Former Asnuntuck professor pens new book, to speak at Enfield Library

Enfield — Fred Sokol, who taught at Asnuntuck Community College for 31 years, will be returning to Enfield to discuss his latest novel, on Aug. 3 at the Enfield Public Library.

Sokol’s latest book, Silverbirch Summer, is a coming-of-age story of a young woman, April, who is 18 years old during the summer of 1965 and gets a job in the Catskills. He said he drew on his experiences working with young women over his decades in theatre, but April is not based on any one person.


“It’s told in her voice and it’s four months in her life,” he said. “She lies about her age to get a job, and then suddenly she’s deciding amongst three men. It’s inside of her. Being a theatre guy and working with young women forever, many of them were 18, 19, or 20, and I thought I understood something about what’s going on - what’s inside of their choices, so I decided to write this book. It’s kind of a memory piece. I was that age in 1965, but it’s not about me. There are a lot of people in the book.”

Many young women used to confide in him, he said, so he was able to draw on a lot of their experiences and thoughts they shared.


April does reflect on her life growing up in Long Island, and scenes of her childhood that include her neighbor and playmate, a boy who played basketball with her, and returns to her life later on.

“It’s kind of episodic, and then there are these two other men who come into play,” he said.

Sokol said he wondered if he was pulling off the voice of a young woman correctly, so he had several female friends, of varying ages, read the book an give him feedback.

“They said, ‘Yeah, you’ve got that,’” he said. “I was pleased about that.”

But the book isn’t meant to only appeal to women. Sokol said he things there’s something for a wide range of people in Silverbirch Summer.

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“It’s for everyone. It’s for young adults. It’s primarily adult fiction,” he said. “It’s set in 1965, so it’s historical fiction. Yes, I think women will relate to this. I think men will relate to this, too. There’s a lot to think about. It’s for adults of any gender. It’s for oldsters, as well. I’m going to be presenting it at a couple of senior centers.”

Sokol said he is already planning a sequel, but it’s set farther in April’s future, near modern times, as the tentative title is April at 70.

“We jump from 18 to 70,” he said, adding that there may have to be a few flashbacks to fill in that 52-year gap. “So, I may have to go backward at times.”


Sokol is slated to be part of Asnuntuck’s 50th anniversary celebration this fall, possibly directing another play, to add to the 35 shows he did there over the years.

“If this happens again, it’s gonna be something I’ve written with two former students,” he said. “We’ll do something. I think it’ll be fun to celebrate.”

Sokol, who is now in semi-retirement, was a college professor for four decades, including five at American International College in Springfield, and now teaches an acting class through his local library. He also writes novels and plays, and reviews professional theater for

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