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.)
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.
9.10 | Preview GrubStreet’s New Narrative Arts Center on Sept. 19
Curious to know what the new Narrative Arts Center, being established by GrubStreet, Mass Poetry, and Porter Square Books in the Seaport, will look like? You can have your chance, as GrubStreet will be hosting a preview of their space on Thursday, September 19 from 3:30-5:30pm, with guest Mayor Walsh. Free and open to all, but RSVP is required; learn more and secure your spot here.
9.5 | Associates of the BPL Announces Next Writer-in-Residence
Today, the Associates of the Boston Public Library announced the 2019-2020 writer-in-residence: Shawnna Thomas. Here’s a bio from the website: Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Shawnna received her B.A. in English and African American Studies from Yale University in 2015. She is a previous recipient of the Elmore A. Willetts Prize for Fiction, the Second Place Wallace Prize for Fiction, and was the inaugural recipient of the GrubStreet Emerging Writer Fellowship. When she isn't working, she's brainstorming ideas for new writing classes to teach and working on her novel. Learn more about the writer-in-residence program, a yearly fellowship given to writers of YA literature, at the Associates’ website.
9.5 | Local Booksellers Vocal About Amazon’s Embargo Violation
If you’ve been even glancing at any connection to the outside world for the past year, you’ll know that not only has The Handmaid’s Tale made a glorious resurgence, but that Margaret Atwood has penned a sequel, entitled The Testaments, that will be released on September 10. And if you’ve been following bookstore news this past week, you’ll know that Amazon shipped out pre-ordered copies of The Testaments one week early - therefore violating the strict-on-sale embargo set out by the publishing company. We caught wind of it through Porter Square Books bookseller Josh Cook’s tweets. He also has a write-up about the incident up at LitHub, stating that the release of The Testaments “was going to be a cultural moment, one that Margaret Atwood, her publisher, booksellers, reviewers, and readers were all going to contribute to and participate in. But with that embargo now broken by Amazon, September 10 has been diffused and all of that positive attention and interaction is hobbled.” Dennis Johnson of Melville House in NYC has also written an excellent overview of the dust-up, explaining why this is a much bigger issue than a few early copies. He also quotes Rachel Cass of Harvard Book Store. (Not to be outdone, Trident Books tweeted out about its midnight release party on Monday night.)