Author Arthur Golden returns to the Scenic City to preview his upcoming novel. (Photo: Contributed)

The show that brought intimate conversations with leading figures in politics, media entertainment and sports to the Chattanooga is now slated to host a hometown author whose work revealed a previously shuttered world.

For the inaugural year of fundraising event Studio 45, Alison Lebovitz of the WTCI program “The A List with Alison Lebovitz” will interview Arthur Golden, the author of “Memoirs of a Geisha.” Golden plans to discuss his upcoming book: another historical fiction that is based on a young boy from the Netherlands as he immigrates to the U.S. in the 1800s.

Studio 45 will replace the Be More Awards as WTCI's signature fundraiser.

Tickets to the March 7 event include hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, tours and a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the WTCI-PBS studio and a seat in the audience for the live question-and-answer session with the internationally known author.

Memoirs of a Geisha,” which was Golden’s debut work, hit bookstores in 1997 and went on to sell more than 4 million copies in English, be translated into 32 languages and appear on the silver screen as a 2005 motion picture.

The novel traces the life of a fictional geisha from her impoverished beginnings by the sea into one of the most guarded and traditional worlds within Japanese culture and through a nation’s transition in the time of World War II and after. 

Golden's book was adapted for a 2005 film 

Praise for the book and for Golden’s surprisingly delicate and intuitive first-person narration included The New York Times review that hailed “Memories of a Geisha” as “an impressive and unusual debut.”

Golden, who is the son of local benefactress Ruth Holmberg and great-grandson of newspaper man Adolph Ochs, grew up in Chattanooga and attended Baylor School before earning degrees from Harvard College and Columbia University in  art history, Japanese history and Mandarin, all of which proved useful in crafting his novel. 

“The A List with Alison Lebovitz” is a weekly interview show highlighting local and national names, including Ken Burns, Gwen Ifill, Pat Summitt, Soledad O'Brien and Sen. Bob Coker, that airs on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.