On Sat, May 14, at 2pm, we invite you to enjoy us for a wonderful talk by local author Rex Pickett.

The Archivist, his latest book, is set in San Diego, around UCSD.

When archivist Nadia Fontaine is found dead of an apparent drowning, Emily Snow is hired by Regents University to finish the job she started — to organize and process the papers of Raymond West, a famous Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has been short-listed for the Nobel.

Emily’s job comes with its inherent pressures. West’s wife, Elizabeth, is an heiress who’s about to donate $25 million to the Memorial Library — an eight-story architectural marvel that is the crown jewel of the university. The inaugural event in just a few months will be a gala for the who’s who of San Diego to celebrate the unveiling of the Raymond West Collection and the financial gift that made it all possible.

As Emily sets to work on the West papers, it begins to dawn on her that several items have gone missing from the collection. To trace their whereabouts, she gains unsupervised access to the highly restricted “dark archives,” in which she opens a Pandora’s box of erotically and intellectually charged correspondence between Raymond West and the late Nadia Fontaine. Through their archived emails, Emily goes back a year in time and relives the tragic trajectory of their passionate love affair. Did Nadia really drown accidentally, as the police report concluded, or could it have been suicide, or, even worse, murder? Compelled to complete the collection and find the truth, Emily unwittingly morphs into an adult Nancy Drew and a one-woman archivist crusader on a mission to right the historical record.

Twistingslowly like a tourniquet, The Archivist turns into a suspenseful murder mystery with multiple and intersecting layers. Not just a whodunit, it is also a profound meditation on love, privacy, and the ethics of destroying or preserving materials of a highly personal nature.

Rex Pickett is the critically-acclaimed author of the novel Sideways, which was adapted into the iconic, award-winning feature film directed by Alexander Payne.  Sideways won over 350 plaudits from various critics and film organizations, received five Academy Award nominations and won for Best Adapted Screenplay, received seven Golden Globe nominations and won two for Best Screenplay and Best Musical or Comedy, and undeniably changed the wine world forever. 

Rex is the author of two Sideways sequels – the IPPY Gold Medal award-winning Vertical, and Sideways 3: Chile.  He is also the screenwriter of My Mother Dreams the Satan’s Disciples in New York, which captured the 2000 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short, making Rex, technically, a two-time Oscar-winning writer.  Additionally, Rex has written and staged the Sideways play four times, the most notable being with three-time Tony Award winner Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys) directing in a record-setting run at the La Jolla Playhouse.  He also wrote the Book and the Lyrics for Sideways the musical with his composer partner Anthony Leigh Adams, which is in the early planning stages to have its worldwide premiere in New Zealand in 2021.  His upcoming novel The Archivist will be published in the fall of 2021 by Blackstone Publishing. 

A southern California native, Rex has written/directed two indie feature films, and his Rex Pickett Papers are currently enshrined at Geisel Library in their Special Collections & Archives on the campus of his alma mater, the University of California, San Diego.  He is currently working on his autobiography My Life on Spec for Exile Editions and, if the planets align, will travel to an unnamed major wine region to research and write Sideways IV.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: May 14, 2022 02:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


May 14: Rex Pickett Author of Sideways and the Archivist

June 11, Summer Sizzler Speaker Series, Allison Brennan

July, Summer Sizzler Speaker Series, TBA

August, Summer Sizzler Speaker Series, Assistant Chief and Director of Operations for the LAPD