10.16 | “Why Literary Festivals Matter” Article by BBF’s Executive Director
In anticipation of the Boston Book Festival coming up this weekend, Executive Director Norah Piehl penned an article entitled “Why Literary Festivals Matter” for WBUR. (Hint: It has to do with connection.) Read the full text here.
10.15 | GrubStreet Announces Viet Thanh Nguyen as Muse Keynote
GrubStreet’s annual The Muse and the Marketplace conference will take place on April 3-5, 2020, and they just announced that Viet Thanh Nguyen will be one of the keynote speakers for the weekend. Nguyen is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer (among other literary endeavors). Past keynote speakers have included Luís Alberto Urrea, Stacey D'Erasmo, Peter Ho Davies, and Min Jin Lee (you can - and should - view Min Jin Lee’s keynote address here). Ticket information will be available soon at museandthemarketplace.com; scholarship applications are now open.
10.14 | A Former Boston Bookstore Resurrected
Early memories of Boston include getting lost amongst the packed, winding shelves of the Avenue Victor Hugo bookstore on Newbury Street. A literary staple of the Back Bay for thirty years, the bookstore closed in 2004…only to have recently reopened in New Hampshire. WGBH recently did a piece and video about the resurrected bookstore.
10.11 | Behind-the-Scenes of the Boston Book Festival
The biggest literary event in the area, the Boston Book Festival takes over Copley Square and a number of surrounding venues each year to provide a full day of literary programming. But how does such a massive event get planned, organized, and staged? We talked with Executive Director Norah Piehl to get a behind-the-scenes look at logistics, spreadsheets, author invitations, schedule creation, and more in our newest article.
10.8 | Local Organizations Featured in Globe Piece on “Black Booklovers”
On October 4, the Boston Globe ran a piece entitled “It’s Lit: Black booklovers remix the book club,” featuring four local organizations run by people of color working in the literary space in Boston: Frugal Bookstore, Print Ain’t Dead, the Black Studies Reading Room bookclub at Trident, and District 7 Tavern. Read more about how these literary citizens are contributing to the conversation here.
10.7 | Concord Festival of Authors Begins October 15
The Concord Festival of Authors kicks off two weeks of literary programming on Tuesday, October 15. With a massive line-up of authors around multiple venues, the Festival will offer readings, lectures, workshops, panels, and more, many that draw on Concord’s rich literary history. You can find more information at their website.
10.3 | Boston Book Festival’s Full Schedule Now Live
This year, the Boston Book Festival expands to two days - Saturday, October 19 in Back Bay, and Sunday, October 20 in Roxbury - and the full schedule is now live at their site. Our recommendation is always to make a rough plan of what you want to see - don’t wait until day-of (of course, you’ll want to come to the session our editor-in-chief is moderating: “Debut Novels,” featuring Bill Banfield, Mark Guerin, and Karen Dukess). Additionally, pick up your copy of this year’s One City One Story to read before the big event - it’s available at locations Boston-wide.
10.3 | Porter Square Overnight Readathon October 12
It’s that time of year again for everyone’s favorite fantasy: Getting locked in a bookstore overnight. Porter Square Books will be holding its annual overnight readathon beginning on Saturday, October 12 and going through the night. Bring a book (or get one there, obviously they have some) and spend the night reading, with snack, games, and activity breaks. Free coffee in the morning if you make it through. Tickets are $25 and proceeds will go to the Porter Square Books Foundation. Grab tickets and more info here.
10.3 | For the Academics: A CFP for Poe and Boston
There’s currently a call for papers for the session “Frogpondia: Edgar Allan Poe and Boston,” to take place at the Northeast MLA conference next March here in the city. This session “welcomes proposals that consider Poe’s relationship to and portrayals of Boston, as well as authors of the city.” You can submit your abstracts here.
10.2 | Boston Books and Food Pairings
There have been a number of interesting food and book-paired events popping up around town lately. On Thursday, October 17, join local author Crystal King at Puritan & Co. for a "Renaissance Wine Dinner” - a five-cours meal paired with wine inspired by the protagonist (the Renaissance chef Bartolomeo Scappi) of King’s most recent novel. (Tickets still available.) The Silver Unicorn has done similar, and just hosted their second annual "Feast of Fiction" with local novelists at the Orange Door Kitchen (look for a third event next year). Additionally, the two Acton businesses have teamed up to host the Orange Door Cookbook Club. Whitelam Books in Reading has also launched a Cookbook Book Club as well. Also, keep an eye out for literary events at Stellina Restaurant.
10.1 | Can You Guess Who’s Behind Door #1…?
In our newest literary history series, “Four Doors of Pinckney Street,” we’ll take a look at four authors from Boston’s past who lived within a block of one another in Beacon Hill. Head to our article to find out who resided at #4 Pinckney. (Hint: His favorite writing implement was probably a pencil.)
9.30 | IDEA Boston Returns Nov. 1 and 2
The two-day Italian-American festival organized by I AM Books will be returning for their second year, on November 1 and 2. IDEA Boston will feature musicians, theatrical performances, and a multitude of panel talks, many including local authors discussing Italian-American literary topics. More information and tickets can be found here. You can learn more about I AM Books in our article from last year, prior to the launch of the first IDEA Boston.
9.26 | Brattle Book Shop Makes “Neighborhood-Defining” List
The Boston Preservation Alliance recently asked Bostonians what they consider to be quintessential Boston locations. “The imminent closing of the beloved Doyle's Cafe got us thinking about the idea of legacy businesses. We want to know what Boston businesses you think are neighborhood-defining. What are the places you can't imagine the city without?” The Brattle Book Shop made that list, among other big names like the Union Oyster House, Pizzeria Regina, Skippy White's Records, and more. Check out the list, and contribute your own.
9.26 | Poe Returns for a Cemetery Visit on October 5
Literary historian Rob Velella returns to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery to portray Edgar Allan Poe on Saturday, October 5. “Poe” will read from his work, tell what expect to be terrifying stories, and will answer questions. Tickets start at $10 - this even sold out quick last year - and you can get them here.
9.25 | Volunteer at the Boston Book Festival - Registration Closes October 3
Be one of the literary superheroes in the “Ask Me” t-shirt! Our friends over at the Boston Book Festival are looking for more folks to help out with the big event, spanning three days this year, on October 18-20. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the BBF, meet cool writers, help the cool readers who attend, and get a free lunch, totebag, and that great t-shirt. Pick a focus area or two, pick a shift or many. (I can say from experience that I’ve been saved by the folks in the question mark t-shirts before, for real.) Registration closes next week, so get at it here.
9.25 | Read4Refugees Launches Read-In With Boston Event on October 1
RefugePoint will launch its #Read4Refugees two-week read-in on Tuesday, October 1 with a kick-off event. Join author Natalie C. Anderson (and previous Associates of the BPL Writer-in-Residence) at the Pucker Gallery on Newbury Street for the launch - more information can be found here. And learn more about the read-in, how to donate, how to host a read-in yourself, how donations will be used to help refugees, and more at the Read4Refugees website.
9.24 | GrubStreet’s Annual Gala October 10
Lit Up, GrubStreet’s annual literary gala, will be taking place on Thursday, October 10 at Laugh Boston. The evening will be hosted by Bethany Van Delft, and will feature reading from GrubStreet writers, writing games, fundraising, open bar, and more. Attend yourself, or make a gift so a student or instructor can attend. More information and tickets can be found here. Stop by their Instagram account to watch videos from last year.
9.23 | New Article: “Books Through Time: ‘Reimagining a Colonial Library’ at the Boston Athenaeum”
In 1698, hand-picked books sailed across the Atlantic to Boston, a library of “useful and necessary” works to populate the libraries of the New World. The Boston Athenaeum’s newest exhibition, “Required Reading: Reimagining a Colonial Library” puts selections from this collection on display…but also asks the question, What would be your “required reading”? Read our newest article.
9.23 | Associates of the BPL Writer-In-Residence Welcome Reception
On Wednesday, October 16, the Associates of the Boston Public Library will be hosting a welcome reception for their 2019-2020 writer-in-residence Shawnna Thomas. Jorge Vega, the outgoing writer-in-residence, will present his final manuscript, and both authors will give readings. The Associates of the BPL Writer-In-Residence program gives an emerging children’s or YA writer the financial support and office space needed to work on their book. You can RSVP (for free) here.
9.19 | GrubStreet Previews New Narrative Arts Center Location
This afternoon, GrubStreet hosted a preview of their new Narrative Arts Center, located on Liberty Wharf in the Seaport. With construction yet to begin, a crowd gathered in the raw space, excited to finally see it and to celebrate what’s to come: Two floors dedicated to writing and reading, with a bookstore, cafe, and events stage on the first, and classrooms, community spaces, meeting rooms, and even a podcast studio on the second. Mayor Marty Walsh and Eve Bridburg, founder of GrubStreet, gave remarks reaffirming the value of the arts in Boston, and the provision of a place where anyone can learn how to write their story. Look for the grand opening in April, and find out more information here.
9.18 | Boston in 100 Words Contest Now Open
Boston in 100 Words is a writing contest that asks local residents to submit stories centered around their experiences as Bostonians, with winning entries selected to be posted around town. The contest originated abroad, and has been featured in cities in Chile, Mexico, The Czech Republic, Hungary, and more, and this will be the first U.S. city to participate. Judges will be Gish Jen, Callie Crossley, and Porsha Olayiwola, and submissions are open until November 8. You can find more information here.
9.17 | Writers’ Room of Boston Open House October 10
The Writers’ Room of Boston has announced their annual open house, which will be taking place on Thursday, October 10 from 6:00-9:00 at their location on State Street. Former WROB fellow Tracy Strauss - author of the new memoir I Just Haven’t Met You Yet - will be giving a talk on persistence in publishing. See the space, meet the members, and find out more about what the WROB is all about. (Can’t wait? Read our article from last year.) More information on the open house here.
9.16 | Tell-All Memoir Reading Series Returns November 7
Tell-All Boston, a memoir reading series, will be hosting its fifth iteration on Thursday, November 7 at the Middlesex Lounge in Central Square. The headliner will be local author William Dameron, whose memoir The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out was just released. More readers will be announced soon. In the meantime, visit their website for more details, and take a read through our article covering last year’s premiere.
9.12 | Salem Lit Fest Begins September 20
Now in its eleventh year, the Salem Lit Fest opens next Friday, September 20 in the historic, literary seaside town. Hosted by the Salem Athenæum, readings will be held at the Hotel Salem, the Salem Public Library, and the House of Seven Gables (legit!). The keynotes this year will be Whitney Sharer and Hank Phillippi Ryan, who will be joined by over 50 authors and publishing professionals. Events are free and open to the public; tickets available for reserved seating and certain special events. Find the schedule and more at their website.
9.11 | New Pedestrian Bridge Opens Named for Longfellow’s Wife
The Frances Appleton Pedestrian Bridge has been open since the summer, but the city cut the ribbon in a ceremony on it Tuesday, September 10. The pedestrian bridge, which connects the Esplanade to Charles Circle, run next to the Longfellow Bridge, named for the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. “Fanny” Appleton grew up in Beacon Hill, studying under Elizabeth Peabody, and on a grand tour of Europe met Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet and professor at Harvard. Back in Boston, Longfellow would walk from Cambridge over the then West Boston Bridge to met up with Appleton. They were married for eighteen years, and had six children, and unfortunately Appleton is most well-known for her tragic death. The loss of his wife affected Longfellow profoundly for years; of her, after her death, her wrote “I never looked at her without a thrill of pleasure; — she never came into a room where I was without my heart beating quicker, nor went out without my feeling that something of the light went with her.”
9.11 | Boston Book Festival Released Presenters List…and We’re On It!
The Boston Book Festival just released their list of presenters (348 of them!) for the upcoming event on October 19 and 20…and we are one of them! Our editor-in-chief Jessica A. Kent will be moderating the debut novels session on that Saturday morning in the BPL’s Newsfeed Café. The full schedule will be up soon (we hear), so in the meantime, browse the list here.
9.10 | Required Reading Exhibit to Open at the Athenæum
Ever wonder what England considered “required reading” for its colonies? Required Reading: Reimagining a Colonial Library, a major exhibition opening on Tuesday, September 17, will showcase selected items from the Athenæum’s King’s Chapel Collection, chosen by Reverend Thomas Bray of London to be sent to the Colonies in 1698. The books were hidden during the American Revolution, and have been at the Athenæum since 1823. In addition to the display of 17th century required reading, local organizations have pitched in with their “required reading” texts, that will be showcased as well. More information can be found here; the exhibition will run through March 2020.