Local Authors Come To Syosset Public Library


On yet another rainy Saturday afternoon, patrons packed the Syosset Public Library theater to hear about new and exciting books written by locals.
The Local Author Showcase, which took place on Oct. 21, gave local authors the opportunity to discuss their story, and their book, in front of a crowd of readers. Afterwards, the authors and attendees gathered for a meet & greet. The books were on sale by the Friends of the Syosset Public Library.
Susanah K. Pratt was among the speakers of the event. She is the former supervisor of circulation at the Syosset Public Library, as well as the author of How Do You Do, My Name is Sue!.
“I started here when it was a little library downtown, it was the post office building,” Pratt said. “I think it is the most magnificent library.”
Upon her retirement, Pratt said her children were already married, and she still had energy in her to travel.
A friend of hers, who also worked at the Syosset Public Library, said she wanted to go explore parts of Africa.
“I said I’ll go with you,” Pratt said. “We were six people and we went and it was amazing… You need to be informed, you need to know what’s out there and you need to know what interests and if you are in a position financially and emotionally, you can do it. If they said ‘you can’t do that, I say, ‘why not, tell me why not’ I’ve been in helicopters, and all kinds of planes, and trains and automobiles, wonderful experiences.”
And the adventure continues. Pratt, who became a widow at 39, got remarried at 84. Her husband, George Pratt, attended the event with Pratt.
Also among the attendees was George O’Donnell, a Woodbury resident, who worked for 20 years as a police officer (K-9 and uniformed patrolman) for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department. His book, Manhattan Manhunt, tells the behind-the-scenes story of the intense manhunt for international jewel thieves. The K-9 capture of accomplices leads to big breaks in the case. It is a fictional novel inspired by a real-life arrest with the help of O’Donnell’s K-9 partner, Billion.
“I was very impressed with they way it went, it was very professional,” O’Donnell said of the showcase.

The following is the biographies of all the authors who spoke at the event:

Ira Bellach:
A native of central Connecticut, Ira Bellach currently resides on the north shore of Long Island. He has held numerous technology related positions in banking, naval architecture, computer services and not-for-profit organizations in metropolitan New York over the past 40 years. He a is a Pratt Institute graduate, where he majored in industrial engineering/operations research and has an MBA from Pace University. He is married with two grown children, a son and a daughter. His book is titled The Request For Proposal.

Katherine M. Gionakis:
Growing up on Long Island has not taken the author far from all the places she called home. A mother for 22 years and a wife for 26, she has been researching the story of her life since the moment she discovered her adoption. This book is a culmination of that process after many years. Katherine is married and she and her husband, David, share three children, Jeremy, Sarah and Joshua. Her book is titled According to Me.

Mary Korpi:
The Lady Lighthouse Keeper is Mary Korpi’s first work of historical fiction. After raising her three sons in Syosset, she retired to the North Fork following a career with Nassau BOCES. On a mission to meet people and get involved, she became a docent at Horton Point Lighthouse, where she discovered Stella Prince, the only woman lighthouse keeper at Horton Point Lighthouse. She enjoys sharing Stella’s story.

George O’Donnell:
During his time as a police officer, he made hundreds of arrests, including robberies, assaults and homicides. He holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and served as a union delegate for police officers. His book is titled Manhattan Manhunt.

Sandra Peddie:
Newsday investigative reporter Sandra Peddie has won more than 75 awards for her work, including the $35,000 Selden Ring Award for stories on pension fraud and abuses in special government districts that led to changes in New York State law. She was the finalist for the Public Service Pulitzer in 2014 for stories on police misconduct and also was a reporter on Newsday’s 1995 Pulitzer Prize-winning police disability fraud series. In 2011, she was named Long Island’s Outstanding Journalist of the Year. She has won two New York Emmys, most recently for the documentary, American Gangster. Peddie served on the board of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and has taught journalism at Hofstra and Stony Brook universities. She is the author of two books: The Repetitive Strain Injury Sourcebook (1997)and SONNY, The Last of the Old-Time Mafia Bosses, John Sonny Franzese.

Susanah K. Pratt:
In 2020, while looking for something to do during COVID lock-down, Sue Pratt joined a Zoom class about writing a chapter of her life. That chapter quickly became her book How Do You, My Name is Sue! which recounts her life. Her memoir sets forth some of the memories of her life’s journey in hopes that a reader might get a glimpse of her as a growing, evolving woman.

Dr. Dhruva G. Sulibhavi:
Physician by trade, Dr. Dhruva Sulibhavi has always had an avid interest in literature. Raised in India, he fondly remembers his trips to the library in his hometown there as a child. Although his dream of studying literature never materialized, he was left with the “reading bug.” While his professional life led him to medicine, he was never cured of the reading bug. He found a good refuge in the Syosset Public Library since moving to this neighborhood in 1981. Since retirement, Dr. Sulibhavi has been penning short stories and essays. His book is titled The Other Side of the Desk.

Michael Vecchione:
Michael Vecchione is the former Chief of the Homicide Bureau, Chief of Trials and First Deputy District Attorney and Chief of the Rackets Division in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, topping off a legal career of 40 years, 30 of those as a prosecutor. In 2007 he was awarded the Thomas E. Dewey Medal as prosecutor of the year. He is a frequent contributor to the true crime television and movie productions and podcasts. He has served as an adjunct professor of law at St. John’s University School of Law, Brooklyn School of Law and The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. He lives in Long Island City with his wife Lenor Romano.
—Jennifer Corr contributed to this story


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