Coming this Fall!


by Nina Kennedy

Practicing for Love: A Memoir by Nina Kennedy, is written from the perspective of an African American woman who tries to make her way in the white male dominated classical music field. A child prodigy, Nina Kennedy gives her first complete piano recital at age nine, and is one of three accepted from a pool of 72 pianists for study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She earns a master's degree at the Juilliard School in solo piano performance and orchestral conducting. Kennedy then presents her New York Recital Debut at Lincoln Center, and receives a rave review in the New York Times. She later served as conducting apprentice under Maestro Kurt Masur during his stints with the New York Philharmonic and L'Orchestre National de France.

But unfortunately, she discovers that as a black female, she is not allowed to compete at American international competitions or for American concert management contracts.

Practicing for Love is also the story of a daughter of demanding, distant parents, aching for connection, and of a woman searching for intimacy. Nina reveals intimate details of her quest for love in the arms of her female lovers, and her ultimate partnership with Susan Seltzer, a systems programmer at J.P. Morgan, who makes it possible for her to focus on her career without struggling financially. After years of domestic bliss, however, Susan succumbs to breast cancer at 33 years old, and Nina is left wondering why life is so cruel.

"It always frustrated me how Gertrude Stein never wrote about her personal, intimate life with Alice B. Toklas, so I wrote the kind of book I would've wanted to read."

Six years later, she climbs her way out of a downward spiral after finding herself in an abusive relationship. She ventures to Europe where she finds a woman from the Austrian Alps who helps her to set up a home base in Vienna, then in Cologne, Germany, and then in Paris. Ultimately, the success of then presidential candidate Barack Obama inspires Kennedy to return to her country, where she produces an award-winning documentary film.

Practicing for Love is a book for adults, full of juicy romantic encounters. "It always frustrated me how Gertrude Stein never wrote about her personal, intimate life with Alice B. Toklas, so I wrote the kind of book I would've wanted to read," she says.


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