Conference Updates & KidLit News Jan. 17

If everyone else is still as disorganized after the holidays as I am, you may have forgotten that there is still time to sign up for the SCBWI-Brazos Valley conference coming up March 4 in College Station. Author of over twenty books Donna Cooner will be speaking. Her newest book, WORTHY releases March 28. Other speakers are Karen Boss from Charlesbridge, Jennifer March Soloway from Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Caldecott Honor illustrator E.B. Lewis, and Newbery Honor author Kathi Appelt.

Happy Book Birthday

Last week, I missed congratulating Joanne Levy for her new novel for tweens. Joanna is the author of the fun and funny middle grade novel, SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE. Congratulations, Joanna! You can follow her on twitter, @JoanneLevy!

This week we get another adorable picture book from Diana Murray, one of the regular members on the SCBWI Discussion Board. Diana’s career is on fire! She had three picture books published in 2016, one each from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, and Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan. The first of her FOUR (so far) books for 2017 is from Sky Pony Press. Later this year she has another from Little, Brown, another from HarperCollins, and one from Imprint, part of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. (And there’s more with dates still to be determined!) Go Diana!  

CRUSHING ITCRUSHING IT by Joanne Levy

By Joanne Levy

Published by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster

From the publisher: Twelve-year-old Kat is already so over seventh grade. It doesn’t help that her best friend and cousin, Olivia, grew a foot over the summer and won a spot on the school’s dance team, shooting her up on the popularity scale. In the jungle that is middle school, Olivia is a gazelle. Braces-wearing, manga-loving, uncoordinated Kat is a warthog. Plus, Tyler, Kat’s next-door neighbor and buddy since birth, morphed into a really cute boy over the summer. Suddenly the person Kat’s used to playing Xbox with is causing her stomach to do cartwheels.

When Olivia confesses that she has a crush on Tyler and wants to ask him to the Fall Ball dance, Kat knows there’s going to be a problem: Tyler thinks Olivia is just another ditsy girl who only cares about lip gloss and boy bands. But since Kat’s one of Tyler’s oldest friends, Olivia’s sure she ll know how to get his attention.

Trying to be a good friend and squash her own feelings, Kat makes it her mission to get the two of them together. From writing Tyler cheat sheets listing his favorite things, to feeding Olivia lines through her headphones during Tyler-focused study sessions, Kat devises schemes by which Tyler will fall for Olivia. And to her delight or maybe horror her plan begins to work. Now that Olivia’s caught Tyler’s attention, Kat has to wonder if she’s fooled Tyler into falling for the wrong girl. But what boy would ever choose a warthog over a gazelle?

Buy the book! BRYAN PRINCE BOOKSELLER  BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP  BRAZOS BOOSKTORE  INDIEBOUND  BARNES & NOBLE AMAZON

 

GROGGLE’S MONSTER VALENTINEGROGGLE'S MONSTER VALENTINE

By Diana Murray

Illustrated by Bats Langley

Published by Sky Pony Press

From the publisher: Groggle has been up all night making a Valentine’s Day card. This isn’t just any Valentine, though, and it has to be perfect—it’s for Snarlina, his beast friend in the whole wide world.

Searching in the dark forest, he finds just the right heart-shaped leaves. He collects some bog slime and squirts everything he wants to say in bold, gooey letters. Groggle’s creation looks horribly good. But there’s just one problem—gobble, crunch, crunch, slurp! He has a monster appetite!

Groggle tries again, this time writing poem after poem to make sure he has some extras just in case. He picks skunk flowers, carefully ties on snake bows, and sprinkles shiny beetle glitter. He decorates each card with care. But . . . gobble, crunch, crunch, slurp! Groggle’s monster impulses foil his efforts and he’s run out of time.

Will Groggle ever be able to give his toothsome, stomping, monstrous friend Snarlina a Valentine? Find out in this monster of a tale.

Buy the Book! BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP  BRAZOS BOOSKTORE  INDIEBOUND  BARNES & NOBLE  AMAZON

Local Author Events

For Readers

JANUARY 17, 7:00 PM: JAMES RILEY, MG AUTHOR

Blue Willow Bookshop

COST: FREE; Admission: In order to go through the signing line and meet James Riley for book personalization, please purchase SECRET ORIGINS from Blue Willow Bookshop.

James Riley will discuss and sign his STORY THIEVES series for kids. In the newest installment, SECRET ORIGINS, Owen and Bethany have sworn off jumping into books for good. But they didn’t make any promises about not jumping through strange portals that lead to a comic book world.
Jupiter City was once filled with brightly costumed superheroes and villains, but nowadays, there’s nothing left but the Dark. Even the villains are terrified of the Dark’s shadows, and most of the heroes have either disappeared or been lost to mind control. The one hero who might have stopped all of this, Doc Twilight, has been imprisoned by the Dark.
But who is Doc Twilight really? And how can Bethany and Owen defeat the Dark without superpowers of their own? They’ll definitely need the help of some old friends and new allies to bring the light back to Jupiter City, and find out the truth behind the Dark.

It all comes back to Bethany’s own secret origins. What really happened when her fictional father disappeared years ago? Who is Nobody, and why is he writing these Story Thieves books? And what kind of supervillain name is The Rotten Banana?

JANUARY 21, SATURDAY, 9:00 AM-12:30 PM: BOOKWORM: A FESTIVAL FOR YOUNG READERS

Spring Oaks Middle School, 2150 Shadowdale, Houston
COST: FREE

Begun in 2014, the Bookworm Festival is a fun morning that celebrates emerging readers, and those who write for them. Librarians and language arts teachers from across Houston comprise the steering committee for this event. Their goal is to connect emerging readers with authors to foster the joy of reading. This year’s featured authors/illustrators are Adam Rex, Mary Sullivan, Heidi Schulz, and Varsha Bajaj.

For Writers

JANUARY 17, TUESDAY, 7:15 PM: HOUSTON BAY AREA ROMANCE WRITERS: JULIE GLOVER

Kirkmont MUD Building, 10102 Blackhawk Rd., Houston, TX
COST: FREE

Young Adult author Julie Glover discusses Using Grammar to Enhance Your Voice.

JANUARY 21, SATURDAY, 3:00-5:00 PM: BAWL MONTHLY WRITE-IN

Cafe Express, 19443 Gulf Fwy, Webster, TX
COST: Members-Free, Nonmembers, $5.00

Join fellow writers for the first BAWL (Bay Area Writers League) Monthly Write-In. Get inspired with writing prompts or work on your own projects. All genres welcome. Bring computer or pen/paper.

JANUARY 21, SATURDAY, 3:00-6:00 PM: WRITESPACE: WORKSHOP

Writespace
COST: Members Only $15

Members Only First Page Critiques: Writespace members, come meet the founding director of Writespace and share fellowship with your fellow writers as we enjoy an encouraging and supportive roundtable of first page critiques. In three hours we will embark upon a fast and fun, yet in-depth adventure in which we explore the fundamentals and subtleties of dozens of craft elements essential to composing great stories. By the end of our session, attending writers will have attained greater clarity about what questions good writers ask as they work, as well as a clearer sense of what editors and agents look for when they receive a pitch or a submission. Also, each writer will be assigned an exercise or prompt customized to the page we critiqued and designed to vitalize both the specific work and the writers’ development.

JANUARY 24, TUESDAY, 6:30 PM: HOUSTON WRITERS HOUSE SOCIAL: DEBORAH FRONTIERA

Black Labrador
COST: FREE
Local author Debbie Frontiera, who is in charge of the Kroger Bookseller Program, will explain how to can sell your books at Kroger.

Conference Updates

For more conference information, visit the main conference pages. If you’d like to be notified of these weekly updates, please use the Subscribe to Updates form on the sidebars!

Editors & Agents @ Conferences

MARCH 10-11: JAMBALAYA KIDLIT CONFERENCE, NEW ORLEANS, LAUPDATE!

EDITORS: Cheryl Klein/Scholastic; Nina Kooij/Pelican Publishing
ART DIRECTOR: Kevin Johnson/Pelican Publishing

Retreats & Writing Workshops

JULY 10-15: WRITING FOR CHILDREN, LANDGROVE, VTNew!

Esther Hershenhorn—Author/Writing Coach

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Conference Updates & KidLit Events, Jan. 10

It’s only mid-January, but the list of events for writers and illustrators in the Greater Houston Area is already getting huge. I’ve added something for 2017 on that page, cover images for books written by local authors. More will be added as events continue to be announced. Please hop over and check out our local, world-class talent!

Happy Book Birthday!

I have a great variety of book launch celebrations today: one MG supernatural rom-com, a nonfiction, a YA fantasy, and a YA contemporary. The first of these is the last in a series from prolific MG/tween author Anna Staniszewski, who I “met” years ago on the SCBWI Discussion Board. One is by a local author from one of my former writing groups, the Houston YA/MG Writers. Unfortunately, we’ve disbanded but still keep in touch via listserv. Another YA/MG Writers member Gordan Rottman has a new sequel out for his YA novel THE HARDEST RIDE which features 16-year-old Marta. The new book, RIDE HARDER, continues new-adult Marta’s adventure with her fiancee as they confront all of the dangers Texas in the late 1880s.

MATCH ME IF YOU CANMATCH ME IF YOU CAN BY ANNA STANISZEWSKI

By Anna Stanisewski

Published by Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky

Lena is more than ready to spend a quiet winter break with her mom out in Arizona, even if that means saying a temporary good-bye to her boyfriend, Marcus. What she doesn’t count on? A major power outage—of the supernatural kind. Out of nowhere, Lena’s soul-collecting powers disappear, as do Marcus’s matchmaking powers, only to reappear elsewhere.

Now school-loudmouth Connie Reynolds is making people fall in love left and right, and Marcus’s sister is having visions… If Lena and Marcus can’t figure out how to set things right, it might just be the end of the world as they know it.

Buy the book!  BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP  BRAZOS BOOKSTORE  INDIEBOUND  AMAZON  BARNES & NOBLE 

 

MISSION TO PLUTOMISSION TO PLUTO: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt

The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt

By Mary Kay Carson

Photos by Tom Uhlman

In July of 2015 a robotic spacecraft reached Pluto after a nine-and-half-year journey. New Horizons is the first spacecraft mission to Pluto and revealed its five moons as never before seen. Images from the mission show a reddish surface covered in ice-water mountains, moving glaciers, and hints of possible ice volcanoes and an underground ocean. Pluto is geologically alive and changing!

This addition to the Scientists in the Field series goes where no person or spacecraft has ever gone before. Follow along with the team of scientists as they build New Horizons, fly it across the solar system, and make new discoveries about a world three billion miles away.

Buy the book! BLUEWILLOW BOOKSHOP  BRAZOS BOOKSTORE  INDIEBOUND  BARNES & NOBLE  AMAZON

 

CROSSINGSCROSSINGS by Sarah Johnson

By Sarah Johnson

Published by Cedar Fort Publishing

Some borders aren’t meant to be crossed.
Eliinka has been able to hide her deepest secret… until now. Her only choice is to make a perilous crossing to a foreign land where she’ll discover the truth about a powerful legend and the hope for peace after centuries of conflict.

Immerse yourself in this enchanting fantasy world and take heart in Eliinka’s journey of sacrifice, romance, and intrigue.

Buy the book! BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP  BRAZOS BOOKSTORE  INDIEBOUND  BARNES & NOBLE  AMAZON

 

HALF THE DISTANCEHALF THE DISTANCE by Stan Marshall

Written by Stan Marshall

Published by The Hartwood Publishing Group

When seventeen-year-old Todd Nelson—preacher’s kid, football player, and all-around good guy—moves from big city Houston to a small Texas town, he must leave everything he loves behind—his teammates, good friends, and his cheerleader girlfriend. As with every other teenager in the world, he didn’t have much say in the matter. His dad even had the nerve to say, “I think this move will be good for all of us.”
In what universe?

For Todd, adjustment to a new school in a new town is hard enough, but just as his football skills begin to gain him acceptance in the new school, the roof caves in. He is blamed for his new team’s loss in the championship game. With high school football ranking two notches above God and country in rural Texas, Todd becomes a pariah, not only to his schoolmates but to the whole town.

As his life continues to deteriorate, he focuses on the injustice of being held responsible for something he doesn’t think is his fault. He’s always tried to do the right thing, and look where that got him—paying for a mistake someone else made. If the devil was looking to make a deal, Todd was just about ready to sign on the dotted line.

Todd finds himself battling not only against flesh and blood, but his own inner demons as well. Can he find the courage to fight when his whole world is being ripped apart? And is courage alone enough?

Buy the book!  AMAZON  BARNES & NOBLE 

Local Author Events

For Readers

JANUARY 11, WEDNESDAY, 5:00 PM: NEAL SCHUSTERMAN, MG AUTHOR SCYTHE by Neal Schusterman

Blue Willow Bookshop

COST: FREE In order to go through the signing line and meet Neal Shusterman for book personalization, please purchase SCYTHE from Blue Willow Bookshop.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe a role that neither wants. These teens must master the art of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

For Writers

JANUARY 11-16: TEXAS WRITING RETREAT, NAVASOTA, TX

This retreat will feature classes and lectures by authors John Grogan (writer of MARLEY AND ME) and author of adult crime novels, Joe Clifford. Kimberly & Cameron Literary Agent, freelance editor, and former acquisitions editor, Elizabeth Kracht will also be attending.

JANUARY 14, SATURDAY: WEST HOUSTON RWA WORKSHOP: OLIVIA DRAKE

Memorial Drive Christian Church, 11750 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX
COST: Non-members may attend two meetings prior to joining RWA

Make Them Laugh, Make Them Cry: Writing Effective Emotion: Every good novel grabs the reader’s heart and never lets go. Learn how to use emotion to enhance your plot, to drive character motivation, and to force your character to face his/her deepest flaw.

At 8:30 prior to this meeting, there will be a PRO program (for unpublished or writers who haven’t met Published Author Network criteria) with Rachel Osborne, Tips on Setting Goals and Sticking to Them.

JANUARY 17, TUESDAY, 7:15 PM: HOUSTON BAY AREA ROMANCE WRITERS: JULIE GLOVER

Kirkmont MUD Building, 10102 Blackhawk Rd., Houston, TX
COST: FREE

Young Adult author Julie Glover discusses Using Grammar to Enhance Your Voice.

CONFERENCE UPDATES

For more conference information, visit the main conference pages. If you’d like to be notified of these weekly updates, please use the Subscribe to Updates form on the sidebars!

FEBRUARY 16-18: DESERT NIGHTS, RISING STARS, PHOENIX, AZNew!

EDITOR: Cheryl Klein/Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic
AGENT: Emma Patterson/Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents

FEBRUARY 18: BOOK COVERS CATCH THE ART DIRECTOR’S EYE, SALT LAKE CITY, UTNew!

ART DIRECTOR: Nicki Carmack/Peachtree

MAY 12-13: LAKEFLY WRITERS CONFERENCE, OSH KOSH, WINew!

AGENT: Jill Swenson/Swenson Book Development LLC

MAY 20-21: WRITERS & ILLUSTRATORS WORKING CONFERENCE, AUSTIN, TXNew!

EDITORS: Kendra Levin/Penguin Random House; Melissa Manlove/Chronicle Books
AGENTS: Linda Camacho/Prospect Literary Agency; Stefanie Von Borstel/Full Circle Literary
ART DIRECTOR: Guiseppe Castellano/Penguin Random House

JUNE 12-16: WRITING & ILLUSTRATING FOR YOUNG READERS, SANDY, UTNew!

EDITORS: Emily Feinberg/Roaring Brook Press; Emma D. Dryden/drydenbks
AGENTS: Ben Grange/JABberwocky; Amy Jameson/A+B Works; Michelle Witte/Mansion Street Literary Management; Stephen Fraser/The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

JULY 20-22: MIDWEST WRITERS WORKSHOP, MUNCIE, INNew!

AGENTS: Roseanne Wells/Jennifer De Chiara Literary; Jessica Sinsheimer/Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency; Monica Odom/Bradford Literary Agency; Brooks Sherman/The Bent Agency; Jennifer Laughran/Andrea Brown Literary Agency; Eric Smith/P.S. Literary

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Conference Updates & KidLit News, Jan. 3

Celebrate! I’m starting off the New Year with a slideshow featuring 2017 winter picture book, middle grade, and young adult book releases from writer friends, both IRL and online. The slideshow will be on the sidebar of all the conference pages. When you see a book that interests you, click on the cover image to go to a site for that book.

Happy Book Birthday

We have four book birthdays to celebrate today! All are from friends on the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Discussion Board; one author has two new books to celebrate!

MOO LA LA! COW GOES SHOPPING

Written by Stephanie Shaw

Illustrated by Becka Moore

Published by Simon & Schuster UK

 

From the publisher: The grass is always greener, right? WRONG! In this hilarious story, one covetous cow discovers the truth of the saying “Be careful what you wish for.” Cow thinks everything the other animals have is absolutely amazing and wants it for herself. But when she finally does get everything, she has no idea what she’s getting herself into! A very silly story, with a worthwhile message – all told in a witty way.

Buy the book!  SIMON & SCHUSTER  AMAZON 

PICKY EATERSPICKY EATERS by Ellen Jackson, Illustrated by Amy Clare-Barden

Written by Ellen Jackson

Illustrated by Amy Clare-Barden

Published by Sterling Publishing

From the publisher: Did you know that koalas eat only eucalyptus? That arctic foxes dine on lemmings? Or that leatherback turtles enjoy a dish of jellyfish? Like children, animals can be very, very fussy about their food This rhyming board book, with engaging lift-the-flaps, introduces toddlers to ten choosy creatures and their minimal diets. After meeting each animal, kids lift the flap to see what it eats. Most important, in addition to having fun, little ones learn that it’s good to eat adventurously.
Put a new food on your plate,
You may find it’s something great

Buy the book!  BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP  BRAZOS BOOKSTORE  AMAZON

FEARLESS SPIES AND DARING DEEDS OF WORLD WAR II by Rebecca LAngston-George

DEEP COVER SPIES & DOUBLE-CROSSERS OF THE COLD WAR

And two books that explore the lives and daring deeds of spies during World War II using photos, original sources, maps, timelines, and little known facts.

Written by Rebecca Langston-George

Published by Capstone Publishing

Fearless Spies and Daring Deeds of World War II

Buy the book!  CAPSTONE  INDIEBOUND  BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP  AMAZON
BRAZOS BOOKSTORE

AND

Deep Cover Spies and Double Crossers of the Cold War

Buy the book!  BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP  BRAZOS BOOKSTORE  INDIEBOUND  AMAZON  BARNES & NOBLE

 

Local Author Events

For Readers

JANUARY 7, SATURDAY, 2:00 PM: ALEXANDRA BRACKEN, YA AUTHORWAYFARER by Alexandra Bracken

Blue Willow Bookshop, 14532 Memorial Drive, Houston

COST: FREE In order to go through the signing line and meet Alexandra Bracken for book personalization, please purchase WAYFARER from Blue Willow Bookshop.

Alexandra Bracken will discuss and sign WAYFARER, the second book in the PASSENGER series for young adults. From the publisher:

I’ve been orphaned by my time.
The timeline has changed.
My future is gone.
Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas-the eighteenth century privateer she loves-and her natural time.
When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future.
Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.

For Writers

JANUARY 7, SATURDAY, 8:30 AM: NORTHWEST RWA MONTHLY PROGRAM WRITE-IN

Spring Creek Oaks Clubhouse, 17111 Misty Creek, Spring, TX

Write In! Start the year off…writing!

JANUARY 9, MONDAY, 7:00 PM: SCBWI MTG: JENNIFER HAMBURGHAZY BLOOM AND THE TOMORROW POWER by Jennnifer Hamburg, Illustrated by Jenn Harney

Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter Dr, Houston, TX
COST: FREE

WRITING THE MIDDLE GRADE NOVEL: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE DEADLINE OF DOOM, presented by author Jennifer Hamburg. Jennifer’s first middle grade novel, HAZY BLOOM AND THE TOMORROW POWER, releases from Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Macmillan on February 28!

Conference Updates

For more conference information, visit the main conference pages. If you’d like to be notified of these weekly updates, please use the Subscribe to Updates form on the sidebars!

Agents & Editors @ Conferences

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APRIL 28-29: WASHINGTON WRITERS CONFERENCE, COLLEGE PARK, MDNew!

AGENTS: Claire Anderson/Wheeler Regal Hoffmann & Associates; Diana Finch/Diana Finch Literary Agency; Jennifer Weltz/Jean V. Naggar Agency; Jess Regel/Foundry Literary + Media; Peter Rubie/FinePrint Literary Management; Steven Salpeter/Curtis Brown LTD; Victoria Skurnik/Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency

AUGUST 24-27: KILLER NASHVILLE, FRANKLIN, TNNew!

PUBLISHER: Misty Williams/Fiery Seas Publishing
AGENTS: Peter Rubie/Fineprint Literary; Amelia Appel/McIntosh & Otis; Mike Hoogland/Dystel, Goderich & Bourret; Tracy Marchini/Bookends Literary Agency

SEPTEMBER 9: THE CHESAPEAKE WRITING WORKSHOP, WASHINGTON D.C.New!

AGENTS: Amanda Jain/Inklings Literary; Mark Gottlieb/Trident Media Group; Regina Brooks/Serendipity Literary; Mike Hoogland/Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret; Eric Smith/P.S. Literary

Retreats & Writing Workshops

MAY 11-14: STORYMASTERS, TORONTO, CANADA New!

AGENT: Donald Maass/Donald Maas Literary Agency
AUTHORS: Christopher Vogler; James Scott Bell—Author

JUNE 2-4: EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION, HOUSTON, TXNew!
AGENT: Donald Maas/Donald Maas Literary Agency

(I’ve already signed up for this one!)

SEPTEMBER 15-17: EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION SEATTLE, WASHINGTONNew!

AGENT: Donald Maas/Donald Maas Literary Agency

Young Writers Workshops

JULY 9-15: THE CENTRUM HIGH SCHOOL WRITERS’ CONFERENCE, PORT TOWNSEND, WANew!

Residential, Fort Worden State Park
Scholarship application deadline: June 20, 2017: notifications on a rolling basis.

Since 1974, Centrum’s high-school writing workshops have been at the center of creative-writing education in the Pacific Northwest. Centrum’s High-School Writers’ Conference presents a focus on community and rigorous attention to craft through core morning workshops, afternoon workshops in special topics, and guided freewrites, as well as open-mike sessions and a vibrant readings and lectures series presented by contemporary working writers.

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