As part of my various jobs, I serve two large communities.
In my home state of North Carolina, for example, I write regularly on books and literary events as a contributing editor for Metro Magazine; I’ve long been involved with the North Carolina Writers’ Network; and I’ve build some great relationships with several authors and booksellers throughout the region.
In my current home in Virginia — and specifically at George Mason University, where I teach — I work closely with the annual Fall for the Book Festival; I have friends and contacts at several other organizations, most particularly The Writer’s Center in Bethesda; and I’ve become a regular reviewer for The Washington Post (hardly a local paper, I know, but still an integral part of the regional community in addition to serving a national audience).
As part of my connections to these two communities — and specifically as part of a new coordinated effort with Metro — I’d like to offer a weekly post that’s more local in scope, highlighting upcoming events that seem of particular interest to me and, I hope, to readers of this blog who call either of those two regions home. Here then are some suggestions from Wednesday, December 3, through Wednesday, December 10.
Among the top literary events in the Triangle area this weekend is an appearance by Allan Gurganus at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham. Gurganus will be reading “A Fool for Christmas,” an unpublished short story which was originally presented on NPR’s All Things Considered back on Christmas Eve, 2004. The story centers on a pet store manager named Vernon Ricketts and the pregnant teen he hires to do some part-time work around the holidays. Gurganus will be reprise the story at the Regulator on Friday, December 5, at 7 p.m. (And for those who can’t make it, NPR offers the original broadcast online.)
Other events this week in the Triangle and across Eastern North Carolina include:
- John Shelton Reed & Dale Volberg Reed, authors of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, on Wednesday afternoon, December 3, at The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, and again on Friday evening, December 5, at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh.
- Chapel Hill author Kate Betterton, author of Where the Lake Becomes the River, on Thursday evening, December 4, at Quail Ridge Books.
- Dr. Mardy Grothe, Raleigh-based psychologist, management consultant, and author of I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like: A Comprehensive Compilation of History’s Greatest Analogies, Metaphors, and Similes, on Thursday afternoon, December 4, at The Country Bookshop.
- Bruce Roberts, former director of photography for Southern Living and author of Just Yesterday: N.C. People and Places, on Saturday afternoon, December 6, at Quail Ridge Books.
- Paul Austin, author of Something for the Pain: One Doctor’s Account of Life and Death in the ER, on Tuesday evening, December 9, at Pomegranate Books in Wilmington.
Northern Virginia, D.C., and Maryland
Two of the biggest events in D.C. over the next week — Toni Morrison discussing A Mercy on Thursday, December 4, and photographer Annie Leibovitz on Tuesday, December 9 — are both sold-out, but the events’ bookstore host, Politics and Prose, are still taking orders for signed copies of each author’s latest book; for information, call 202-364-1919.
Another big event is the presentation of this year’s PEN/Malamud Awards, honoring excellence in short fiction. Peter Ho Davies and Cynthia Ozick are the 2008 recipients, and the two authors will read from their works at the Folger Shakespeare Library on Friday, December 5, at 8 p.m. The event is presented by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. Tickets are $12.
In other news:
- Writers in the MFA program at George Mason University offer a free reading on Friday, December 5, at 7 p.m. at The Firehouse Grille in Old Town Fairfax, VA. Slated to present new works are fiction writer Tim Rowe and nonfiction writer Valerie Lambros.
- On the same evening, poets Reed Whittemore, Cicely Angleton, and Elaine Magarrell appear at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, at 7:30 p.m. to read from the recent anthology Inventory.
- Finally, DC Poets Against the War host readings on Saturday and Sunday, December 6-7, in conjunction with the Peace Mural Exhibit. Readings take place at 3 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, and at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday at 3336 M Street, NW.