Saturday, October 16, 2021
Join Boston in 100 Words at Trident Booksellers and Café as they announce the winners of the 2021 Boston in 100 Words flash fiction writing contest! All thirteen winning authors will read their stories and see, for the first time, the original illustrations produced for each of them. Food and drink will be available for purchase at this celebratory event. Boston in 100 Words is an annual flash fiction writing contest co-produced by Inspired Masses, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, and the Boston Public Library. Anyone living, working or going to school in the city and some surrounding towns can submit 100-word stories about everyday life in Boston. Winning stories are displayed as large, illustrated posters in public spaces throughout the city. Boston is the first city in the United States to host this transnational urban writing project, founded in Santiago, Chile.
Please abide by city and venue regulations with regard to mask wearing and social distancing for this in-person event.
Can't make it to Trident in person? Never fear! You can catch the livestream here.
Sunday, October 17, 2021
Maybe you’ve toyed with the idea of launching a book club but don’t know where to start. Or perhaps your long-time book club has grown a bit stale . . . or downright dysfunctional. In this session, veteran book club members and facilitators Callie Crossley, Cynthia Haynes, and Woods Seney will offer their tips for book club success, share ideas for getting your book club back on the same page (as it were), and perhaps let us know what their book groups have been reading (and snacking on) lately. Bring your questions, cautionary tales, and success stories for this lively conversation, moderated by Akunna Eneh of the Boston Public Library’s Roxbury branch.
Crafting suspense novels doesn’t have to be a mystery! In this session sponsored by Mystery Writers of America–New England, mystery authors Dale T. Phillips, Joanna Schaffhausen, and Sarah Smith will break down the elements of compelling fiction and creative nonfiction, including the lure of the unknown, the urge to find solutions, and the craving for answers. They’ll share their techniques for hiding and revealing secrets, creating suspense, using plot reversals and twists, and misleading through point-of-view characters. Bring your notebook (detective or otherwise) and your questions for this panel of experienced mystery writers, led by host Steve Rogers.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Ada is not one, but many women: She revolves in orbits between Ghana and London before eventually landing in Berlin. But she is also all women—because these loops transport her from one century to the next. Consequently, she experiences the misery but also the joy of womanhood: she is a victim, she offers resistance, and she fights for her independence. With vivid language and infinite imagination, with empathy and humor, Sharon Dodua Otoo’s novel Ada's Realm paints an astonishing picture of what it means to be a woman. During this session hosted and sponsored by Goethe-Institut Boston in partnership with the BBF, translator Jon Cho-Polizzi will interview Otoo about her prize-winning fiction.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Award-winning German writer Ulla Lenze makes her American debut with The Radio Operator, a taut and engrossing historical novel that draws on a forgotten, but contemporarily relevant, chapter from the past: pro-fascist activity among German immigrants in the United States during the years leading up to World War II. Based largely on the true story of Lenze’s great-uncle, the deft narrative—translated by Marshall Yarbrough, who will interview Lenze during this session—bookends the war years as Josef Klein, a German immigrant who arrived in New York in the 1920s, is reluctantly conscripted as an operative for a spy ring of American Nazi sympathizers. Ulla Lenze has written a highly personal and meditative novel that unfolds against a seemingly familiar backdrop while offering a fresh point-of-view. The Radio Operator is a keenly observed work of fiction that introduces an accomplished literary voice to American readers. This session is hosted and sponsored by Goethe-Institut Boston in partnership with the BBF.
The romance genre is staggeringly diverse; in this session we’ll take a deep dive into the variety just within the “contemporary romance” subcategory, with four stunningly talented masters of the genre. K. M. Jackson’s How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days effectively leavens heavy topics with a light rom-com feel, as a grieving Keanu super-fan sets off on a road trip accompanied by her long-time best friend in this friends-to-lovers heartwarmer. In The Dating Playbook, Farrah Rochon’s follow-up to The Boyfriend Project, a personal trainer has to weigh her professional ambitions against her growing attraction to her NFL-player client. Alyssa Cole’s latest installment in her Runaway Royals series recasts the story of Anastasia Romanov in the fictional African monarchy of Ibarania in “an effervescent queer romance,” according to Kirkus. Lana Harper adds a witchy twist to her queer rom-com, Payback’s a Witch, which blends mysticism, revenge, and attraction into what Publishers Weekly calls a “magical joyride” in a starred review. You’ll have plenty to add to your TBR list after this session, hosted by Andrea Martucci of the Shelf Love podcast. Sponsored by Emerson College Graduate Admission.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Sutapa and Shekhar are newlyweds aboard a stuck boat in the Sundarbans, with only their boatman Rehman to help. How will they, their boat, and their relationship last through the night, with the forest's inhabitants so close nearby? "Dumba Chora," this year's One City One Story selection by author Chandreyee Lahiri, tells the story. Find "Dumba Chora" at a location near you, or on the BBF site, then be sure to check out our conversation with the author, facilitated by Alicia Anstead, associate director for programming at Harvard's Office of the Arts. Sponsored by Plymouth Rock Assurance.
Is an Olympic dream worth the blood, sweat, and tears? Find out in Alena Dillon’s The Happiest Girl in the World, a story of denial, ambition, and betrayal inspired by real events. Join GBH News reporter Craig LeMoult for a live discussion with the author about her exploration of a beloved sport’s disturbing truth, with an opportunity for Q&A. Presented by GBH.
Saturday, October 23, 2021
2021 has seen a phenomenon known as “The Great Resignation,” thanks to so many professionals reflecting during the pandemic and recognizing a mismatch between their jobs and their personal priorities. If this sounds familiar, the novelists in this session will speak to you! In Black Buck, Mateo Askaripour blends satire and self-help as he traces one young man’s meteoric rise—and fall—as the only Black salesperson at a hot new startup, in what the Washington Post calls “an irresistible comic novel about the tenacity of racism in corporate America.” Zakiya Dalila Harris, in The Other Black Girl, also confronts racism in the workplace—in this case, the author’s first-hand experiences in the publishing industry—in the guise of a thriller Kirkus calls “slyly brilliant.” The title character of Elizabeth Gonzalez James’s novel Mona at Sea used to be an ambitious go-getter—that is, until the Great Recession of 2008 saw her laid off before she even got onboarded, and now she spends her days fruitlessly applying for meaningless jobs. Variety calls Mona at Sea “a winsome meditation on how to carry on living in the aftermath of disrupted plans”--something we can all relate to these days. And speaking of relating, the plot of Eric Giroux’s Ring on Deli might sound familiar to Massachusetts readers, as a young man must decide where his loyalties lie when the employees of a New England supermarket chain rise up against their corrupt leadership. Kirkus compares Giroux’s writing to Richard Russo’s, and calls Ring on Deli “a well-balanced comic tale that deftly grapples with larger contemporary themes.” All four of these talented writers are debut novelists—perhaps their conversation, moderated by Books on the Rox’s Lanelle Sneed, will inspire you to add “author” to your résumé, too! Sponsored by Greenough Brand Storytellers.
Black authors have been at the vanguard of speculative fiction and fantasy for the past few decades, and today we have three talented practitioners to introduce us to the breadth and scope of the genre. Author and activist Lucinda Roy is perhaps best known for her poetry, essays, and literary fiction, but her new novel The Freedom Race is Roy’s first foray into speculative fiction, imagining a near-future Second Civil War, the reinstitution of slavery, and a high-stakes race where first prize equals freedom. In Shallow Waters, debut novelist Anita Kopacz imagines a mystical antebellum past, one where a powerful Orisha, a deity from Africa’s Yoruba people, travels to America in 1849 and, in the guise of a young Black woman, interacts with figures both historical and imagined. In A Master of Djinn, his first full-length novel following several successful novellas, P. Djèlí Clark also sets up an alternate history, this one set in 1912 in Egypt, whose people have embraced magical beings who both inspired innovation and also drove away the colonial powers. But all is not perfect in Cairo, as an investigation into a mysterious murder makes all too clear. Our guide on this journey through time and space is Quentin Lucas, a storyteller, Emerson MFA candidate, and GrubStreet writing instructor.
Sunday, October 24, 2021
Besides having day jobs to help support themselves, most writers face additional demands on their time—from parenting to helping aging or ill relatives or friends to coping with global threats such as the recent pandemic. Creativity can languish when relegated to the graveyard shift. How do you manage an intense day job and personal obligations while still getting a book out...or more? Come hear how writers Desmond Hall (Your Corner Dark), Doris Iarovici (Minus One), Daphne Kalotay (Blue Hours), and Rishi Reddi (Passage West) did it during this on-demand panel discussion, and then share your own experiences during the live Q&A starting at 11:30am.
Besides having day jobs to help support themselves, most writers face additional demands on their time—from parenting to helping aging or ill relatives or friends to coping with global threats such as the recent pandemic. Creativity can languish when relegated to the graveyard shift. How do you manage an intense day job and personal obligations while still getting a book out...or more? Watch the on-demand discussion to hear how writers Desmond Hall (Your Corner Dark), Doris Iarovici (Minus One), Daphne Kalotay (Blue Hours), and Rishi Reddi (Passage West) did it and then tune in at 11:30am to share your own experiences during this live Q&A.