Reading in, reading out


With summer behind us and “serious book” season going strong, it feels like a busy time. A couple fantastic books I read in October were VERTIGO, a story collection by Joanna Walsh, and THE WEIGHT OF THINGS, a novella by the late Austrian writer Marianne Fritz, which was translated by my friend and former Asymptote colleague Adrian Nathan West. I shouldn’t link to 27 things here, so I’ll just say there have been a lot of enjoyable reviews and author/translator interviews for both books. They were published by Dorothy Project, who releases a pair of books each fall, and it’s become a sort of a “can’t wait” moment for me each year. Their list already includes Renee Gladman, Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Nell Zink, Joanna Ruocco, Barbara Comyns, and more.

In September, poet Paul Siegell invited me to read at Painted Pride Quarterly Presents: a reading series at the Black Sheep Pub in Philly. I got to read with poets Yolanda Wisher, Boston Gordon, and Hannah Litvin.

Back in August I organized and hosted a reading in Philly with five authors, including Scottish author Helen McClory, and local writers Asali Solomon, Ras Mashramani, Phillip Garcia, and poet Jasmine Combs.

Rather than drop 10,000 words here about what it means to me to have met these writers and heard from them in person at these two events, I’ll just say that nothing beats being able to shake hands with other Philly writers and hear how they survive and thrive as artists in this city. It felt like I got a chance to see again part of something vast and beautiful and made me proud to be a writer among them.

One last note, this Saturday at 1 p.m. I’ll be at the 215 Festival in Northern Liberties for a “Fake Histories” walking tour, where writers tell tall tales about real places. It’ll be a short walk but a lot of fun. So if you’re at the festival and need some fresh air and a laugh, come check it out. There are good spots nearby to grab a beer afterwards, too. It starts at 1 p.m. at Trophy Bikes (712 N. 2nd St.), will be hosted by Jaime Fountaine, and features journalist Max Marin and writer Alejandro Morales.