicate threads have the capacity to save us. Loosely inspired by the authors’ family histories, this stunning novel will stay with readers for a long time.

About the Speakers

Shaunna J. Edwards

Shaunna J. Edwards has a BA in literature from Harvard College and a JD from NYU School of Law. A former corporate lawyer, she now works in diversity, equity and inclusion. She is a native Louisianian, raised in New Orleans, and currently lives in Harlem with her husband. The Thread Collectors is her first novel. For more info, find her in Instagram @shaunnajedwards

Alyson Richman

Alyson Richman is the USA Today bestselling and #1 international bestselling author of several historical novels including The Velvet Hours, The Garden of Letters, and The Lost Wife, which is currently in development for a major motion picture.  Alyson graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in art history and Japanese studies.  She herself is an accomplished painter and her novels combine her deep love of art, historical research, and travel.  Alyson’s novels have been published in twenty-five languages and have reached the bestseller lists both in the United States and abroad. She lives on Long Island with her husband and two children, where she is currently at work on her next novel. See for a complete list of her novels.

Debbie Wells

A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Debbie Wells is an active Salmagundi Artist member. She is the co-founder of Artful Circle which offers in-person art gallery and museum talks, virtual lectures and more. For information, visit