To connect readers to the authors who crafted their favorite books, we invite authors from throughout the mid-Atlantic region to read from and discuss their books at Bards Alley. Unless stated otherwise, the following author appearances take place in our store at 110 Church St NW, Vienna, Virginia 22180.
Upcoming Author Appearances
February 18, 2:00 pm: E. Ethelbert Miller, If God Invented Baseball
In observance of Black History Month, we’re delighted to have E. Ethelbert Miller read from his collection of poetry, If God Invented Baseball on Feb. 18 at 2:00 pm. If God Invented Baseball is a complete game of baseball poems, a full nine innings pitched by a “master twirler,” whose complete arsenal includes fastballs, curves and change-ups, and the occasional knuckler, to keep readers swinging for the fences, his full artistry on display. Ethelbert Miller’s work captures the enjoyment of the game from childhood to old age. Baseball fans will place this book next to their scorecards, peanuts and beer. Poetry readers will equally be delighted. If God Invented Baseball is a book for the ballpark and the home.
E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the author of several collections of poetry and two memoirs. For fourteen years he has been the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. In 1996, Emory & Henry College awarded Miller an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature. He has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow to Israel in 2004 and 2012. Miller has taught at several universities and currently serves on the faculty at the University of Houston-Victoria. His poetry has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, German, Hungarian, Chinese, Farsi, Norwegian, Tamil and Arabic.
Miller is often heard on NPR. He is host of the weekly morning radio show On the Margin which airs on WPFW-FM 89.3. Miller is also host and producer of The Scholars on UDC-TV. On April 19, 2015, Miller was inducted into the Washington DC Hall of Fame. In 2016, Miller received the Association of Writers & Writing Programs George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature and the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor. The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, published in 2016 by Willow Books, is a comprehensive collection that represents over 40 years of his career as a poet. Miller’s most recent book is If God Invented Baseball, published by City Point Press.
This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis.
Photo Credit: Rick Reinhard.
February 21, 7:00 pm: Donna Migliaccio, StoneKing
They call him StoneKing: the lord of four countries, the vanquisher of the Wichelord Daazna, the man who will restore his people to prosperity and peace.
But there is no peace for Kristan Gemeta. Already weighed down by the cares of his new realm, Kristan carries a secret burden – the knowledge that Daazna is not dead. He isolates himself in his ruined castle in Fandrall, where he struggles to control the destructive Tabi’a power that may be his only hope of defeating the Wichelord once and for all.
And there’s trouble elsewhere in his realm. His Reaches are squabbling in Dyer, Melissa and Nigel are experiencing heartache in Norwinn, and Heather’s command in Hogia is in jeopardy. Unaware of this turmoil, Kristan receives an unexpected gift – one that forces him, his knights, an inexperienced squire and a crafty young shape-shifter into a hazardous winter journey.
Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres. She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker. Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.
This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis.
March 1, 7:00 pm: Daniel Stone, The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats
“The true adventures of David Fairchild, a late-nineteenth-century food explorer who traveled the globe and introduced diverse crops like avocados, mangoes, seedless grapes–and thousands more–to the American plate.
“In the nineteenth century, American meals were about subsistence, not enjoyment. But as a new century approached, appetites broadened, and David Fairchild, a young botanist with an insatiable lust to explore and experience the world, set out in search of foods that would enrich the American farmer and enchant the American eater.
“Kale from Croatia, mangoes from India, and hops from Bavaria. Peaches from China, avocados from Chile, and pomegranates from Malta. Fairchild’s finds weren’t just limited to food: From Egypt he sent back a variety of cotton that revolutionized an industry, and via Japan he introduced the cherry blossom tree, forever brightening America’s capital. Along the way, he was arrested, caught diseases, and bargained with island tribes. But his culinary ambition came during a formative era, and through him, America transformed into the most diverse food system ever created.”
“Narrated in vividly realized, richly descriptive text with accompanying photographs, Stone’s biography reanimates the legacy of an important contributor to the botanical diversity of America.” —Kirkus
“Foodies and scientists alike will appreciate Stone’s informative and entertaining book.”—Publishers Weekly
Daniel Stone is a staff writer for National Geographic and a former White House correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. A native of Los Angeles, he holds degrees from UC Davis and Johns Hopkins University.
This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis.
March 5, 7:00 pm: Robert Wallace, Spy Sites of Washington, DC
Robert Wallace will read from Spy Sites of Washington, DC, which traces more than two centuries of secret history from the Mount Vernon study of spymaster George Washington to the Cleveland Park apartment of the “Queen of Cuba.” In 220 main entries as well as listings for dozens more spy sites, intelligence historians Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton weave incredible true stories of derring-do and double-crosses that put even the best spy fiction to shame. Maps and more than three hundred photos allow readers to follow in the winding footsteps of moles and sleuths, trace the covert operations that influenced wars hot and cold, and understand the tradecraft traitors and spies alike used in the do-or-die chess games that have changed the course of history.
Informing and entertaining, Spy Sites of Washington, DC is the comprehensive guidebook to the shadow history of our nation’s capital.
Robert Wallace is the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of Technical Service. He and H. Keith Melton have co-authored four books, including Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda, The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception, Spy Sites of New York City, and Spy Sites of Philadelphia.
March 10, 10:30 am: Patricia O’Connell Pearson, Fly Girls: The Daring American Women Pilots Who Helped Win WWII (children’s biography)
In the tradition of Hidden Figures, debut author Patricia Pearson offers a beautifully written account of the remarkable but often forgotten group of female fighter pilots who answered their country’s call in its time of need during World War II.
At the height of World War II, the US Army Airforce faced a desperate need for skilled pilots–but only men were allowed in military airplanes, even if the expert pilots who were training them to fly were women. Through grit and pure determination, 1,100 of these female pilots–who had to prove their worth time and time again–were finally allowed to ferry planes from factories to bases, to tow targets for live ammunition artillery training, to test repaired planes and new equipment, and more.
Though the WASPs lived on military bases, trained as military pilots, wore uniforms, marched in review, and sometimes died violently in the line of duty, they were civilian employees and received less pay than men doing the same jobs and no military benefits, not even for burials.
Their story is one of patriotism, the power of positive attitudes, the love of flying, and the willingness to do good with no concern for personal gain.
Patricia O’Connell Pearson, a long-time resident of Vienna, is a former Fairfax County Public Schools history teacher with an MEd from George Mason University. She has contributed to and edited history textbooks and published articles in magazines and newspapers including the Washington Post. Always enthusiastic about sharing stories of history, she earned her MFA in Writing for Young People from Lesley University and now writes both historical fiction and nonfiction. When she is not writing about history, she can often be found talking about history as a volunteer with the National Park Service in Washington, DC. She lives in the City of Fairfax, Virginia.
March 20, 7:00 pm: Maud Casey, The Art of Mystery
Bards Alley is delighted to host Maud Casey’s reading of her new book, The Art of Mystery, on Tuesday, March 20, at 7:00 pm.
The fourteenth volume in the Art of series conjures an ethereal subject: the idea of mystery in fiction. Mystery is not often discussed—apart from the genre—because, as Maud Casey says, “It’s not easy to talk about something that is a whispered invitation, a siren song, a flickering light in the distance.” Casey reaches beyond the usual toolkit of fictional elements to ask the question: Where does mystery reside in a work of fiction? She takes us into the Land of Un—a space of uncertainty and unknowing—and looks at the variety of ways mystery is created through character, image, structure, and haunted texts, including the novels of Shirley Jackson, Paul Yoon, J. M. Coetzee, and others. Casey’s wide-ranging discussion encompasses spirit photography, the radical nature of empathy, and contradictory characters, as she searches for questions rather than answers. The Art of Mystery is a striking and vibrant addition to the much-loved Art of series.
Maud Casey is the author of three novels, most recently The Man Who Walked Away, and a story collection, Drastic. She has received the Calvino Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches at the University of Maryland, and lives in Washington, D.C.
Photo Credit: Zach Veilleux.
March 27, 7:00 pm: Jon Pineda, Let’s No One Get Hurt
Fifteen-year-old Pearl is squatting in an abandoned boathouse with her father, a disgraced college professor, and two other grown men, deep in the swamps of the American South. All four live on the fringe, scavenging what they can—catfish, lumber, scraps for their ailing dog. Despite the isolation, Pearl feels at home with her makeshift family: the three men care for Pearl and teach her what they know of the world.
Mason Boyd, a.k.a. “Main Boy,” is from a nearby affluent neighborhood where he and his raucous friends ride around in tricked-out golf carts, shoot their fathers’ shotguns, and aspire to make Internet pranking videos. While Pearl is out scavenging in the woods, she meets Main Boy, who eventually reveals that his father has purchased the property on which Pearl and the others are squatting. With all the power in Main Boy’s hands, a very unbalanced relationship forms between the two kids, culminating in a devastating scene of violence and humiliation.
Written with both subtle beauty and intense emotional force, Let’s No One Get Hurt is a timely yet timeless coming-of-age story set equally between real-world issues of race, class, gender, and environmentalism, and a magical, Huck Finn–esque universe of community and exploration.
Jon Pineda is a poet, memoirist, and novelist living in Virginia. His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, The Literary Review, Asian Pacific American Journal, and elsewhere. His memoir, Sleep in Me, was a 2010 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and his novel Apology was the winner of the 2013 Milkweed National Fiction Prize. The author of three poetry collections, he teaches in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte and is a member of the creative writing faculty of the University of Mary Washington.
April 7, 10:30 am: Sue Fliess, Mary Had a Little Lab (children’s picture book)
Mary is an enterprising young inventor. She wants a pet, but it isn’t one she can easily buy…so she makes one with the Sheepinator! Mary’s pet sheep and her new invention make her popular with her classmates. But when she starts making sheep for her new friends, things go hilariously awry. Can Mary invent a way to fix this mess?
Sue Fliess (“fleece”) is the author of more than 20 children’s books including From Here to There, A Fairy Friend, Tons of Trucks, How To Trap a Leprechaun, and many Little Golden Books. Her background is in copywriting, PR, and marketing, and her articles have appeared in O the Oprah Magazine, Huffington Post, Writer’s Digest, Education.com, and more. Fliess has also written for The Walt Disney Company. She’s a member of SCBWI, Children’s Book Guild of DC, and the Author’s Guild. She does book signings, school visits, and speaking engagements. Sue lives with her family and their dog in No. Virginia. Visit her at www.suefliess.com.
April 11, 7:00 pm: Grace Cavalieri, Other Voices, Other Lives
Other Voices, Other Lives is a selection of poems, plays, and interviews drawn from over 40 years of work by one of America’s most beloved and influential women of letters. Grace Cavalieri writes of women’s lives, loves, and work in a multitude of voices. The book also includes interview excerpts from her public radio series, The Poet & the Poem. Her incisive interviews with Robert Pinsky, Lucille Clifton, and Josephine Jacobsen offer profound insights into the writing life. This series is devoted to career-spanning collections from writers who meet the following three criteria: The majority of their books have been published by independent presses; they are active in more than one literary genre; and they are consistent and influential champions of the work of other writers, whether through publishing, reviewing, teaching, mentoring, or some combination of these. Modeled after the “readers” popular in academia in the mid-20th centuries, our Legacy Series allows readers to trace the arc of a significant writer’s literary development in a single, representative volume.
Grace Cavalieri is the author of 23 works of poetry and 26 produced plays. Cavalieri’s many awards include The George Garrett Award for Service to Literature from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP); a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington Independent Review of Books; two Allen Ginsburg awards for poetry; the Paterson Prize; the inaugural Folger Shakespeare Library’s Columbia Book Award for Service to Literature; and a Silver Medal from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
April 18, 5:30 pm: Jane Schapiro, Let the Wind Push Us Across
In 1976, Jane Schapiro and her sister dropped out of college to bicycle across the country. Their dream was to dip their back tires in the Pacific and their front tires in the Atlantic. On September 4, 1976, they departed from Seaside, Oregon. Eleven weeks and 3500 miles later they arrived at Crescent Beach, Florida. Along the way, people would repeatedly ask them why. Why would two girls take to the road on their bikes? After nearly 40 years Schapiro offers her answer in Let The Wind Push Us Across, a poetic and photographic narrative of her journey. Let The Wind Push Us Across has found a special niche among young adults who often feel that same restlessness and yearning for adventure that Schapiro felt so many years ago.
“Why would two sisters drop out of college and bicycle 3500 miles across America? Let the Wind Push Us Across awakens in us the transformational power of holding fast to one’s dream, not quitting, and going for it no matter what. Determined to dip their tires in the Pacific and 11 weeks later in the Atlantic, the sisters saw an America that few young women witnessed in the 1970s. Before GPS navigation, the Internet and cell phones, this was a remarkable accomplishment. Forty years later, Jane Schapiro recalls the epic ride in poems, philosophical observations, and photographs. Her book is a tour de force, a heart-felt literary achievement. Poignant and refreshing, it is mandatory reading for those who believe that Adventure is not found in a guidebook and Beauty is not on the map”. – Renny Russell, author of On the Loose and Rock Me on the Water
Jane Schapiro is the author of two volumes of poetry, Tapping This Stone (Washington Writers’ Publishing House, 1995) and Let The Wind Push Us Across (Antrim House, 2017), and the nonfiction book Inside a Class Action: The Holocaust and the Swiss Banks (University of Wisconsin, 2003). Her chapbook, Mrs. Cave’s House, won the 2012 Sow’s Ear Poetry Chapbook competition. Her poems have appeared in The American Scholar, Prairie Schooner, The Gettysburg Review,The Southern Review, The Women’s Review of Books, among others. Her website is www.janeschapiro.com.
April 24, 7:00 pm: Michele Young-Stone, Lost in the Beehive
From the author of Above Us Only Sky and The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, a touching new novel set in the 1960s about the power of friendship, love, and accepting your past in order to find a future.
For nearly her entire life, Gloria Ricci has been followed by bees.
They’re there when her mother loses twin children; when she first meets a neighborhood girl named Isabel, who brings out feelings in her that she knows she shouldn’t have; and when her parents, desperate to “help” her, bring her to the Belmont Institute, whose glossy brochures promise healing and peace. She tells no one, but their hum follows her as she struggles to survive against the Institute’s cold and damaging methods, as she meets an outspoken and unapologetic fellow patient named Sheffield Schoeffler, and as they run away, toward the freewheeling and accepting glow of 1960s Greenwich Village, where they create their own kind of family among the artists and wanderers who frequent the jazz bars and side streets.
As Gloria tries to outrun her past, experiencing profound love–and loss–and encountering a host of unlikely characters, including her Uncle Eddie, a hard-drinking former boyfriend of her mother’s, to Madame Zelda, a Coney Island fortune teller, and Jacob, the man she eventually marries but whose dark side threatens to bring disaster, the bees remain. It’s only when she needs them most that Gloria discovers why they’re there.
Moving from the suburbs of New Jersey to the streets of New York to the swamps of North Carolina and back again, Lost in the Beehive is a poignant novel about the moments that teach us, the places that shape us, and the people who change us.
Michele Young-Stone is the author of the novels Lost in the Beehive, Above Us Only Sky, and The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, which The Boston Globe called “an exceptionally rich and sure-handed debut.” She lives in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with her husband and son.
April 27, 7:00 pm: David Keplinger, Another City
How does it feel to experience another city? To stand beneath tall buildings, among the countless faces of a crowd? To attempt to be heard above the din?
The poems of Another City travel inward and outward at once: into moments of self-reproach and grace, and to those of disassociation and belonging. From experiences defined by an urban landscape―a thwarted customer at the door of a shuttered bookstore in Crete, a chance encounter with a might-have-been lover in Copenhagen―to the streets themselves, where “an alley was a comma in the agony’s grammar,” in David Keplinger’s hands startling images collide and mingle like bodies on a busy thoroughfare.
Yet Another City deftly spans not only the physical space of global cities, but more intangible and intimate distances: between birth and death, father and son, past and present, metaphor and reality. In these poems, our entry into the world is when “the wound, called loneliness, / opens,” and our voyage out of it is through a foreign but not entirely unfamiliar constellations of cities: Cherbourg, Manila, Port-au-Prince.
A moving, haunting atlas to worlds both interior and exterior.
Praise for Another City
“The exquisite poems in David Keplinger’s Another City possess the weight and certitude of stone, yet break within one as geodes: their depths prismatic yet dreamlike, enigmatic yet also deeply familiar. From familial histories to Lincoln’s imperfect embalming, Marie Curie’s radioactive notebook to an examination of the ache of quotidian objects, there is a wholly radiant center to this collection, a dazzling multiplicity of cities and citizens, losses and revelations. The domes of these pages–both funerary and celestial–are those in which the great poets sing.” –Katherine Larson
David Keplinger is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Another City (Milkweed, 2018), The Most Natural Thing (New Issues, 2013) and The Prayers of Others (New Issues, 2006), which won the Colorado Book Award. His first collection, The Rose Inside, was chosen by the poet Mary Oliver for the 1999 T.S. Eliot Prize. Keplinger has been awarded two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as funding from the DC Council on the Arts and Humanities, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Danish Council on the Arts, and a two year Soros Foundation fellowship. In 2011 he produced By and By, an album of eleven songs based on the poetry of his great-great-grandfather, a Civil War veteran. His translations of Danish poet Carsten René Nielsen have appeared in two volumes, World Cut Out with Crooked Scissors (2007) and House Inspections (2011), a Lannan Translations Selection, and his collaboration with German poet, Jan Wagner, entitled The Art of Topiary was published in 2017 by Milkweed Editions. His work has been included in numerous anthologies in the United States, as well as in China and Northern Ireland, and he has taught at the universities of Ostrava (Czech Republic) and Kosice (Slovakia) as well as in the summer creative writing institute at John Cabot University in Rome. His areas of interest include contemporary American poetry, European poetry and poetics in the twentieth century, poetic meter and form, creative writing pedagogy, translation and artistic collaboration, and the poetry of witness (with emphases on the American Civil War, the poets of World War I, and Holocaust literature). He directs the MFA Program at American University in Washington, D.C.
May 5, 10:30 am: Jonathan Roth, Beep and Bob
Beep and Bob is a funny and action-packed chapter book series about the new kid at space school and the devoted little alien who won’t leave his side. In book one, Too Much Space!, Bob, with his new buddy Beep, finds himself having to navigate such galactic hazards as icy dwarf planets, massive black holes and a crush on a smart, cool girl. In book two, Party Crashers, Beep and Bob get a much-needed break while attending their friend Lani’s birthday party…aboard the Starship Titanic!
Author-Illustrator Jonathan Roth is a public elementary school art teacher who lives in Rockville, Maryland, with his wife, two kitties and three or more bicycles. Though Jonathan has never left Earth himself, he has met four of the astronauts who have gone to the moon. Beep and Bob (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin) is his first series. Learn more at www.beepandbob.com.
May 9, 7:00 pm: Tim Wendel, Cancer Crossings
When Eric Wendel was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 1966, the survival rate was 10 percent. Today, it is 90 percent. Even as politicians call for a “Cancer Moonshot,” this accomplishment remains a pinnacle in cancer research.
The author’s daughter, then a medical student at Georgetown Medical School, told her father about this amazing success story. Tim Wendel soon discovered that many of the doctors at the forefront of this effort cared for his brother at Roswell Park in Buffalo, New York. Wendel went in search of this extraordinary group, interviewing Lucius Sinks, James Holland, Donald Pinkel, and others in the eld. If there were a Mount Rushmore for cancer research, they would be on it.
Despite being ostracized by their medical peers, these doctors developed modern-day chemotherapy practices and invented the blood centrifuge machine, helping thousands of children live longer lives. Part family memoir and part medical narrative, Cancer Crossings explores how the Wendel family found the courage to move ahead with their lives. They learned to sail on Lake Ontario, cruising across miles of open water together, even as the campaign against cancer changed their lives forever.
A writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University, Tim Wendel is the author of Summer of ’68, Castro’s Curveball, Cancer Crossings, and High Heat, which was an Editor’s Choice selection by The New York Times Book Review. He lives outside of Washington, D.C.
May 16, 7:00 pm: Leslie Pietrzyk, Silver Girl
A nameless young woman starts her freshman year of college with one goal in mind: survival. Newly transplanted to the big city of Chicago, she is one of the rare few to leave her small working-class town in Iowa, let alone for a prestigious university. She is not driven by academic ambition, nor is she a social butterfly. Her true gift is an ability to understand the needs of others, and to reflect back the version of themselves they wish to see, rendering herself invisible. Deftly, she conceals her deeply troubled past–especially from her charismatic yuppie-in-the-making best friend and roommate. For a while, she assimilates, living a new life not in any way her own. But the mask she wears cannot hide her secrets forever, and at some point she will be truly seen, possibly for the first time in her life. Set in the early 80s, against the backdrop of a city terrorized by the Tylenol Killer, a local psychopath rumored to be stuffing cyanide into drugstore meds, Silver Girl is a deftly psychological account of the nuances of sisterhood. Contrasting obsession and longing, need versus desire, Leslie Pietrzyk delves into the ways class and trauma are often enmeshed to dictate one’s sense of self, and how a single relationship can sometimes lead to redemption.
A dark, intense novel on a hot subject: female friendship complicated by class and privilege. Very good.–Kirkus Reviews.
Leslie Pietrzyk is the author of Silver Girl, Pears on a Willow Tree, and A Year and a Day and the short story collection This Angel on My Chest. Her short fiction has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, New England Review, The Sun, TriQuarterly, and Shenandoah. She holds a B.A. in English/Creative Writing from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from American University. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia and teaches in the Masters in Writing program at Johns Hopkins University, as well as the Low-Res MFA at Converse College.
May 24, 7:00 pm: John Copenhaver (Dodging and Burning) and Melissa Scholes Young
Bards Alley is pleased to host a dual-author reading with John Copenhaver (Dodging and Burning) and Melissa Scholes Young (FLOOD).
About DODGING AND BURNING:
In a small Virginia town still reeling from World War II, a photograph of a beautiful murdered woman propels three young people into the middle of a far-reaching mystery.
A lurid crime scene photo of a beautiful woman arrives on mystery writer Bunny Prescott’s doorstep with no return address―and it’s not the first time she’s seen it. The reemergence of the photo, taken fifty-five years earlier, sets her on a journey to reconstruct the vicious summer that changed her life.
In the summer of 1945, Ceola Bliss is a lonely twelve-year-old tomboy, mourning the loss of her brother, Robbie, who was declared missing in the Pacific. She tries to piece together his life by rereading his favorite pulp detective story “A Date with Death” and spending time with his best friend, Jay Greenwood, in Royal Oak, VA. One unforgettable August day, Jay leads Ceola and Bunny to a stretch of woods where he found a dead woman, but when they arrive, the body is gone. They soon discover a local woman named Lily Vellum is missing and begin to piece together the threads of her murder, starting with the photograph Jay took of her abandoned body.
As Ceola gets swept up playing girl detective, Bunny becomes increasingly skeptical of Jay’s story about the photograph and begins her own investigation into Lily’s murder. A series of clues lead her to Washington, DC, where she must confront the truth about her dear friend—a revelation that triggers a brutal confrontation that will change all of them forever.
John Copenhaver is the recipient an Artist Fellowship from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for four consecutive years. In 2015, he launched and continues to maintain a crime fiction column for the Lambda Literary website called “Blacklight.” His short fiction has appeared in Glitterwolf Magazine, Roanoke Review, and Gaslight, the Lambda Emerging Voices Anthology. He won the 2015 Larry Neal Writers’ award for short fiction, and was first runner-up in the F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest and the Narrative Magazine Winter Story Contest. He lives in Washington, D.C.
“Dodging and Burning is a beautifully rendered coming of age story, a compelling exploration of a young man’s struggle with his sexual identity amid the evils of war, and an impeccably executed crime novel that keeps you guessing and ultimately strikes a deep and resounding emotional cord.”
—Ayelet Waldman, author of Love & Treasure and A Really Good Day
“I’m a big fan of John Copenhaver’s elegant work. He’s a sophisticated stylist who can break your heart right before he turns devilish. Highly recommended.”
—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North and The Water Museum
Winner of the Literary Fiction Category for the 2017 Best Book Award
A sparkling debut set in Mark Twain’s boyhood town, Flood is a story of what it means to be lost . . . and found.
Laura Brooks fled her hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, ten years ago after a historic flood and personal heartbreak. Now she’s returned unannounced, and her family and friends don’t know what to make of it. She says she’s just home for a brief visit and her high-school reunion, but she’s carrying too much luggage for that: literal and metaphorical. Soon Laura is embroiled in small-town affairs–the contentious divorce of her rowdy best friend Rose; the campaign of her twelve-year-old godson, Bobby, to become the town’s official Tom Sawyer; and the renewed interest of the man Laura once thought she’d marry, Sammy McGuire.
Leaving town when she was eighteen had been Laura’s only option. She feared a stifling existence in a town ruled by its past, its mythological devotion to Mark Twain, and the economic and racial divide that runs as deep as the Mississippi River. She can’t forget that fateful Fourth of July when the levees broke or the decisions that still haunt her. Now as the Mississippi rises again, a deep wound threatens to reopen, and Laura must decide if running away once more might be the best way to save herself.
Melissa Scholes Young is the author of the novel Flood. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Washington Post, Narrative, Ploughshares, Poet Lore, and Poets & Writers. She’s a Contributing Editor for Fiction Writers Review and Editor of the Grace & Gravity anthology. She teaches at American University in Washington, D.C. and is a Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Fellow.
“Scholes Young’s pursuit [in Flood] is classic and eternal: ‘the human heart in conflict with itself,’ in William Faulkner’s mighty phrase. In Scholes Young’s hands, the conflict is waged with fierce consummate compassion and, finally, apocalyptic and enigmatic grace.”
—Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, White Town Drowsing: Journeys to Hannibal, Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain, and Mark Twain: A Life
“Filled with pithy dialogue and cultural references, Young’s writing ties Laura’s journey of self-discovery squarely to Hannibal and its famous young troublemakers. As Laura reckons with her past, Young reckons with Twain’s influence on the region. This debut is a wonderful story of home, hope, and the ties that bind us to family.”
May 30, 7:00 pm: Jane Delury, The Balcony
A century-spanning portrait of the inhabitants of a French village, revealing the deception, despair, love, and longing beneath the calm surface of ordinary lives.
What if our homes could tell the stories of others who lived there before us? Set in a small village near Paris, The Balcony follows the inhabitants of a single estate-including a manor and a servants’ cottage-over the course of several generations, from the Belle Epoque to the present day, introducing us to a fascinating cast of characters. A young American au pair develops a crush on her brilliant employer. An ex-courtesan shocks the servants, a Jewish couple in hiding from the Gestapo attract the curiosity of the neighbors, and a housewife begins an affair while renovating her downstairs. Rich and poor, young and old, powerful and persecuted, all of these people are seeking something: meaning, love, a new beginning, or merely survival.
Throughout, cross-generational connections and troubled legacies haunt the same spaces, so that the rose garden, the forest pond, and the balcony off the manor’s third floor bedroom become silent witnesses to a century of human drama.
In her debut, Jane Delury writes with masterful economy and profound wisdom about growing up, growing old, marriage, infidelity, motherhood – in other words, about life – weaving a gorgeous tapestry of relationships, life-altering choices, and fleeting moments across the frame of the twentieth century. A sumptuous narrative of place that burrows deep into individual lives to reveal hidden regrets, resentments, and desires, The Balcony is brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.
Jane Delury’s fiction has appeared in Narrative, The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, The Yale Review, and Glimmer Train. She has received a PEN/O. Henry Prize, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Story Award, a VCCA fellowship, and grants from the Maryland State Arts Council. She holds an MA in literary studies from the University of Grenoble, France, and an MA in fiction from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. She teaches in the University of Baltimore’s MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts program.
“With the assurance of a seasoned pro, Jane Delury spans decades, adopts a multitude of voices, and explores with the keen-eyed sensibility of Elena Ferrante or Claire Messud marriage, infidelity, motherhood, aging, money, greed, and the workings of fate. A complex and utterly engaging debut.”– Alice McDermott
“From the opening pages of The Balcony I was enthralled by Jane Delury’s picture of Benneville and by her expansive sense of character. In ways both profound and moving she shows on page after beautiful page how her characters live inextricably in a time and a place. A stellar debut.”– Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury
“The Balcony is sweeping, suspenseful, rich with surprises and eerie atmosphere. Jane Delury arrives on the scene of her debut with a sensibility fully formed and a breathtaking array of writerly gifts at her command.”– Jennifer Egan
“In an assured debut, a delicate fretwork of lives, relationships, and secrets is built up over the course of a century-and linked by a manor in an ugly French village…While the author affectingly composes her characters’ individual psychologies in slow dabs of detail, the manor’s physicality supplies permanence, its balcony a witness to two of the darkest episodes, and the surrounding forest a penumbra of mystery and continuity. Strikingly deft and nuanced; a writer to watch.”– Kirkus (Starred Review)
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