I went to my first reading in New York (where I awkwardly accosted Jami Attenberg) at WORD about four years ago. These days, I find myself there multiple times a month, due to the event coordinating efforts of Jenn Northington. Both coordinator and bookseller, Jenn has cemented WORD’s reputation as a Brooklyn institution due to the consistently awesome quality of its events. In her “free time,” Jenn co-founded Bookrageous, a Twitter hashtag that has morphed into a popular podcast and site. She also writes for Book Riot, and has quite the following on Twitter. I knew Jenn would have some great tales—but couldn’t have guessed that one of them would involve knife-throwing at a children’s event. More after the jump!
- What’s one of the most memorable readings you’ve held at WORD and why?
We’ve had a lot of memorable events at WORD, but the one that stands out most recently was our reading for The Letter Q, which is this really lovely book of letters from queer authors to their teenage selves. We had eleven of the contributors, including the editor, to the store to read, and it was really incredible. People literally were laughing and crying, and by the end it felt like you had just made 50+ new best friends.
- Any interesting behind-the-scenes tales from your job?
Honestly a lot of behind-the-scenes for events isn’t very exciting — vacuuming, setting up chairs, making sure the displays are up to date, getting the projector to work properly. But we did a Pickling Workshop a few months back with Kate Payne, and Kate (who was traveling in from out-of-town) wanted to have samples on hand, so I volunteered to prepare a couple of things ahead of time. And I had never pickled anything before, so that was fun!
There was this one other time that I was working on a kids event, and the author had some background in the circus (like, he had literally at one point in his life, joined the circus). His publicist asked me how much knife-throwing I would like as part of the presentation! That was, bar none, one of the best emails I’ve ever gotten.
- What WORD events should we keep an eye out for this summer?
I’m pretty excited about our Words by the Water series, which we’re doing in partnership with the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn. Every Monday in August at 7 p.m., we’ve got a reading going on at East River State Park in Williamsburg, and we focused on local publishers. It’s kind of like the book version of a farmer’s market!