Friday, August 3rd

Condé Nast kaffeeklatsch: New Yorker editor Jeffrey Frank’s novel Trudy Hopedale is described by fellow New Yorker contributor David Sedaris as “cunning and relentlessly funny.” (Can we just take this opportunity to say that the love story between Mr. Sedaris and his Hugh is the only thing giving us hope these days?) Anyway, reading with Mr. Frank at one of those dread “writers’ spaces” will be novelist and New School professor Helen Schulman, whose serious novel about 9/11 is called A Day at the Beach. A chatty, delightful Ms. Schulman explained that the title is “ironic but also real,” since her characters, Tribecans, escape to East Hampton after the towers fall. “People keep saying to me that the book is funny,” she said. “It’s not a funny ha-ha book, but there are funny moments, because it’s a snapshot of a culture that has its strengths and its obvious weaknesses. Many devastating things happen in the course of this day, but I tend to write with a lot of black humor.” The 9/11 of Ms. Schulman, spouse of Vanity Fair editor Bruce Handy (no relation to Jack Handy, we think), was no day at the beach. “Osama didn’t take into account the New York City private school system,” she said. “Several people’s lives were spared because they were taking their kids to school. It was the first day.” We knew those $25,000 tuitions were good for something! Meanwhile, more evidence that the world as we know it is coming to an end, regardless of 9/11: Seventeen playwrights are presenting, in succession, their dramatic interpretations of Wikipedia entries, including “The Defenestration of Prague” and “Castration Anxiety.” Playwright Liz Flahive (“Bohemia”) is a beauty editor for Marie Claire by day. “There isn’t a huge market for beauty editor-slash-playwrights,” she said. “It’s my secret double life.” Oh, our secret double life involves lipstick too, honey, but that’s all we’re saying.…

[Helen Schulman & Jeffrey Frank at Paragraph, 8 p.m., 25 West 14th Street; The Wikipedia Plays at Ars Nova, 7 p.m., 511 West 54th Street]

Friday, August 3rd