Monday, May 24, 2010

Literary Debutantes

I am definitely not the debutante ball type.

But last Friday, the folks at One Story threw a very unique coming out party. Take an old factory turned creative space in Gowanus, mix up some emerging writers with literary luminaries, add a dj and dancing, throw in a guerilla theater performance and a silent auction with original art inspired by the stories, call it a Literary Debutante Ball: A Celebration of Emerging Writers - and you've got the recipe for a truly original benefit.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the literary "debutantes" - writers whose work first appeared in an issue of One Story - who were escorted by their mentors. John Hodgman from The Daily Show, who authored the very first issue of One Story ("my second and last short story", he quipped), served as emcee.

During the evening, the short story Bar Joke, Arizona (issue #97) by "debutante" Sam Allingham (whose escort was none other than one of my favorite writers, Dan Chaon) was presented in two acts by Wingspace Theatrical Design. While the winner of the iPad raffle got an impromptu serenade by Hodgman, I got an original artwork by Linda Ganjian, inspired by Rachel Carpenter's The Qualifications of Regina White(One Story issue #9).

The boldface names were everywhere....though our little group did have some fun trying to convince ourselves who was who as a result of those highly unreliable book jacket photos. Is that or isn't that Dan Chaon? Well, it was and we missed our chance. Better luck with Jonathan Lethem, who we met while talking to Ben Greenman (issue #113), who's also got a book coming out soon. Early on, we chatted with "debutante" Amelia Kahaney (issue # 98) and were thrilled to find out that her mentor was Michael Cunningham ("running late, but he'll be here!"). By the time he arrived, we had unfortunately lost Amelia in the crowd. I had just finished the terrific new book American Subversive by David Goodwillie, so when I spied a very tall, good looking guy with a striking resemblance to the author photo, I couldn't resist saying hello. Turns out, he wrote some of the book right here in the Library's Green Alcove. NYSL members, old and new, are everywhere.

And there were other, stranger connections. My husband, a sportswriter, once played in an ice golf championship in Greenland. Wouldn't you know, in that crowd, we met a Danish writer who now calls Brooklyn home and was born and raised in Greenland.

So kudos to Hannah, Maribeth, and Tanya, our friends at One Story. It was a heck of a party!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Week of May 24 - Writing Groups

Open to Library Members only. Feel free to stop by and bring a few pages of your work to share with the group.

Memoir Writers
Monday, May 24, 3 pm - 4:45 pm

Tuesday, May 25, 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Fiction Writers Group II
Wednesday, May 26, 11 am - 1 pm

Monday, May 17, 2010

Writing Groups This Week

Memoir Writers Group
MONDAY, May 17, 3 pm - 4:45 pm, Whitridge Room
Please bring a few pages of your work in progress to share

Fiction Writers Group I
TUESDAY, May 18, 5 pm - 6:45 pm, Whitridge Room

*Writing Groups are open to Library members only.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lauren Weber at Queens Library

Member Lauren Weber discusses her book In Cheap We Trust

Jackson Heights branch, Queens Library
Saturday, May 15, 2 pm
35-51 81st Street, Jackson Heights
More information on Lauren here

Monday, May 10, 2010

NYC Public Libraries are in trouble

Don't Close the Book on Libraries

The New York Society Library may be the oldest library in NYC, but we're not the only library in town. We love our local public library too.

If you haven't heard, New York City's public libraries are in trouble. Proposed budget cuts could mean signficant numbers of branch closings (10 at NYPL, 14 in Queens, and 16 throughout Brooklyn), fewer hours (especially weekend hours) at the remaining branches and a drastic reduction in materials and services (BPL estimates 6 million fewer library materials than are currently purchased).

Here's how you can let the City Council know how much New York needs its public libraries:

Join tomorrow's rally at Queens Library's Flushing branch:
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
1:00pm - 4:00pm
Flushing Library, 41-17 Main Street, take the 7 right to the end

Come out on Saturday and participate in Brooklyn Public Library's Love Your Library Day:
Saturday, May 15, 2010
10:00am - 4:00pm
Central Library, Plaza
10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, NY

Tell your Council Members what you think about the proposed cuts! Fill out this online form from the New York Public Library, this one from Brooklyn Public, or sign the Queens Library petition. Better yet, send a personalized postcard to your Council Member TODAY.

Writing Groups This Week

Non Fiction Writers Group
MONDAY, May 10, 3 pm - 4:45 pm
Whitridge Room

Poetry Group
TUESDAY, May 11, 2 pm - 4 pm
Whitridge Room

Writing Groups are open Library members only.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Katharine Davis wins Maine Literary Award!

Congratulations to member Katharine Davis who has been awarded a 2010 Maine Literary Award for best fiction! The awards are presented by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, an organization that supports writers and the literary arts in Maine. Katharine's book East Hope is set in a fictional Maine town that was inspired by the landscape Down East.

For more on Katharine's work, click here.