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News & Events

"Takers Mad" Author Comes to Loyola New Orleans' Center for Editing & Publishing

FEBRUARY 15, 2023


University of Loyola New Orleans alumnus Luke Jerod Kummer, the author of Takers Mad, The Blue Period and works appearing in The New York Times, The Washington Post and other publications, will speak at The Center for Editing & Publishing during a catered lunch hour on Wednesday, March 2. Students and guests will have an opportunity to ask him questions about careers as writers, editors and other roles in the publishing industry. 


–Please visit the Twitter or Instagram accounts of the Loyola New Orleans English Department for more information.

Magazine Covering Garden State's Secrets Reviews 'Takers Mad'

A review of Kummer's Audible Original Takers Mad appears in the 59th issue of Weird N.J.

OCTOBER 1, 2022


The latest issue of Weird N.J., a local history and travel magazine enjoying a cult-like national following, reviews Takers Mad, a new Audible Original mystery that follows a real-life case from the turn of the 20th Century in which authorities accused a man in New York of being Jack the Ripper. In 1891, the murder of Carrie Brown on Manhattan's waterfront sparked attention around the world when the coroner contended the culprit was the same man who terrorized London a few years prior. After initial chaos, an North African immigrant was arrested for the crime. In this retelling, author Luke Jerod Kummer unravels the narrative from the perspective of Florence Molosso Riis, the daughter-in-law of Jacob Riis, a famous muckraker who reported from the crime scene and played an important role in the court case. More than 120 years later, Austin writes, Kummer dug up important new information that may even point to a fresh suspect with New Jersey ties. "During the course of his own investigations/research, Kummer found critical documents and a piece of evidence in the New York State Archives: The actual brass hotel room key that was missing throughout the trial. It plays an important role in the story and raises questions about who actually killed Carrie Brown as well as what motives were behind her murder. I won't ruin the story for you — you'll enjoy listening to Flora tell it through the voice talent of Khristine Hvam."


—To read the full review, pick up or order a copy of Weird N.J., or learn more on Joanne M. Austin's blog.


Browadway World: Con Vivo Music to Present World Premiere Of "Chilltown Boogie"

SEPTEMBER 06, 2022 | By Chloe Rabinowitz for Broadway World


Con Vivo Music will present the world premiere of Chilltown Boogie by Alon Nechushtan on Sunday, October 2, 2022 at 12:30pm, beginning at J Owen Grundy Pier, Exchange Place, Jersey City, NJ. Chilltown Boogie is a site-specific historical opera set in five vignettes, each of which will be performed in a different location in Jersey City. This original new opera is inspired by the events surrounding the formation of Hudson County and Jersey City. There will be an open dress rehearsal on October 1, 2022 at 7pm at Jersey City Theater Center, 165 Newark Ave, Jersey City, NJ. Each performance is free, no registration required. For more information, visit convivomusic.org.


This epic production features an ensemble of singers, dancers, and instrumentalists, and spans 150 years of history - covering the Revolutionary War, the Underground Railroad, Morris Canal, the Hague administration, and the founding of Temple Beth-El.


Librettists include Jenny Cresswell Dana, Leslie Goldstein, Luke Jerod Kummer, Alon Nechushtan and Tony Asaro.


The program schedule will be:


THE BOATMAN – 'The Born-Again Christian' [1878]

12:30pm-1:00pm at J Owen Grundy Pier - Exchange Place, Jersey City, NJ 

"A former alcoholic and his wife debate the topics of the day—their growing city, Christian life, and work on banks of the Morris Canal."


Music by Alon Nechushtan, Libretto by Tony Asaro
Daniel Chiu, baritone – Willam Billy McKenna
Amy van Roekel, mezzo-soprano – Mary McKenna


THE HERO – 'A Patriotic Conversation' [1795]

2:00-2:30pm at Paulus Hook Park - 226 Washington St, Jersey City, NJ 

"A chance meeting between Major Henry Lee and General George Washington prompts a conversation about the Battle of Paulus Hook."


Music by Alon Nechushtan, Libretto by Jenny Cresswell
Colin Levin, baritone – George Washington
Sarah Nelson Craft, mezzo-soprano – Henry Lee


THE MAYOR – 'New Blood' [1949]

3:30-4:00pm at City Hall Park - 280 Grove St, Jersey City, NJ  

"Following an election that signals the defeat of the 'Hague Machine,' Frank Hague confronts the newly elected mayor, John V. Kenny."


Music by Alon Nechushtan, Libretto by Luke Jerod Kummer
Daniel Klein, baritone – Frank Hague
Maurio Hines, tenor – John V Kenny


THE HAUNT – 'A Most Peculiar Occurrence' [1840]

5:00-5:30pm at Berry Lane Park - 1000 Garfield Ave, Jersey City, NJ

"A ghostly meeting discusses the Underground Railroad and generational change in the Old Bergen Cemetery."


Music by Alon Nechushtan, Libretto by Alon Nechushtan
Jonathan R. Green, baritone – Joe
Kimberli Render, mezzo-soprano – Abigail


THE CHOICE – 'An Ethical Dilemma' [1892]

6:30-7:00pm at Temple Beth-El - 2419 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ

"A rising star of the Jewish progressive movement reveals to a youth group the history of their new congregation and the importance of building a temple in Jersey City for its growing community of immigrants."


Music by Alon Nechushtan, Libretto by Dana Leslie Goldstein
Peter Kendall Clark, baritone – Rabbi Schweizer
Jessica Bowers, soprano – Representative of Elders


RAIN SCHEDULE – 3:00pm – Jersey City Theater Center – 165 Newark Ave, Jersey City, NJ 


Karina Parker, director
Ben Grow, musical director
Zach Herchen, production manager


Sarah Goldfeather, violin
TBA, cello
Andrew Roitstein, bass
Riko Higuma, keyboard
Dennis Sullivan, percussion


Nimbus Dance, company 2
Harumi Elders, dance choreographer


Chilltown Boogie is presented in partnership with Jersey City Theatre Center, Nimbus Dance, and Cultural Affairs Office of New Jersey.


This program is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey State Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State, and administered by the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, Thomas A. DeGise, Hudson County Executive & the Hudson County Board of County Commissioners.


— Read the full article on Broadway World's website.


Podcast: 'New Yorkers Feared Jack the Ripper Invaded the City in 1891 After a Prostitute Was Found Brutally Murdered'

JULY 26, 2022 | By Scott Rank, host of "History Unplugged"


"Jack the Ripper's serial killing spree of 1888 shocked the world, triggering panic from Paris to South America that he could strike anywhere, anytime. New Yorkers in particular were on high alert when local prostitute Carrie Brown, a.k.a. 'Old Shakespeare,' was found brutally murdered in a seedy Manhattan hotel on the waterfront. NYPD Chief of Detectives Thomas Byrnes accused an Algerian named Amir Ben Ali of the crime. He was convicted of second degree murder despite the evidence against him being doubtful, but pardoned eleven years later. Who was the real killer?


To explore one of the most notorious crimes of the Gilded Age is Luke Jerod Kummer, author of the Audible audiobook Takers Mad. In his research, questions about what really happened in the hotel on that monstrous night began to reveal themselves. Did the police scapegoat the man arrested for the crime? What about the blood that detectives found? Or did authorities actually let Jack the Ripper walk free?


— Listen to this episode of "History Unplugged" on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Spotify or Stitcher.


Author Discusses Historic Crime on 'Here's What We Know' Podcast

JUNE 15, 2022 | By Gary Scott Thomas, host of "Here's What We Know"


If you like true crime podcasts, be sure to download this episode! It's available on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Spotify, StitcherBuzzsprout, or the Here's What We Know website.


Author Luke Jerod Kummer uncovered new evidence about the real-life case that captivated New York during the Gilded Age–Jack the Ripper. In this episode, he shares the new evidence that's completely shifting the thoughts on who committed the murder. It's mind-blowing!


Also in this episode:

  • Choosing between being a professional harmonica player or a writer
  • Problems with the investigation
  • How stuff gets lost in history
  • The conviction of the wrong person
  • Inspector Thomas F. Byrnes' power
  • How "Frenchy's" lack of English hurt him
  • Being tortured yet never giving a confession
  • The key that was withheld
  • The research behind his book Takers Mad
  • Discovering new evidence
  • The man who turned in the key
  • Why he chose to make this an audio-only book
  • How he chose the narrator


"Be enthusiastic and try new things." ~Luke Jerod Kummer

"Why did he have this key and withhold it while he knew there was an innocent person lingering in prison?" ~ Luke Jerod Kummer

"The important thing to note is that despite everything that happened [torture] to Ameer Ben Ali, he never confessed. He never confessed to the crime." ~ Luke Jerod Kummer

"I think there are great rewards for going out and still looking for the remaining things that have not been digitized." ~ Luke Jerod Kummer


— Listen to the episode on Audible, Apple Podcasts or the Here's What We Know website.


Talk Show Appearance for 'Takers Mad' Author

MAY 11, 2022 – The Douglas Coleman Show VE featured Takers Mad author Luke Jerod Kummer in its latest episode. The syndicated talk and music show is recorded by DJC Productions in Las Vegas and features fascinating and sometimes famous guests from all walks of life. The host and Kummer discussed scripting the historical Audible Original Takers Mad and the work of the talented actor Khristine Hvam who voiced so many of the story's Gilded Age characters.


— Watch the interview on YouTube.






Patch: "Did Serial Killer Jack The Ripper Have Ties To Cranford?"

APRIL 05, 2022 | By Remy Samuels, Patch staff


By Remy Samuels


CRANFORD, NJ — According to a recent post from Cranford's Historical Society, the infamous serial killer who murdered several women in the late 19th century may have had some ties to Cranford.

Author Luke Jerod Kummer recently discovered new evidence in the unsolved case of an 1891 homicide near the South Street Seaport in New York, which inspired his new Audible Original drama "Takers Mad." The Cranford Historical Society will host an event for Kummer to present his findings and discuss this strange chapter in local history on Saturday, April 23.


In 1891, a woman named Carrie Brown was murdered in Manhattan's East River Hotel. According to a post from Cranford Radio, this hotel was less than a mile from the business of a George Damon — a man who lived with his family in Cranford in the late 19th century.

Following this murder, New York's coroner announced that Jack the Ripper had arrived in the area. As panic grew, authorities charged a North African immigrant with murder.

Meanwhile, according to Cranford Radio, Damon had hired a man by the name of Frank to do work at his Cranford home. Frank lived in the stable behind the house. The morning after the murder in New York, Damon found Frank asleep in the stable and was told he was gone all night and returned home in a "very bad mood."

Five to 10 days later, Frank quit the job and disappeared. Shortly after, Damon found a bloody shirt and a key to the hotel room where the murder took place in the stable.


Damon didn't mention this to anyone for about a decade because he said he didn't want the publicity. He also was said to have felt that the convicted man, an Algerian by the name of Ameer Ben Ali — also known as "Frenchy" — deserved to be in prison even if he didn't commit the homicide.

The Algerian was finally freed over a decade later when Damon produced the "mysterious artifact." The man's sentence was reduced in April 1902, but the real murderer was never captured.


Kummer will present his new findings related to this murder at the Cranford Community Center [located at 220 Walton Ave., Cranford, N.J.] at 3:30 p.m. April 23.

The Facebook event can be found here. A description of Kummer's book can also be found on Audible.


— Read the full article on Patch


In a Historical Society Special Event, Author Presents New Evidence in a Gilded Age Crime


After an 1891 homicide near the South Street Seaport, the coroner announced Jack the Ripper had arrived in New York. As panic grew, authorities charged a North African immigrant with murder. He was finally freed over a decade later when a prominent New Jersey resident produced a mysterious artifact. Recently, author Luke Jerod Kummer discovered new evidence in this unsolved case, inspiring his Audible Original drama, Takers Mad. On Saturday, April 23rd, at 3:30pm, the Cranford Historical Society will host a special event at the Cranford Community Center at 220 Walnut Ave. in Cranford, NJ where Kummer will present his findings and discuss this strange chapter in local history. The event is free and open to the public. 


—View this event on Facebook


This Podcast Will Change Your Life, Episode 278: "The Ingredients Of A Perfect Story"

FEBRUARY 24, 2022 – A new episode of "This Podcast Will Change Your Life," hosted by Ben Tanzer, features Luke Jerod Kummer discussing the evidence he discovered in a Gilded Age mystery while researching the Audible Original drama, Takers Mad. Their lively conversation also looks at how the genre of historical fiction can shine a light on  contemporary issues, such as mass incarceration and overturning wrongful convictions, while providing new vantage points for reflection.


— Listen to the interview on This Podcast Will Change Your Life



Shepherd Lists Author's Recs for 'Best Crime' Audiobooks

FEBRUARY 15, 2022 — Luke Jerod Kummer points users of Shepherd, a new book recommendations platform, to "The Best Crime Stories You Can Only Listen to As Audiobooks," including works by authors Madhuri Shekar, Greg Donahue, Dennis Kelly, Troy Onyango and Danielle Elliot.


— Read on the full entry on Shepherd



Cranford Radio Interviews Author About Historic Murder Case

Radio host Wagenblast talks to Kummer about Cranford, NJ's connection to the real-life story behind "Takers Mad."

JANUARY 29, 2022 | By Bernie Wagenblast, Cranford Radio 

Did Jack the Ripper once live in Cranford? A real 19th century murder led some to ask that question. The case was largely forgotten by the 21st century but author Luke Jerod Kummer took a fresh look at it in a work of historical fiction he wrote for an Audible Original audiobook, Takers Mad


In this Cranford Radio interview we talk about some of the interesting facts he uncovered and how present day Cranford folks helped him to see what the town was like in the early 1900s.


— Listen to the interview on Cranford Radio



Audible gives listeners a true crime story that transfixed the Gilded Age

SEPTEMBER 2, 2021 — Takers Mad, the twisting tale of a real 1890s murder that gripped New Yorkers and was attributed by the police and press to Jack the Ripper, was released by Audible Originals. Written by author Luke Jerod Kummer and voiced by award-winning actor Khristine Hvam, the tantalizing drama takes listeners back to an infamous Manhattan crime that resembled the killing spree in the White Chapel slums of London a few years prior. Now nearly forgotten, it caused a media frenzy on both sides of the Atlantic. Amid the ensuing hysteria and during a time rife with fears of increasing immigration, Ameer Ben Ali, an itinerant Algerian ex-soldier, was arrested by detectives and eventually charged with the homicide. He spent nearly a dozen years behind bars and in an asylum. But, following a police corruption scandal, questions emerged about whether authorities had penalized the right man. Based on in-depth historical research including reviewing transcripts and combing through archives, which revealed fresh findings in the case, Kummer presents an intriguing narrative that today's listeners will find has eerie echoes in contemporary news and events. This carefully plotted historical fiction audiobook is available exclusively on Audible.



Marie Claire Greece Interviews Author of Picasso Novel

AUGUST 25, 2021 — The Greek edition of the international fashion, lifestyle and culture magazine, Marie Claire, interviewed Luke Jerod Kummer for its August issue. The author discussed researching and writing The Blue Period, a novel about the tragic events that led a young Pablo Picasso to paint somber portraits before Cubism transformed the artist into an international celebrity. The book was translated into Greek earlier this year and published by Klidarithmos.


When the magazine's editor Αναστασία Καμβύση asked Kummer whether it was hard to portray a world-famous painter, he admitted it was difficult to render someone who has been written about so extensively. "Many readers arrive with strong feelings. Some place Picasso on a pedestal — the consummate genius. Others cringe at his name," Kummer said. "But in the literature that I enjoy, even gods and monsters are all-too human. More so, humans whom we cast as god or monster."


— Read the full article in Greek on Marie Claire's website.


Virtual Chat: "Practicing Writing With Empathy" 

MARCH 25, 2021 10:00 AM EST

Hosted by Ivy Tech Community College and Professor Shari Benyousky, Luke Jerod Kummer visits Warsaw, IN via Zoom to discuss with students and guests how – whether drafting a novel, a piece of journalism, or a product manual – empathy is the key to writing. He will also answer questions about The Blue Period and publishing.


Register or invite friends: 



Luke Jerod Kummer to guest lecture class at Ivy Tech Warsaw

MARCH 16, 2021—Author Luke Jerod Kummer will be visiting an English 111 class at Ivy Tech Community College Warsaw on March 25th. Kummer recently published the historical novel The Blue Period, and will be speaking about how he comes up with, develops, and revises writing topics, using his recent novel as an example.


"It is an honor to be invited to chat with Ivy Tech students and guests about ways to bring more empathy into our writing," said Kummer. "What enticed me to draft The Blue Period, a novel about Picasso's turbulent youth in turn-of-the-century Barcelona and Paris, was how, in the wake of tragedy, his plaintive artworks were dedicated to revealing the suffering and humanity of the vulnerable people he witnessed around him. I look forward to discussing together ways we can also try to put ourselves in the places of our subjects and use our words to expand readers' capacity for empathy."


English 111 students write numerous papers and will benefit from learning how they can become better at developing and revising their own writing following his strategies. Students and guests will also learn context about the artist Picasso and how Kummer effectively researched for his accurate historical portrayals.

"We are grateful that Mr. Kummer has taken the time from his very busy schedule (he is in the middle of deadlines for his second novel) to chat with our class about writing and revision and how history intersects with the present," said Shari Benyousky, English Instructor at Ivy Tech Warsaw. "We are very lucky to have the opportunity to learn in this unique way that Zoom and Ivy Tech and the era of Covid have created."


Luke Jerod Kummer is a writer and an editor. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, New Republic, the Washingtonian, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Village Voice, Literary Hub and The Millions. Kummer's new historical novel, The Blue Period, reimagines the tragic events coloring the somber-toned palette that a young Pablo Picasso used for painting portraits of shared suffering and despair during the first years of the 20th century.


Public may register to join via Zoom: https://ivytech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUvduyoqjMtGtSjdgSGazFSkA_0-KqhJkvT



Public Invited To Take Part In Author Discussion

MARCH 12, 2021 | By Jackie Gorski, Times-Union staff writer


People can listen to author Luke Kummer talk about his book about Pablo Picasso and his writing process during a Zoom event through Ivy Tech Warsaw at 10 a.m. March 25.


Kummer's book, "The Blue Period," talks about the early life of Picasso, from being a child to his post-adolescent life, Kummer said.


While Picasso lived to be 91, Kummer's book ends in 1904, when Picasso was roughly 23.

At this point in time, Picasso was poor and wasn't known as the artist that he now is, Kummer said.


A personal tragedy changed Picasso.


A friend, Casagemas, went with Picasso to Paris to visit the World's Fair in 1900. There, Casagemas fell in love with Laure Gargallo, who ultimately spurned his affections. Casagemas committed suicide in 1901, Kummer said.


Picasso was tranformed by this. He had worked in lively styles before this and then he went into a deep depression and used a lot of blues and greens, Kummer said.


He said while he doesn't have a background in art history, he was, in a way, drawn to the story of how one event can change a man and art in general.


During the Zoom event, Kummer also will be talking about his writing process.


He will speak about writing with empathy. He said writing is about understanding your subject and conveying that information.


The Zoom event is open to the public.


"The Zoom class will occur during one of my normal class time periods with Zoom, but Ivy Tech Warsaw has allowed us to open the session to the public," said Shari Benyousky, professor of English and humanities at Ivy Tech.


People can register by going to ivytech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUvduyoqjMtGtSjdgSGazFSkA_0-KqhJkvT.


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting, Benyousky said.


Benyousky explained how the event happened.


"My friend Danielle Boggs-Robertson, an actress, props maker for the Wagon Wheel, and volunteer at the Chicago Museum of Natural History, connected me with Luke Kummer through her work in Chicago. Luke and I connected via Zoom and brainstormed how to discuss his first novel, 'The Blue Period,' with my Ivy Tech composition class. Ivy Tech and the Warsaw chancellor, Allyn Decker, have been very supportive in our efforts to expose students to new thinking and communication options," Benyousky said.


After Kummer speaks March 25, guests and students will be welcome to ask questions about Picasso, the book and Luke's writing process, Benyousky said.


Kummer said young writers are learning a lot in their early careers and there's a lot to learn about in regards to writing with empathy.


— Read the article on The Times-Union's website.  



Greek Translation of The Blue Period Published

NOVEMBER 16, 2020—Klidarithmos, one of the leading publishers of nonfiction and fiction titles in Greece, has published a translation of The Blue Period by Alexis Kalofolias into Greek. Launch announcements were made in the Fall Review of LIFO free-press magazine. This is the second translation of the work following the publication this summer of a version in Bulgarian.







Crystal Radio Sessions at KGB Bar

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2020, 7:00 PM-9:00 PM

Crystal Radio Sessions presents "a monthly reading series devoted to transmitting powerful literary voices," hosted by Christie Grotheim, Rachel Aydt and Ashley Mayne at KGB Bar. Featuring Vigel Chime, Sean Williamson, Luke Jerod Kummer and Wesley Brown.

85 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003




Book Club Makes Guide to Reading The Blue Period and Visiting Philly Museum

NOVEMBER 3, 2019—The Novel Tourist, a website and book club that brings together bibliophiles and travel bugs, has created a helpful guide for anyone who wants to follow up The Blue Period with a trip to see the extensive Picasso collection at The Barnes Foundation. The organizers have shared a map of the Philadelphia art museum that will lead visitors to some of the painter's canvasses from his early Blue and Rose periods. There is also a thoughtful discussion of how events portrayed in the novel may have influenced the artist and these works.


— Learn more at The Novel Tourist's website.



Novel Tourists Book Club presents: "Barnes Museum and The Blue Period"

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2019, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM


HOST: The Novel Tourists of Philadelphia Book Club


DETAILS FROM THE BOOK CLUB: "Let's pair up a visit to The Barnes Museum with a great historical fiction book, The Blue Period, by Luke Jerod Kummer. Kummer's novel details Picasso's life in his early years — specifically, what's become known as his Blue Period. During this time of his life, Picasso often focused on subjects living on the margins of society. The paintings all had a bluish cast."


THE LOCATION: Barnes Museum, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA
"The Barnes Foundation is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution that shares its unparalleled art collection with the public, organizes special exhibitions, and presents programming that fosters new ways of thinking about human creativity. We'll meet there to explore the amazing collection of art in the Barnes, including some of Picasso's work from the Blue Period."


The 42nd Annual Book Fair at the National Press Club

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1ST, 2019, 5:30PM-8:30PM

The National Press Club and Journalism Institute invite over 100 authors to attend an annual event in the club's historic ballroom in Washington, D.C.


Full Stop magazine publishes conversation between novelists Kummer and Hermann

SEPTEMBER 25, 2019 | By Full Stop 


"Another challenge I set for myself is I knew people identify Picasso with Cubism, which changed his life and western art. And so I was trying to figure out how – even though his Cubism phase doesn't happen until several years after my book concludes – to give a nod to it within writing about this earlier period. I came up with an idea rooted in thinking that Cubism starts in the 20th Century's first decade, which is about a hundred years after the third-person omniscient voice with internal thoughts entered literature with Jane Austen – Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma – which was later taken up by Flaubert and Tolstoy, whose book Anna Karenina makes an appearance in The Blue Period.


That kind of writing didn't exist in western literature beforehand. Then, Cubism comes along with the same intent of not just portraying a single perspective but multiple perspectives in the visual arts.


I found this interesting and wondered if I could write in a vein that would have been popular at the time – something like what young Picasso's contemporaries were reading – while inviting a comparison of how the dawn of multiple perspectives in literature perhaps led painters to think about how to represent that as well. I also considered the Renaissance artists Picasso had studied, whose achievement was the invention of linear perspective. This too has a parallel in literature: shortly after Michelangelo's time, Cervantes wrote Don Quixote, the West's first novel. The point is, there's always been interplay between the visual arts and literature, and I wanted to bring that into my book. I tried in a couple ways."


— Read more of the in-depth discussion at Full Stop magazine's website.



Luke Jerod Kummer & Nellie Hermann in Conversation at Powerhouse Arena

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28, 2019, 7:00-9:00PM

The Powerhouse Arena celebrates the debut of The Blue Period with a conversation between Luke Jerod Kummer and Nellie Hermann, the author of Season of Migration, a novel about van Gogh's early years.

28 Adams Street (Corner of Adams & Water Street @ the Archway), Brooklyn, NY 11201

Please RSVP here


Press Club member writes first novel about Picasso's Blue Period

AUGUST 22, 2019 | By Naomi Weiss


Luke Jerod Kummer's curiosity for what makes a good story led to his discovering a vital part of Pablo Picasso's life that dramatically influenced the artist's work but was barely explored elsewhere, the author of "The Blue Period" told a National Press Club Book Rap on Tuesday, Aug. 20, in Cosgrove Lounge.


Picasso blamed himself for the death of sister and his friend Carles Casagemas, Kummer said. This resulted in "a radical flow of empathy" which influenced the artist's vision of humanity and the suffering of people who lived in his hometown of Malaga, Spain, and in Montmartre, France, where he went to paint.


Kummer, a Club member, took the discovery of Picasso's influence and imagined Picasso's life during his Blue Period, 1900-1904, to write his debut novel, "The Blue Period."


Picasso's works during his Blue Period exquisitely captured his subjects' emotions, body language and suffering through the artist's use of blue, black, dark greens and brown palates. Although the paintings are today among the most popular works by the artist, he had trouble selling them at the time. A slide show of these paintings was projected during the Book Rap.


Kummer said he was influenced by reading Patty Smith's "Just Kids" about her relationship with photographer Robert Maplethorpe.


Kummer is a reporter, editor and travel writer whose nonfiction work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, New York Magazine, New Republic and Village Voice. He was introduced by Joe Luchok, who moderated the event.


— Read the full article on The National Press Club's website.



Book Rap at The National Press Club

TUESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2019, 6:30 PM

The National Press Club hosts a reading of The Blue Period and a Q&A in the Cosgrove Lounge.

529 14th St NW, Washington, DC (please check in on the 13th Floor)

RSVP: npcbooksauthors@gmail.com


Press Club to Host Book Rap About Fictional Portrait of Picasso

JULY 30, 2019 | By Naomi Weiss


National Press Club member Luke Jerod Kummer plans to discuss his debut novel, "The Blue Period," at a Book Rap in the Cosgrove Lounge on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 6:30 p.m.


The event is free for Club members and their guests but registration is required. Please email npcbooksauthors@gmail.com.


Kummer plans to sell books at the event. Please also reserve a copy when registering for the event.

In "The Blue Period," Kummer envisions the rarely-known bohemian life of young Pablo Picasso as a time of love, lust, death and despair.


"From rowdy Barcelona barrooms to the incandescent streets of turn-of-the-century Paris, Pablo Picasso experiences the sumptuous highs and seedy lows of bohemian life alongside his rebellious poet friend with a shadowy past, Carles Casagemas," according to a press release by Kummer's publisher.


"Lusciously written and deeply imaginative, Kummer's debut is an edgy, elegant reimagining of a period in Picasso's life that forever changed the art world," said Karin Tanabe, author of "The Gilded Years."

Kummer has worked as a reporter, editor and travel writer. His nonfiction pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, New York magazine, New Republic, the Washingtonian and the Village Voice.


— Read the full article on The National Press Club's website



Book Party for The Blue Period at Rizzoli Bookstore

Rizzoli Bookstore at 1133 Broadway in New York.

MONDAY, JULY 15, 2019, 6:00-8:00PM

Rizzoli Bookstore celebrates the debut of The Blue Period with refreshments and live music by @maferbandola of LADAMA.

1133 Broadway, New York, NY


The Blue Period chosen as an "Amazon First Read" for June 2019

JUNE 1, 2019—The Blue Period was selected to be a part of Amazon First Reads, a program offering early access to editors' top picks for soon-to-be-released titles, both Kindle versions and special advance hardcovers. 


From the Editor:


"Behind every great piece of art is a story. Behind the early work of Pablo Picasso, there was a drama so tragic and intense, it's surprising that a novel like this has never been written.


In Luke Jerod Kummer's The Blue Period, we see the real-life story of how Picasso ventured to Paris as a young man and found himself entangled in a love triangle that nearly ruined him before inspiring his great period of artistic achievement.


I love how this novel gave me the experience of being in Paris at the turn of the twentieth century—before the city was the center of artistic expression, and long before Picasso's groundbreaking work in cubism began. In the novel, we come to understand and see the young artist, barely an adult, arrive in Paris from Barcelona and discover his potential. I was fascinated to learn that from that span of time emerged what art historians now call the Blue Period, thought by many to be a reference only to his palette but that also encompasses the early, dark mood that beset Picasso—until true love saved him at last, and led to the Rose Period that first brought him fame.


Luke Jerod Kummer managed to take what was once a few paragraphs in Picasso's biography and turn it into a wonderfully told coming-of-age novel. After reading this book, I'll never look at another Picasso painting the same way." — Carmen Johnson, Editor



The Blue Period reviewed by Booklist

MAY 24, 2019—"The early life of the world-renowned artist, Pablo Picasso, gets an historical fiction rendering from travel writer and journalist Kummer in his first novel. In rich, color-infused passages, young Picasso excels beyond the traditional art schools in Barcelona, falls in with a raucous group of creatives, including poet and artist Carles Casagemas, with whom he has a maudlin yet steadfast friendship, and, fatefully, has a painting accepted for the 1900 World Exposition in Paris. It is there that Pablo and his cohort Carles discover a bohemian life that exceeds their hitherto limited aspirations. It is also where the two meet and fall for a Parisian brunette named Germaine who models for them. What starts as friendship and scenes reminiscent of the classic Truffaut film Jules et Jim (1962), turns sour as Carles obsessively longs for Germaine while Pablo passionately acts on his desire for her. Kummer's descriptions of Paris at the turn of the century and the emotional turmoil within fame-destined Pablo create a quixotic tone that fans of lush biographical fiction will find especially alluring." — Booklist