The Franklin Park Reading Series is one of the most popular reading series in Brooklyn, and I’m constantly amazed by the big names it draws in (seriously, every time). Curator Penina is my social media guru, but I was also impressed to find out that she single-handedly got the series going — after meeting with various Crown Heights inhabitants to find out what they were interested in (literature and bars, natch). After the jump, Penina shares stories about how she started FPRS, some of its most memorable moments, and, of course, the awesome events to look for this spring.
In happy Friday news, I just finished my awesome friend Leah Konen’s debut YA novel, The After Girls. Basically, I want to walk down the street and pass out copies to everyone I see. It’s so beautifully written, heart wrenching, suspenseful, and funny. The story concerns two girls who are left reeling after the suicide of their best friend. One retreats into alcohol and music, while the other becomes obsessed with finding out why—with seemingly supernatural results. I devoured this book in two days—it’s one where you look forward to your subway commute so you can read just a few more pages. I’m so proud of Leah and I can’t wait to read what she writes next. You can find the book here—it’s not “officially” out yet, but if you pre-order it will come right away.
I heard about the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop shortly after moving to New York. I thought the concept—workshops run out of the homes of lauded authors like Emma Straub, Karen Thompson Walker and Catherine Chung—sounded like an amazing idea. What I didn’t know then (and only just discovered) is that there’s literally one woman behind the operation: founder Julia Fierro. Julia reads all the applications, fills the classes, hires and trains new teachers, teaches her own classes, and consults with students, along with scheduling, curating and hosting the related reading series. Whew! Somehow, in the midst of this (and raising two totally adorable kids), Julia found time to write a book—Cutting Teeth, forthcoming from St. Martins Press in spring 2014.
Without further ado, I want to get to Julia’s remarkable stories about Sackett Street—why and how she founded it, her most memorable experiences, and some exciting upcoming events.
Rosie Schaap has held down some pretty interesting gigs: fortuneteller, full-time Deadhead, preacher, homeless shelter manager, and, most recently, bartender. Her new memoir, Drinking with Men, shares tales from these various periods through the lens of her life-long search for the perfect bar. Besides her current post at South Brooklyn’s SOUTH, Rosie writes the monthly “Drink” column for The New York Times Magazine and also contributes to This American Life. Due to her witty and warm prose style, I felt like I knew Rosie even before reaching out. I was delighted to find her as friendly as I’d hoped. After the jump, Rosie provides stories of meeting fellow barflies on her book tour, hosting a rowdy series, and attending an unforgettable event .
MONDAY: Editor Sari Button and contributors Elissa Bassist, Betty MacDonald and Mira Ptacin will discuss the aptly named Get Out of my Crotch, an anthology of essays that examines the continuing war on women’s reproductive rights. [BLUESTOCKINGS]
TUESDAY: In the reading series Double Take IV, three pairs of authors write original pieces about shared experiences. This time around, the pairs will be: Rick Moody & Tim Davis, John Yau & Eugene Lim, and Charles Bernstein & Elizabeth Willis. [APEXART]
WEDNESDAY: Liars’ League, a live literary journal, features fresh writing performed by actors. This month, the “secrets and lies” theme will feature stories by Maureen Duffy, Marie Sabatino, Ben Black, Tom Hopkins and Katherine Jamieson. [KGB]
THURSDAY: Congrats to The Believer on its 10th anniversary! This party, hosted by Heidi Julavits, will feature Nick Hornby, Sheila Heti, Gabrielle Bell, Amanda Filipacchi, and music by Dawn of Midi. $10/12. [LE POISSON ROUGE]
FRIDAY: Former VP Al Gore will discuss his newest book The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. $35/45/50 (with signed book). [POWERHOUSE ARENA]
With its 24-foot ceilings, amphitheater-style seating and gorgeous views of Manhattan, DUMBO’s powerHouse Arena is one of the most visually arresting places you can browse for books. The arena was built in 2006 by publisher powerHouse Books, who envisioned it as a hybrid gallery/events space/bookstore. PowerHouse constantly hosts big-name guests (some authors I’ve seen there recently include A.S. Byatt and Jeffrey Eugenides), and I’m always eagerly scrolling through their just-announced events.
Julie Buntin has been powerHouse’s events coordinator for about five months, but she already has an assortment of tales, ranging from dealing with Sandy’s devastating effects to hanging with NYC’s most brilliant to reining in a punk party that got a bit out of control. More after the jump.