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Pen Parentis with Julia Fierro, Mira Jacob, David Gilbert, and Jess DeCourcy Hinds


The first thing you notice when you enter a Pen Parentis reading is the wine. There is a LOT of wine.

Which to me signals a wonderful time. After chatting with M.M. De Voe, founder of the series, it became clear that these events are meant to be rather festive—and friendly. M.M., a parent herself, started Pen Parentis after realizing the unique challenges that writer/parents face: juggling writing/kid responsibilities, the difficulties going away for residencies or tours, and the fears that if they write about parenting, they might be deemed mommy (or daddy) bloggers. 

On Tuesday night, in a posh space within the Andaz Hotel, four parents gathered to read from their works. I had originally envisioned this as a short post, but everyone’s stories (read and/or related) were just too good not to share…

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This Week’s Readings

MONDAY: Megan Abbott (THE FEVER) in convo with Chelsea Cain (ONE KICK). [The Strand]

TUESDAY: Pen Parentis Literary Salon kicks off their twelfth year with Julia Fierro (CUTTING TEETH), Mira Jacob (THE SLEEPWALKER’S GUIDE TO DANCING), and David Gilbert (& SONS). [Hotel Andaz]

WEDNESDAY: Book launch for PARIS NEW YORK by Fred Stein, with Fred’s son Peter Stein and granddaughter Katherine Freer. [Powerhouse]

THURSDAY: Bridgett M. Davis (INTO THE GO-SLOW) in convo with Tayari Jones (SILVER SPARROW). [Community Bookstore]

Coming up: The BKBF approacheth! I’ll be helping to cover it for Tumblr, starting with the bookend events next week. So many to choose from! 

This Week’s Readings


MONDAY: Franklin Park: Travels and Journey edition. Featuring Emma Straub (THE VACATIONERS), Tiphanie Yanique (LAND OF LOVE AND DROWNING), Courtney Maum (I AM HAVE SO MUCH FUN WITHOUT YOU), Boris Fishman (A REPLACEMENT LIFE), and Aaron Burch (BACKSWING). [Franklin Park]

TUESDAY: Real Characters with Alena Smith (TWEEN HOBO: OFF THE RAILS), Jen Doll (SAVE THE DATE: THE OCCASIONAL MORTIFICATIONS OF A SERIAL WEDDING GUEST), Paul Laudiero (SH*T ROUGH DRAFTS), and George Gordon (Bridgetown Comedy Fest). [McNally Jackson]

WEDNESDAY: Sean Wilsey (MORE CURIOUS, OH THE GLORY OF IT ALL) in convo with editor Matt Weiland. [Greenlight]

THURSDAY: Writing about Modern Motherhood: A Panel with Julia Fierro (CUTTING TEETH), Kimberley McCreight (RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA), and Nicole Kear (NOW I SEE YOU). [Community Bookstore]

SATURDAY: Kurt Vonnegut book group for GALAPAGOS. [Housing Works]

This Week’s Readings

MONDAY: Book launch for THE SIXTEENTH OF JUNE by Maya Lang, in convo with David Gilbert (& SONS). [Strand]

TUESDAY: Aaaand another book launch for Megan Abbott’s THE FEVER. [BookCourt]

WEDNESDAY: Joint event with authors Megan Abbott (THE FEVER), Julia Fierro (CUTTING TEETH), and Anna Godbersen (THE BLONDE). [WORD]

THURSDAY: The Moth StorySLAM (theme: Breathless). [Housing Works]

FRIDAY: Happy weekend!

This Week’s Readings

MONDAY: Franklin Park with Shane Jones, Porochista Khakpour, Amy Sohn, Julia Fierro, Juliet Escoria, and Edward Kearns. [Franklin Park]

TUESDAY: Alexi Zentner (THE LOBSTER KINGS) in convo with Tea Obreht (THE TIGER’S WIFE). [McNally Jackson]

WEDNESDAY: Flavorwire + Melville House Present: The Legacy of James Agee’s LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN, hosted by Elisabeth Donnelly and featuring three writers inspired by Agee’s legacy: Leslie Jamison (THE EMPATHY EXAMS), Scott Korb (LIGHT WITHOUT FIRE), and Jen Percy (DEMON CAMP). [594 Broadway]

THURSDAY: Susan Choi (MY EDUCATION) in convo with Sarah McCarry (DIRTY WINGS). [WORD]

FRIDAY: Genevieve Valentine (THE GIRLS AT THE KINGFISHER CLUB) in convo with her editor. [BookCourt]

This Week’s Readings

MONDAY: Franklin Park with Lynne Tillman, Jeff Jackson, Tova Mirvis, Brendan Kiely, and Wah-Ming Chang. [Franklin Park]

TUESDAY: Book launch for CUTTING TEETH by Sackett Street founder Julia Fierro. [BookCourt]

WEDNESDAY: Joshua Ferris on his newest, TO RISE AT A DECENT HOUR. [Greenlight]

THURSDAY: Graywolf Poetry Tour with Saskia Hamilton, Nick Lantz and Mark Wunderlich. [WORD]

FRIDAY: The Pogues’ James Fearnley on his memoir, HERE COMES EVERYBODY. [Community]

This Week’s Readings

MONDAY: Franklin Park’s Fifth Anniversary Bash with Dani Shapiro, Adam Wilson, Kyle Minor, Tom Williams and Leah Umansky. [Franklin Park]

TUESDAY: Pen Parentis with Ann Hood, Rick Moody and Max Watman. [Andaz Wall Street]

WEDNESDAY: Mind Reading: Brain Awareness Week with Elissa Schappell, Stefan Merrill Block, Leslie Jamison, Miles Klee, Timothy Donnelly, Meehan Crist and Lynn Schmeidler. (Whew!) [Housing Works]

THURSDAY: Behind the Book with Julia Fierro, Susan Minot, Alexander Maksik and Ted Thompson. [KGB]

FRIDAY: Lorrie Moore (BARK) in convo with Emma Straub [THE VACATIONERS]; plus a bonus reading by Parker Posey! (Now that’s a trifecta if I’ve ever seen one.) [Symphony Space]

SATURDAY: Couplet Poety and Music Series with Michael Klein, Heather Aimee o’Neill, Joseph Riipi, Christopher Salerno and Nicole Santalucia. [The Delancey]

This Week’s Readings

MONDAY: Memoirist Ishmael Beah (RADIANCE OF TOMORROW) in convo with Dinaw Mengestu (THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT HEAVEN BEARS). [Greenlight]

TUESDAY: Satirical/critical lit series Animal Farm, featuring Gawker editor Tom Scocca, novelist Julia Fierro (CUTTING TEETH), critic and fiction writer Rahawa Haile, and poet Bruno Davey. [Over the Eight]

WEDNESDAY: Book launch for Joyce Carol Oates’s CARTHAGE. [Powerhouse] 

ALSO: Wrap-up party for the Organist (the Believer’s podcast). [Warby Parker, Soho]

THURSDAY: Memoirist Sean Straub (BODY COUNTS: A MEMOIR OF POLITICS, SEX, AIDS AND SURVIVAL) in convo with Walter Armstrong. [The Strand]

FRIDAY: First meeting of book group on J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s S. [WORD]

BookStalked: Julia Fierro of Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop


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.

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This Week’s Readings

MONDAY: “The Salon” will bring together some major players in the NYC lit world—Julia Fierro, David Gutowski, Penina Roth, Jason Diamond, and Michele Filgate— to discuss their experiences curating lit events. [BOOKCOURT]

TUESDAY: Celebrate
the 50th anniversary of The New York Review of Books with a host of contributors, including Michael Chabon, Joan Didion, and Mary Beard. $20/10 students. [TOWN  HALL]

WEDNESDAY: Rosie Schaap, who writes The New York Times Magazine “Drink” column, will read from her new memoir, Drinking with Men. [SOUTH]

THURSDAY: BUST Magazine is throwing a free dance party to celebrate their new Love & Sex issue. [MATCHLESS]

FRIDAY: Granta contributors Phil Klay and Karen Russell (Swamplandia, Vampires in the Lemon Grove) will read stories about war vets. [LILLIAN VERNON WRITERS HOUSE]