The downtown Left Bank Books invites the public to join in welcoming internationally acclaimed author Richard Russo Friday, May 11, at 7 p.m. Russo will give a rare public talk about his career and craft at First Church, 14 Church St., just a few steps from the book shop.

The free, special event is being held in conjunction with the May 8 release of Russo’s latest work, “The Destiny Thief: Essays on Writing, Writers and Life.” Following his talk, Russo will sign copies of “The Destiny Thief,” as well as his other works.

A master of the novel, short story and memoir, the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Everybody’s Fool,” now offers his first collection of essays, through which he provides insight into life as a writer, teacher, friend and reader. From a commencement speech he gave at Colby College; to the story of how an oddly placed toilet made him reevaluate the purpose of humor in art and life; to a comprehensive analysis of Mark Twain’s value; to his journey accompanying a dear friend pursuing gender-reassignment surgery, “The Destiny Thief” reflects Russo’s broad interests and experiences.

Russo is the author of eight novels, two collections of stories and a memoir. His 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning “Empire Falls” that was adapted into an award-winning HBO miniseries; in 2016 he received the Indie Champion Award by the American Booksellers Association; and last year he received France's Grand Prix de Littérature Américaine. He also is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts.

Russo’s talk and book signing are is free and open to the public, but reservations are strongly suggested by calling 338-9009 or emailing leftbank@myfairpoint.net; also call or email to pre-order books. The shop is open daily.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.