Christopher Buckley to appear at next Hay-Adams Author luncheon

August 20, 2013
Political satirist Christopher Buckley (Courtesy of Twelve. Credit Katy Close). Political satirist Christopher Buckley (Courtesy of Twelve. Credit Katy Close).

Christopher Buckley will be the next speaker in the Hay-Adams Author Series on Sept. 20 — which could be a problem.

Typically, the menu for these elegant luncheons is inspired by the featured writer’s most recent book. In Buckley’s case, that would be a wicked satire about US-China relations called “They Eat Puppies, Don’t They?

Not to worry: No dog meat will be served at the Hay-Adams.

Instead, the chef is planning a meal inspired by the “Washington Power Scene.” Think crab cakes, fish du jour, prime rib, Cobb salad.

Buckley tells me there are special advantages to speaking from the glass-lined dining room soaring over Lafayette Park: “I’m very much looking forward to looking down on the White House from the top of the Hay-Adams. If no one else is paying attention to my remarks, the Secret Service snipers will be. It’s always reassuring to know that highly-armed, highly-trained professionals are hanging on one’s every word.”

These are tough times for satirists. Buckley keeps finding that even his most outlandish  plots are overtaken by real events: 

“‘They Eat Puppies’ is a novel about a Chinese plot to poison the Dalai Lama. One week after the book came out, the Dalai Lama gave an interview saying the Chinese had, in fact, tried exactly that. And a few weeks later, Bo Xi Lai’s wife was arrested for actually poisoning a British national. All of which reminds me, yet again, of the futility of satire in a post-satirical world. I give up.”

Relax — he’s not giving up.

(Courtesy of Twelve) (Courtesy of Twelve)

Buckley is the second author in the Hay-Adams Author Series since the program returned from a brief hiatus last year. John Taliaferro, who recently published a biography of John Hay, the former U.S. Secretary of State who once lived at the site of the hotel, was the guest of honor on June 27.

Since its founding in 2005, this luncheon series has hosted some of the nation’s most celebrated authors, including John Grisham, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates and Walter Isaacson.

Tickets to the Buckley event on Sept. 20 can be purchased for $85 by calling 202-638-6600.

If you can’t make it, remember that Buckley will also read at the National Book Festival on the Mall on Sept. 22.


Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.
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