Getting to know him

The name Nurrudin Farah has come up along with other possible contenders for the Nobel Prize in Literature, but is not a regular on American best-seller lists. The Somalia-born author, who writes in English, simply is not as generally known as some other guests of Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Babel series – Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith. Fortunately, Babel lovers can get to know more about Farah before his visit to Buffalo at the Babel @ Betty’s Book Discussion on Monday, facilitated by Sam Magavern. The evening starts with food, coffee and wine at 6:30, with the book talk at 7 p.m. at Betty’s, 370 Virginia St. Tickets are $10. RSVP at 832-5400 or

For tickets for Farah’s Nov. 7 lecture at Kleinhans Music Hall, go to

Books of the month

Thursday is the start of National Novel Writing Month, and, according to its organizers, more than 300,000 people around the world will use that date to become novelists. Those taking part pledge to write 50,000 words by the time they type in “The End” by Nov. 30. “There are no judges, no prizes, and entries are deleted from the server before anyone even reads them,” according to the Office of Letters and Light – “a tiny but mighty nonprofit.”

Founder Chris Baty explains the rationale this way in a release: “When you write for quantity instead of quality, you end up getting both.” The group says that more than 90 novels begun during previous NaNoWriMo have since been published, including “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen, and “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.

For more information, visit or contact the area liaison, Steven Hoffman, at 715-3006 or at

Favorite haunts

Tonight is the night for family-friendly Haunted Manor tours at Knox Farm State Park, 437 Buffalo Road, East Aurora. Come at 5 or 7 p.m. to take part in one of Mason Winfield’s Haunted History Ghost Walk series. Tickets can be purchased online at Haunted They are $12 in advance, $15 night-of for adults, $8 and $10 for children.