A Year in the Life: The Silver Unicorn Bookstore Turns One
Head northwest out of Boston up the incline of Route 2, pass where Thoreau spent his two years at Walden Pond, and in the next town you’ll find The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, which celebrates its one year anniversary on March 24. We talked with owner Paul Swydan to learn more about how the store came to fruition, its first year in business, and the array of events planned for the anniversary, in our newest article.
How to Conference: 11 Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Next Writing Conference
Whether you’re headed across the country to AWP at the end of March, or headed around the block to The Muse and the Marketplace at the beginning of April, we have some guidance for making the best out of your next writing conference - how to plan, how to socialize, how to handle that massive book fair - in our newest article.
Sidewalk Poetry Submissions Due March 10
The 5th Annual Cambridge Sidewalk Poetry Contest is still accepting submissions through Sunday, March 10. What is sidewalk poetry, and what happens if you win? Well, according to the Cambridge Arts website, “winning poems will be imprinted into the fresh concrete of new sidewalks around the city beginning in fall 2019.” You can find out more information, pictures, and a map of current Sidewalk Poetry, at their website.
Boston Immigrant Writer’s Salon Launches
The Boston Immigrant Writer’s Salon is a new literary venture launched in January seeking to “create a community which empowers and inspires immigrant voices.” We had the chance to chat with founder and community-centered writer Frankie Concepcion about the Salon’s origins and initiatives, its upcoming event launch, its underlying values and intentionality, and more, in our newest article.
Boston Book Blog Featured on Writer’s Bone Podcast
Well…we got to be on a podcast this week! Our EIC Jessica A. Kent sat down with Daniel Ford and Caitlin Malcuit at Writer’s Bone to chat about the Blog, the Boston literary scene, the writing process, Boston literary history, and more. (Basically all the nerdy content you’ve come to love.) You can find the episode page here, but what you SHOULD do, as a book fan, is just subscribe to their podcast. They have five years of excellent podcast and website content, on both the Boston writing scene and way beyond. Enjoy!
Poe Featured in City of Boston’s New Video Series
The City’s new Boston Uncovered video series highlights “different, unique pieces from Boston’s history and getting the perspective from the City’s resident experts.” This week they’re at the Edgar Allan Poe statue in Poe Square on Bolyston Street, chatting with Boston Literary District director Kit Haggard. Have a watch!
Lit Crawl Event Applications and One City One Story Submissions due February 28
The third Boston Lit Crawl will be happening on June 6 (you may remember it being the Thursday before the Boston Book Festival; as a way to keep the momentum going, it’s been moved to June). The Lit Crawl features literary stop-offs up and down Newbury St., including readings, improv, writerly games, trivia, and more. Have an idea for an event? Applications are being accepted until Thursday, February 28.
Speaking of the Boston Book Festival, submissions are open for One City One Story. The program features one story distributed throughout Boston, and a big discussion about that story during the Boston Book Festival. Submissions are being accepted until Thursday, February 28 as well.
A Whirlwind Romance Pop-Up Begins February 13
A Whirlwind Romance pop-up bookstore opens tomorrow, February 13, at Bow Market in Union Square, just in time for Valentine’s Day (and will be open for some post-Valentine’s Day escapism, too). The Silver Unicorn Bookstore is partnering with longtime local booksellers Clarissa Murphy and Katie Eelman to make the pop-up possible. Learn more about this local bookseller project, and about why there’s more to the Romance genre - and Romance readers - than you thought, in our newest article.
Jeopardy! Features Indie Stores…Including Grolier
On February 6, Jeopardy! contestants were greeted with the category “Independent Bookstores.” Grabbing a spot in the listing, along with The Strand, Powell’s, City Lights, and Square Books, was our own Grolier Poetry Book Shop, located in What is Cambridge? You can view the full episode here.
Spec Boston Reading Series Returns January 31
Speculative Boston is our city's reading series for all things "science fiction, fantasy, and horror of all kinds." Sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Spec Boston returns on Thursday, January 31 at Trident Books for readings from Lyra Selene, N.S. Dolkart, and Elaine Isaak (writing as E.C. Ambrose). Learn more about who they are, RSVP for Thursday's event, and submit your own work to be part of an upcoming reading at their website.
Boston Literary History: Katharine Lee Bates
You may have grown up singing “America the Beautiful,” but do you know about the woman behind its words? Local author Clara Silverstein gives us the story behind the interesting life of Katharine Lee Bates, who was a poet, yes, but was also a literature professor at Wellesley, a prolific writer, a traveler and war correspondent, and Robert Frost's mentor. Find out more in our newest Literary History post.
(Want more? The Newton Free Library is hosting a program on Bates next week!)
Peter Balakian and Susan Barba Read at Grolier Fundraiser
On Friday, January 25, the Grolier Poetry Foundation and Forums Trust will be hosting poets Peter Balakian and Susan Barba for a reading and fundraiser at the Sheraton Commander Hotel. According the website, the poets will "read from our work, reflect on poetry and its relationship to trauma, collective memory and the poem’s engagement with history." Tickets for the event begin at $100 ($70 for students), and all proceeds will go towards supporting the Grolier Poetry Book Shop, who recently applied to become a non-profit organization. Find out more here.
GrubStreet "So You Want to Be a Writer" Sessions January 24 and 26
One of the challenges of the writing life is not necessarily craft, but business: Where do I submit, how do I apply for fellowships, what is a query letter, etc. In order to help you, GrubStreet will be holding two upcoming sessions of "So You Want to Be a Writer: Tips on Applying to GrubStreet's Emerging Writer Fellowship and Other Opportunities." The first will be held on Thursday, January 24 in the evening in Mattapan, with instructor Eson Kim; the second will be held on Saturday, January 26 during the day in East Boston, with instructor Dariel Suarez. Each session will seek to demystify the process around applying to "fellowships, contests, scholarships and other creative writing opportunities," as well as provide information on the GrubStreet Emerging Writer Fellowship. Teens are encouraged to attend. Find out more here and here.
Tell-All Memoir Reading Series Returns January 17
Tell-All Boston, the new memoir reading series born from the alumni of GrubStreet’s Memoir Incubator, will be holding its second event on Thursday, January 17 at the Middlesex Lounge in Central Square. The evening will feature local authors Cheryl Levine, Rani Neutill, Catherine O’Neill, and Melanie S. Smith, and will feature special guest Garrard Conley, the author of Boy Erased and former instructor of the Memoir Incubator. Find out more information at the Tell-All Boston website. And want to learn more about the first event? Take a read through our interview with hosts Mike Sinert and Alysia Abbott.
Posman’s Book Coming to Boston
Publishers Weekly announced today that Posman’s Books, based in New York City, will open their new location this coming summer on Newbury St. The store will feature both books and ice cream, and will hold more “non-traditional” selections. According to the article, the owners are aware that Trident Booksellers and Cafe, a Boston literary staple since 1984, occupies the “other end of Newbury St.,” but they’re confident that they’re going to differentiate enough from Trident as not to compete. We’ll keep you updated as we hear more!
District Hall Hosts Conversation on Libraries as Civic Spaces
District Hall, the Seaport’s “public innovation center,” will be holding a program entitled "Conversation in Civic Innovation: Libraries as Drivers of Civic Engagement” on Wednesday, January 16. Featuring David Leonard of the Boston Public Library, Dan Cohen of Northeastern Library, Chris Colbert of the Harvard Innovation Labs, and Elizabeth Soeiro, a Cambridgeport School librarian, the panel will be moderated by Kim Lucas of the City of Boston's Department of Information Technology. The evening’s intention is to have "a discussion on libraries as drivers of civic engagement.” The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
BPL Marks Molasses Flood 100th with Stephen Puleo Talk
The Great Molasses Flood is one of the more odd pieces of Boston history. On January 15, 1919, a massive 2 million gallon molasses tank in the North End (located where the bocce ball courts are now) burst, sending a 20’ high wave of molasses across Atlantic Avenue, flattening everything in its path, twisting the rails of the elevated train, and killing 21 and injuring over 150. Stephen Puleo, who wrote the book Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, will be giving a talk at the Boston Public Library main branch on Tuesday, January 15 about the Molasses Flood on its 100th anniversary. More information can be found here.
Writers’ Room of Boston Fellowship Applications Due January 15
The Writers’ Room of Boston, "an urban writers' retreat committed to providing a quiet, affordable, and secure workspace for emerging and established writers,” is accepting fellowship applications until Tuesday, January 15. Fellowship benefits include full access to the space around the clock, as well as other perks. Recipients also have the opportunity to contribute to the blog, assist with outreach, have a public reading (if they choose), and more. Fellowships can be for any genre as well. Interested in applying? Find out more at their Fellowship page. And learn more about the Writers’ Room of Boston in our profile from last year.
Ben Franklin at Bibliophile Birthdays
The next event in the Old South Meeting House Bibliophile Birthdays series will highlight the literary side of Benjamin Franklin, born just across the street from the OSMH. Join scholar Robert Martello on Friday, January 11 at 1:00pm to learn more about Franklin's literary works - including poems, stories, and essays - how his background as a printer informed his writing, and more. Tickets $6; free for OSMH members. Visit the website for more information.
Arlington Authors Salon Returns on January 10
Founded in 2015 and hosted at the Kickstand Cafe, the Arlington Author Salon is a quarterly reading series “with a twist: each author’s presentation includes something special to tickle the senses. Let yourself be transported with an immersive, literary experience.” Past readers have included Steve Almond, Margot Livesey, Alysia Abbott, Mira T. Lee, Reggie Gibson, and more. Their next event on Thursday, January 10 will be entitled “A Short Story Suite,” and will feature local authors Ben Berman, Virginia Pye, and Dariel Suarez. More information can be found here.
Lesley University Winter Evening Reading Series January 4-12
Starting Friday, January 4, Lesley University will be hosting their annual Winter Evening Reading Series, featuring MFA program professors, graduate students, and visiting writers, including outgoing Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Legros Georges. YA author Renée Watson will be headlining. The line-up will be:
Friday, Jan. 4: Steven Cramer & Laurie Foos
Saturday, Jan. 5: Renée Watson
Sunday, Jan. 6: Stephen Haven & Kate Snodgrass
Monday, Jan. 7: Danielle Legros Georges & Chris Lynch
Wednesday, Jan. 9: Jane Brox & Jason Reynolds
Thursday, Jan. 10: Graduating Student Readings
Friday, Jan. 11: Graduating Student Readings
Saturday, Jan. 12: Graduating Student Readings
All events are free and open to the public, and you can find more information here.
Boston Names Next Poet Laureate
On December 17, the city of Boston announced that Porsha Olayiwola will assume the role of the city’s next Poet Laureate, beginning on January 1, 2019. Olayiwola, who will be taking the mantle from Danielle Legros Georges, will serve a four-year term. According to the City of Boston website, “The Poet Laureate acts as an advocate for poetry, language, and the arts. They create a unique artistic legacy through public readings and civic events.” She has already made a considerable artistic contribution to the city: an MFA candidate at Emerson College, Olayiwola is the artistic director for Mass LEAP, is the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and 2015 National Poetry Slam Champion, and co-founded The House Slam at the Haley House Bakery and Cafe in Roxbury, among other achievements. She has a book forthcoming next year. Learn more at her website.
GrubStreet Narrative Arts Center Moving Forward in Seaport
One of the nation’s leading writing centers will now have the chance to make an even bigger impact. GrubStreet announced on Tuesday that they will be moving to 50 Liberty Drive next year. The space was reserved by the City of Boston to be used to house a local cultural organization, and GrubStreet won the bid. The new Narrative Arts Center will feature a bookstore, cafe, stage and events space, as well as classroom space, and Harvard Book Store and Mass Poetry will be involved as well. Grub has put out an FAQ with initial information about the upcoming move. Need some background? Check out our article from the Spring.
ICYMI: Best-of Lists of 2018
It's late December, which means the best-of lists for 2018 are surfacing! We collected a few from our favorite literary websites. From Literary Hub, check our their Favorite Books of 2018; additionally, they have a list of the Best Book Covers of 2018, and they've been counting down the top literary news stories of the year. From Electric Literature, here are the 20 Best Novels of 2018; also, read through their 10 Moments That Shook the Literary World in 2018. From Book Riot, check out their list of the Best Books of 2018, and their Great Children's Books of 2018 list as well. Finally, from Buzzfeed Books, they have The Best Books From 2018 For Every Kind Of Reader guide, as well as best fiction and non-fiction lists from the year; and don't forget to look through their Books for Anyone Who's Had a Tough Year list (because let's face it, we all have).
The 90-Second Newbery: Showcasing Kid Filmmakers Inspired by Great Literature
Have you ever seen Charlotte’s Web interpreted in the style of a horror movie? What about Ramona and Her Father in the style of a James Bond flick? That’s exactly what you’ll find at the 90-Second Newbery film festival, returning to the Boston Public Library on April 27, 2019. We connected with creator James Kennedy about this unique festival and the creative kids that have made it what it is. Find out more in our newest post.
“Rebels and Admirers” at the Old South Meeting House
Next week is John Greenleaf Whittier’s birthday, which means the Old South Meeting House will be holding another event in its Bibliophile Birthdays series, celebrating the authors of the Old South’s past. On Tuesday, December 11, they will be hosting “Rebels and Admirers – Poets of the Old South, 1700s to Today,” featuring readings of poems from the past by local poets of the present. This “literary salon-style program” will also include a talk on the Old South’s literary past, a chance for some poetry discussion, and a poem generated on the spot for the event. Featuring Allison Adair, Serina Gousby, January Gill O’Neil, Anna Ross, Lloyd Schwartz, and Lloyd Schwartz. More information can be found here. RSVP is requested.
“Lessons Learned from Striking a Deal”
What happens when a writer steps behind a microphone to do a reading for the very first? Are there nerves to contend with, distractions, fear - or can it be a fun, transcendent experience? With stylistic prose and self-revelation, Emerson MFA candidate Megan Fitzgerald tells the story of taking a chance and taking the stage at the Breakwater Reading Series in our newest post.
The largest listing of local literary events you can find, including author readings, talks, literary events, and more.