Star Island Literary Festival

I’ll be headed out to the Isles of Shoals on August 26th for the first ever Star Island Literary Festival. It’s shaping up to be an exciting week of readings, workshops, and panel discussions with a fine group of authors and presenters including Corwin Ericson, Tim Horvath, Anita Shreve, and Katherine Towler.

I’ve been hearing a lot about Star Island. The old hotel and chapel! The restorative sea air! Lantern light processions each evening! Obviously, it’s the perfect place for a week of writing, reading, and talking shop. Those interested in joining us should take a look at the Star Island Literary Festival site or the Star Island site for more information.

 

Reading with Crowley, Meeropol, and Murray

Next Wednesday, February 1st, I’ll join John Crowley, Ellen Meeropol, and Sabina Murray for a reading at Forbes Library in Northampton, Massachusetts. The reading starts at 7pm, and if you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come by. More information is available via the Forbes Library site.

Sabina Murray was a professor of mine in my grad school days, so I’m looking forward to reading with her. And I consider myself lucky to be living in an area where the “local novelist” category includes the likes of John Crowley. Fellow fans of Little, Big may appreciate this needlework sampler that Emily stitched for me a while back. Stitched? Needleworked? Sampled? She made it.

Upcoming Events

I’ve been in hiding for a while now, but in the months ahead, I have a string of appearances in various corners of New England. If you’re looking for me, here’s where you’ll find me:

At the Conference on International Opportunities in the Arts, I’ll be on a panel about first books. The other panelists are poet Marisa Crawford (The Haunted House) and artist and author Mira Bartók (The Memory Palace). That’s on Friday, April 8th, at 1:30pm in the Boston Room of the Boston Public Library.

On Saturday, April 9th, at 2pm, I’ll be teaching a multigenre workshop called “New England and the Sea” at the James Merrill House in Stonington, Connecticut, along with poet Leslie McGrath and shipwright Bill Taylor. And yes, in this case multigenre means fiction, poetry, and ship building. There will be discussions of craft, close readings of work by Merrill and others, schematics to pore over, and an incredible view of Stonington Harbor. More information is available at Dzanc Books.

On Sunday, April 17th, at 5pm, I’ll give a reading at the Stonington Free Library in Stonigton, Connecticut. It’s likely that this will be the first time I read from my new novel-in-progress (unless you count all those times I’ve read sentences aloud to myself, to make sure they made sense). The reading is free and open to the public.

Finally, I’ll be reading at Jabberywocky Books in Newburyport, Massachusetts, on Saturday, May 7th, at 7pm, as part of the Tannery Reading Series. Also reading is Aine Greaney and Pamela Greenberg.

These and other events will be handily indexed over at my BookTour.com page.

Umbrellas Across America, Part Two

You have to give them back, though.

You have to give them back, though.

The paperback tour for The Manual of Detection brought me on Thursday to Portland, OR. It was my first time in that city, though I knew a bit about it from the many friends who live(d) there, and from Benjamin Parzybok’s novel Couch. I made the pilgrimage to the Powell’s mothership, did an interview for Reading Local, bought a pile of zines and ephemera from Reading Frenzy, then read to a wonderfully warm crowd at Powell’s on Hawthorne while the rain pattered on the roof. Ben Parzybok was there, and after I refused to answer his question during the Q&A, we went to a Thai restaurant called Pok Pok. There, I was faced with a conundrum: Do I eat boar? It turns out that yes, under the right circumstances, I do eat boar.

I was telling Ben and his wife, writer Laura Moulton, and their friend, writer Lisa Hoashi, about how much I appreciate the yellow umbrellas, made available for public use, that I’d been seeing around the Northwest. They said they had no idea what I was talking about, but then, right there in front of Pok Pok, we spotted a repository of these umbrellas, so they knew I wasn’t crazy.

Dark Carnival

It's like a hall of mirrors, except with books instead of mirrors.

I wish I could have seen more of Portland, but it was off to Berkeley the next day for a signing at Dark Carnival. This is an extraordinary place, a labyrinth of science fiction, fantasy, and mystery books, spilling out of the shelves to pile over the carpet and the stairs. You have to climb over the kids reading comics on the floor and duck under inflatable monsters to find what you’re looking for—in my case a copy of Gene Wolfe’s The Urth of the New Sun.

At Dark Carnival I made some more mystery bookmarks. This one here is waiting in a copy of The Manual of Detection for someone to find.

Later I was reunited, after eleven years, with my friend Deborah Steinberg, a writer who also sings in Conspiracy of Venus (check out their cover of Rain Dogs!). We attended a MediaARTS event curated by Tanya Vlach, which was a bit like a rave, except everyone was in theater seats and watching—well, it’s hard to describe. How about: “an exhibition of the intersection of emerging technology, performance, and the moving image attempting to compute what it means to love and to lose.” The performance by Ghosts and Strings was especially good, and I also liked the floating video cube that ocul8r made.

On Saturday I visited the Belmont Library, saw the headquarters of Tachyon Publications, and read with Laurie R. King for the SF in SF series. Among the many fine people in attendance was Edward Gauvin, whose excellent translations of stories by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud are forthcoming in book form from Small Beer Press.

I had an early flight home the next day, and just when I thought I might meet someone who isn’t a writer, it turned out that my cab driver has written four books, including this one.

I guess now it’s time to write something other than blog posts, mystery bookmarks, and LOST haiku for a while.

Goodbye, goodbye, California

Goodbye, goodbye, California.

Umbrellas Across America, Part One

A few updates from the road. I had some extra time in Chicago, so before my reading at 57th Street Books on Monday, I went with my friend Sondra (http://snailsaregood.blogspot.com) to visit the Art Institute of Chicago, which is free in February (thanks, Big Shoulders!).
We explored the excellent collection of impressionist art—look at those umbrellas!—as well as the American wing, and then spent some time in the Thorne Miniature Rooms, which make one wish for a shrink ray. I saw the work of Ivan Albright for the first time; his Picture of Dorian Grey is appropriately nightmarish, and it’s hard to stand in front of it for long. The Art Institute has on display some iconic works of American art, which are always worth seeing in person, I think, because the experience can breathe fresh life into the images. There’s one bench with a view of both American Gothic and Nighthawks—I highly recommend sitting on that bench for a while.
The reading at 57th Street Books was an intimate affair—there was a blizzard on its way—but those in attendance had some great questions, and I made everyone who came a bookmark. Every one of them, that is, except the gentleman who left a bit early, as though to avoid the matter of bookmarks altogether.
A blizzard kept me in Chicago an extra day, and that’s when the extraordinary news came in that The Manual of Detection is a finalist for the Hammett Prize. Here’s the full lists of nominees:
Megan Abbott, BURY ME DEEP (Simon & Schuster)
Ace Atkins, DEVIL’S GARDEN (Putnam)
Jedediah Berry, THE MANUAL OF DETECTION (The Penguin Press)
Walter Mosley, THE LONG FALL (Riverhead)
George Pelecanos, THE WAY HOME (Little, Brown)
I’m deeply honored to be in such fine company. More information on the Hammett Prize is available from the International Association of Crime Writers.
I’ve now arrived in Seattle, where I just signed books at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, and made more bookmarks, and received an umbrella for my troubles. I was also asked to blog from the bookshop, and the results are here. http://seattlemysteryblog.typepad.com/seattle_mystery/2010/02/on-bookmarks-umbrellas.html
Next, I’m reading at Elliott Bay tonight at 7pm. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come by. It’s raining, but you have lots of umbrellas in Seattle. Just look at this tube of official Seattle lip balm I found today.

A few updates from the road. I had some extra time in Chicago, so I went with my friend Sondra (snailsaregood.blogspot.com) to visit the Art Institute, which is free in February (thanks, Big Shoulders!).

The French sure know how to promenade.

The French sure know how to promenade.

We explored the excellent collection of impressionist art, visited the American wing, and then spent some time among the Thorne Miniature Rooms, which make one wish for a shrink ray. I saw the work of Ivan Albright for the first time; his Picture of Dorian Grey is appropriately nightmarish, and it’s hard to stand in front of it for long. The Art Institute has on display some iconic works of American art, which are always worth seeing in person, if only because the experience can breathe fresh life into too-familiar images. There’s one bench with a view of both American Gothic and Nighthawks—I highly recommend sitting on that bench for a while.

The reading at 57th Street Books was an intimate affair—there was a blizzard on its way—but those in attendance had some great questions, and I made everyone a bookmark. Everyone , that is, except the gentleman who left a bit early, as though to avoid the matter of bookmarks as soon as I brought it up.

That blizzard kept me in Chicago an extra day, and that’s when the extraordinary news came in that The Manual of Detection is a finalist for the 2010 Hammett Prize. Here’s the full lists of nominees:

  • Megan Abbott, BURY ME DEEP (Simon & Schuster)
  • Ace Atkins, DEVIL’S GARDEN (Putnam)
  • Jedediah Berry, THE MANUAL OF DETECTION (The Penguin Press)
  • Walter Mosley, THE LONG FALL (Riverhead)
  • George Pelecanos, THE WAY HOME (Little, Brown)

I’m deeply honored to be in such fine company, and it’s especially exciting to see Megan Abbott on the list. I had the opportunity to do a reading with Megan last year, and I’ve been a fan of her work ever since. More information on the Hammett Prize is available from the International Association of Crime Writers.

I’ve now arrived in Seattle, where I just signed books at Seattle Mystery Bookshop. I made some more bookmarks there, and wrote about that and some other things for the store’s blog.

Tonight at 7 I’ll read at The Elliott Bay Book Company. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come by. It’s raining, but if this tube of lip balm I found today is any indication, then there are plenty of umbrellas in this town.