Thursday, September 30, 2010
October 4th is my two-year anniversary writing this blog. My first post talked about a class I had just finished at Grub Street. Two years later I'm still talking about taking classes and writing and books and publishing. For the most part. Which is great. And I plan to continue writing about writing, but just not on this blog.
So. I'm trying something different with UN. Starting in a couple days the format will change, temporarily. For one year I will be writing about a topic other than literature (for the most part, there will be days when I will just have to share some writer/book/pub thing with y'all). What's that other thing? I'll announce it soon. While I whip up a tasty post about why I want to write about that topic, and the concept behind the switch. Yes, there's a concept, an idea. Or as they say in the publishing world, a platform. My blog is soon to have a platform.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Jack Kerouac Literary Festival
Where: Downtown Lowell, MA
When: Sept 30-Oct 3
Cost: Most events are free, although donations for some events encouraged
This is an annual event here in Lowell, although this year the festival is touted as new and expanded. The Jack Kerouac Lit Festival boasts a great line up of authors and speakers including Alan Lightman, Jay Atkinson, Russell Banks, Andre Dubus III, Ann Hood, Tom Perrotta, and Anita Shreve.
There will be lots of readings, films, panel discussions, walking tours, and other events. The cobblestone streets and industrial mill architecture in and around downtown Lowell really lend a great atmosphere for this crowd-pleasing event.
- Historical Kerouac pubs tour (Friday night starting at the Worthen House tavern)
- Poetry and street prose competition
- Dennis McNally's presentation on Kerouac and the American Bohemian
- A walk in Doctor Sax's woods led by Margarita Turcotte
- Children's book illustrators event, featuring David Macaulay, Chris VanAllsburg, David Wiesner, Christopher Bing, Kelly Murphy, and Matt Tavares.
- "Art and Commerce" panel discussion, featuring Anita Shreve, Ann Hood, and Tom Perrotta.
Where: Copley Square, Boston
When: Saturday, October 16th
Cost: Most events are free
In only its second year, the Boston Book Festival (BBF) promises to convene plenty of talent for a single day of packed events. I attended last year and the hardest part is deciding which event to view at any one time since there are multiple events for each time slot. But, how else can you do it? There is a great variety, so if you're a fiction writer or reader, then you can choose a fiction reading over a memoir reading. While the schedule hasn't been set, click here to see a description of each planned event.
Speakers and authors slated to show include Atul Gawande, Stacy Schiff, Nick Flynn, Joyce Carol Oates (keynote), Chip Kidd, Bill Bryson, David Shields, Daphne Kalotay, Michelle Hoover, Gish Jen, Ann Hood, Joshua Ferris, Tom Perrotta, Dennis Lehane, A.M. Homes, and many more. And be on the lookout for fellow Beyond the Marginer and Drum founder Henriette Lazaridis Power who will be hosting the Fiction: Time and Place and Fiction: the Web of Relationship events.
- Writer idol: Have a professional actor perform the first page of your manuscript, then stick around while a panel of four judges that includes agents and editors let you know what they think. Presented by Grub Street. I attended this one last year, and it's actually a great way to get some immediate feedback on your first page, to find out whether it's working or not working, and why. And you also get an idea of what kind of writing agents and editors are seeking.
- Guided open mic. With Steve Almond. Get on up there and read five minutes of your story, novel, or what have you, then see what Mr. Almond has to say about it, in terms of performance and reading choice.
- Antique book appraisal. Bring in your rare and antique books, maps and ephemera for appraisal by respected industry experts. Sponsored by the Boston Antiquarian Book Fair.
- The Book Revue: An evening of music and words. Features Nick Flynn, Kristin Hersh, Dean Wareham, and Joe Pernice.
- Lots of booths representing literary magazines and book publishers. Great place to pick up stuff that's often hard to find elsewhere.
Concord Festival of Authors
Where: Concord, MA
When: October 20 - November 7, 2010 (2 weeks, people!)
Cost: Most events are free
The Concord Festival of Authors has been around for years. And for the past few years some of the events were held in Lowell. Unfortunately this year not a one will grace city limits. I suppose it makes sense if you're a festival with Concord in the title. It was never the Concord and Lowell festival. Still, it will be missed here in town.
This year's lineup offers up the usual stellar cast of authors who just want to talk about books and writing and publishing. Is that so wrong? Authors scheduled to appear include: Gish Jen, Brunonia Barry, Jon Katz, Andrew J. Bacevich, Nathanial Philbrick, Iris Gomez, Rusty Barnes, Tara Masih, Pauline Maier, David Macaulay, and Stace Budzko among others.
- Hoaxes, Frauds, and Forgeries. Panel discussion.
- New Literary Voices 2010. Four emerging fiction writers (including Iris Gomez) discuss and read from their work.
- Flash Fiction Panel. Discussion to answer the question, what is flash fiction. Features Rusty Barnes with whom I've studied at Grub Street. And yes, he knows much about flash fiction.
- Publishing a Book in the Digital Age, panel discussion.
- Community Reading Series. Poetry reading sponsored by The Concord Poetry Center.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Liz and I decided to drive in (instead of taking the T) and parked across the street in a garage. Easy. We were late to see the entire set from opening band and Teenage Fanclub Merge label-mates, Radar Bros. But what we heard we liked: country-alt folk rock. At 8:00 sharp Teenage Fanclub took the stage. We watched from the back of the balcony. The sound was clear and plenty loud enough, although I still wore earplugs.
Still, they dug into their history for the hardcore fans (which I am one) for Sparky's Dream, Everything Flows (their first single), Star Sign, and finished off with The Concept (from Bandwagonesque), which, in terms of airplay in the states, was one of their biggest hits. Granted you would have had to listen to WFNX in the early '90s or watch MTVs 120 Minutes to find it. It still sounds great. I'm not slagging their newer stuff, because I like all incarnations of the Fanclub, but I still like it better when they turn up the guitars, bass, and drums for a more rocking sound.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The Big Bad at an independent bookstore in Naugatuck, CT. This was Phil's first signing for his debut novel, which was published in July by Hilliard & Harris. I drove down to CT. to attend the signing with my friend J.W. Phil, J.W., and I were classmates in film school, and the last time we were together was at my wedding almost eight years ago. So on top of the signing event, it was a mini film school reunion.
Buy your copy on Amazon.
Buy your copy on Amazon.