Literary Lunch Break: Susan Wilson

The Boston Literary District hates to see you eating alone at your desk. That’s why we’re putting on Literary Lunch Break! Come hear eight of Boston’s best authors speak, sign, and shmooze about their latest books right under South Station’s Destination Board. The roster includes three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Kurkjian, veteran journalist Dick Lehr, Omni Parker House historian Susan Wilson, and pediatrician and musician Lisa Wong. 

Susan Wilson 
Omni Parker House: "Heaven, By Hotel Standards" 

In March of 1877, humorist Mark Twain was staying at the Parker House (School Street by Tremont) in room 168. A reporter from the Globe entered Twain’s room, shuttled in by a porter. After a pause of several moments, Twain swiveled around in his large easy chair and faced his visitor. With a local newspaper in hand and puffing on a large cigar, he observed to the reporter, “You see for yourself that I’m pretty near heaven—not theologically, of course, but by the hotel standard.” Inspired by Twain, Susan Wilson named her anecdotal and lavishly illustrated new book on the history of the Omni Parker House, Heaven, By Hotel Standards. Fascinating stories from that book will make up her talk at South Station, including tales of the illustrious Saturday Club, which regularly drew to the hotel some of the greatest luminaries of the Golden Age of American Literature—like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and John Greenleaf Whittier. (Guys like Ho Chi Minh and Malcolm X worked there later on.) Along with being an award-winning author and former Boston Globe reporter, Wilson is a highly sought-after photographer. She’s also one of the coolest, nicest people you’ll ever want to meet and played a significant role in helping to bring shape to the Boston Literary District. She knows everything about Boston’s literary history.