Jen Morrow, Owner
After experiencing first-hand the wonder of a child learning to read, Jen knew she had to find a way to bring a bookstore to her community. And, where else would she want to spend her time than in a place where she would be surrounded by books, wine, and people with whom to share them? Her favorites include epic stories such as One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; however, she certainly won’t turn down the chance to read classics such as Pride & Prejudice for the tenth time, but who is counting?
Jen chose the name “Bards Alley” as a mash-up of classics old and new (think Shakespeare meets Diagon Alley), and as a way to represent her store as a place of discovery for readers of all ages. When not reading aloud to her kids or nestled with a book and one (or more) of her three cats, Jen can be found enjoying a cup of strong black coffee, quoting facts about Elvis Presley, or hosting game nights at her home. She is excited by the prospect of her favorite book not having been written yet.
Jane Miscavage, Assistant Manager
The combination of good books and good snacks sounded like a good idea to Jane, who was once busted for feeding chickens inside her favorite Minneapolis bookstore. A recovering public affairs consultant, she is eager to help create a welcoming space for readers to unplug and unwind. Jane loves Shakespeare and the classics, especially when she has help interpreting the oldey-time language and context. She is eager to help fellow curious readers delve deeper into literature, both old and new. All time favorite book: Daphne DeMaurier’s Rebecca.
Photo Courtesy of Leanne Bowers.
Sarah Katz, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Sarah wants to know what book you’re reading, especially if it’s a collection of poetry. When she saw that an independent bookstore was opening just a few miles away, she knew she had found the best possible place to stalk other readers under the guise of a staff position.
Sarah is a writer, and her prose pieces and poems appear in Rhino Poetry, The Rumpus, The Writer’s Guide, and others. She earned her MFA in creative writing at American University and is currently at work on her first poetry manuscript, which was a finalist for Tupelo Press’s 2016 Dorset Prize in Poetry. She has also founded and edits an online journal of D/deaf and disabled literature and art called The Deaf Poets Society (www.deafpoetssociety). When Sarah isn’t working to generate buzz for Bards Alley, she’s either reading or watching the latest Better Call Saul episode with her husband, Jonathan—or she’s gone along with her better instincts and hit the gym.
Diane Naughton, Special Projects Director
Diane has always wondered what it took to create and run a bookstore, so she asked Jen Morrow if she needed an assistant. How lucky for Diane that Jen said yes! Diane didn’t know much about shelf-talkers, opening inventories, or sidelines, but she knew what she liked when she visited other bookstores. And she knew it was important to help build a place where book (and wine) lovers could go in Vienna.
Growing up in Arlington, Diane was your typical bookworm—as a young person, a big thrill for her was opening the latest Nancy Drew mystery. When her own children were at Flint Hill Elementary School, Diane volunteered in the library where she was introduced to Harry Potter, Magic Tree House, and Captain Underpants.
When she is not reading or going to her book club, Diane can be seen walking her black lab, Maggie, practicing yoga, and producing independent films. As much as she loves a good movie, it’s never as good as the book!
Sarah Kurcina, Lead Bookseller
Sarah and her husband Johnny moved to Vienna in 2007, drawn by its appeal as a small town within a big city. She is excited to be part of the team at Bards Alley, as it adds another place for community to gather in Vienna. If she had to make a list of some of her favorite things, it would be reading and discussing books, savoring a hoppy craft beer, and being with old and new friends. So, she’s essentially been training for this job her entire adult life!
For years, Sarah has hosted and led book discussions at her house on topics ranging from spirituality to parenting as part of the local Vienna church her husband started in 2011. While her background is in American and Chinese history, she has spent the last several years reading the classics she missed along the way. When she isn’t curled up with a copy of Anna Karenina or David Copperfield, she may be regularly spotted walking (or carrying!) her miniature Australian shepherd, Skipper, around Vienna.
Photo Courtesy of Jane Miscavage.
Bill, otherwise known as the “Bard of Avon” or “William Shakespeare,” is a nearly 500-year-old playwright and poet. He is flattered to be tasked with the responsibility of haunting Bards Alley, and fielding questions customers have regarding the store and its collection of books. His answers appear on the “Ask Bill” page, where his monthly reading recommendations will also appear.