Fay Webern

Author of The Button Thief of East 14th Street

Press & Reviews

What people are saying about Fay Webern and The Button Thief of East 14th Street

Great Review from The Washington Independent Review of Books

The Button Thief is one of the featured books in this week’s edition of The Washington Independent Review of Books!  Y.S. Fing wrote an enthusiastic review, concluding that

In this lovely memoir, we’re reminded anew of the bittersweet nature of growing up. Fay Webern has rendered a way to break out of a cycle of misery and embrace the ambivalent joys of life.

Read the full review here.

Animated GIFs and Enthusiastic Praise from “Books on GIF”!

“Books on GIF” is a fun and quirky book review column started by Michael P. Ventura, the Managing Editor of DNAInfo.  The title is pretty self-explanatory — he peppers his “smart and non-snooty” reviews with animated GIFs.

In January, he published an enthusiastic review of The Button Thief, delightfully illustrated with a slew of well-chosen animated GIFs .  (And you’ve  gotta check out the GIF he used at the end for his “rating” of the book!  It’s perfect!)

Here’s an excerpt:

Webern has many great stories about growing up, from her discovery of modern dance in a class held in the Lavanburg Homes’ basement to her finding romantic love on the building’s roof. There are also the fascinating tales of her family’s struggles for a better life, which involve arranged marriages, plucking chickens and button thievery. But what I found most interesting was her almost complete lack of nostalgia for those times.

Read the full “Books on GIF” review by clicking here.

In-depth profile of Fay Webern published in Vermont’s “Seven Days” independent weekly


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Rachel Elizabeth Jones interviewed Fay Webern about The Button Thief of East 14th Street , and wrote this wonderful in-depth profile for Seven Days, the hugely popular Vermont independent weekly.   It’s one of the best profiles of Fay and her work written yet.


A shout-out for Fay’s book launch from Montepelier’s The Bridge

Fay’s upcoming Dec 12 book launch at Light Club Lamp Shop (Burlington) and subsequent Dec 16 reading at the Vermont College of Fine Arts (Montpelier) got a nice write-up in The Bridge, Montpelier’s independent newspaper!

Fay interviewed by Vermont Public Radio!

On November 10th, Mary Williams of Vermont Public Radio interviewed Fay Webern for VPR’s “Weekly Conversation on The Arts.” 

In this fascinating 6 minute interview, Fay speaks about how a high school typing class led into a long career as a science writer and editor, and reveals one of the powerful motives that led her to write The Button Thief of East 14th Street.  

“I wanted to honor the streets. Keep the memory of them alive,” Fay said, noting that the “wrecking ball” had obliterated many of the streets and tenements of the Lower East Side, including Lavanburg Homes, the utopian housing project where Fay grew up.

“I did not know how to write in the first-person at all,” she said. “I thought that you had to ‘be there.’ But then I learned … that you could take the part of the narrator and the participant and that set me free to write about my mother’s stories, how she earned a living, Lavanburg and what a success it was,” Webern said.


“A Bride in the Forest” (Chapter One) published by Literal Latte

“A Bride in the Forest: How I Got My Name” — Chapter One of The Button Thief of East 14th Street — has been published by Literal Latte, the venerable NYC literary journal! 

The opening paragraph appears below — click on the button to read the full story (offsite).

The name I’m called, Fay, comes from “Feygela,” little bird. My real name, the name my mother bestowed on me, is FeygaPinya. That double name belonged to newlyweds in Kovel near Kiev, in Tsarist Russia. They were cousins of my mother, one from each side of her family. They were modern Jewish socialists, idealists like Tolstoy, who supported the uprising of 1905 with fiery speeches, but they meant no harm to anyone. When the uprising failed they fled into the vast forest….

Keep Reading…

Vermont Woman magazine: “Fay Webern: Writer, Storyteller”

Cynthia Close of Vermont Woman interviewed Fay as part of a series of notable Vermont women in the arts, and the result was this delightful profile:

“Fay Webern: Writer, Storyteller”

The accompanying photographs on the release captured the dramatic aura and energy that Webern exudes: her regal, chiseled features and beautifully expressive hands commanded immediate attention. The images suggested that this woman was a natural performer and storyteller, a first impression that was confirmed when I later met her…

Cynthia Close, Vermont Woman

Vermont’s Seven Days “LiveCulture” highlights Fay’s June reading in Burlington

In the “Live Culture lit news” section of Vermont’s Seven Days, Fay’s June 23 reading in Burlington got a great mention.

In the print edition, Fay’s photo was highlighted on the “Magnificent 7” page (click to enlarge):

Magnificient 7 page featuring Fay Webern


At 8 p.m., you could ramble over to the Light Club Lamp Shop to be transported in a rather different way: Eighty-eight-year-old Fay Webern will read from her soon-to-be-published The Button Thief of East 14th Street: Scenes From a Life on The Lower East Side 1927-1957.

A New York native, Webern studied writing after retirement and used to read her stories at the Knitting Factory; she moved to Vermont in 2002.

Seven Days LiveCulture Lit News