Monday, May 27, 2013

What's Going on This Week with Books--Two Events at Boswell, Midwest Small Press Festival, Writecamp!

Tuesday, May 28, 7 pm, at Boswell
Mary Hutchings Reed, author of Warming Up.

Our friend Mary Bisbee-Beek, an independent publicist and marketing consultant, clued us into our next guest, Mary Hutchings Reed. I started writing about independent publicists and realized it was going to take over the blog, so I'll save that for another day, perhaps checking in with a few of our friends that we work with regularly.

But today it's time to talk about our events this week. Here's a bit about Warming Up.

"Approaching forty, unemployed but well-off, talented but unknown, functional but depressed, former musical actress Cecilia Morrison reluctantly seeks therapy, but it takes a runaway teenager to change her life when he cons her out of sixty bucks. Although she once won leading roles, Cecilia now can’t bring herself to audition for parts, and her therapist, an amateur sculptor, can’t take the first swing at a hunk of marble his wife gave him before she died.

"Whether at the apex of one’s success or just starting out, Warming Up speaks to everyone who’s ever wondered, “what’s it all about?” or who finds themselves doing something they never thought they’d do, whether it’s singing in the subway to earn some “dough-re-me” or running out of an important audition, chased by a ghost. Reed offers a unique perspective on a homeless teen using his innate abilities as a con man to help his sister and her baby escape their damaged childhoods, and sympathizes with a perfectionist’s struggle to express himself creatively in a medium in which he is a mere amateur."

Mary Hutchings Reed is a novelist and playwright working in Chicago. Her work has appeareaed in the ARS Media, and The Tampa Review, while her musical, Fairways, has been produced several times in Chicago since its 2006 premiere. This is her second published novel. (Her daytime job is as a lawyer specializing in entertainment and media law).

Warming Up was shortlisted for the 2011 William Wisdom-William Faulkner Prize for the Novel. Ten percent of the author's proceeds are donated to The Night Ministry, which provides temporary housing, transitional living, and parenting services to Chicago's homeless youth.

Reed has a good friend in town who is helping us get out the word about her event on Tuesday. Thank you Maggie for all your hard work!

Wednesday, April 29, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Alex Grecian, author of  The Black Country, in conversation with Jon Jordan, editor of Crimespree magazine.

Mr. Grecian's novel The Yard, received great notices upon publication including this Valentine to the grisly from Alison Flood in The Observer (UK). She called the book "bonkers, exuberant--and hard to put down." We're excited to welcome Grecian to Boswell for his second novel in The Murder Squad series.

Set in the British Midlands, called “Black Country,” by its inhabitants and with good reason--bad things can happen there. When three members of a prominent family disappear from a coal-mining village--and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird’s nest--the local constable sends for help from Scotland Yard’s new Murder Squad. Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith, soon realize that they’ve stepped into something much more bizarre and complicated than they thought. The villagers have very intense, intertwined histories. Everybody bears a secret. Superstitions abound, especially a local legend about a monster that some of them claim they’ve seen. Added to that, a flu outbreak is killing off some of the inhabitants…and the village itself is slowing sinking into the mines below it.

In addition to these mysteries, Grecian is also the long-running and critically acclaimed graphic novel series Proof. He lives in the Midwest with his wife and son.

When we were trying to figure out something to make this event a little different, I checked in with Jon Jordan, who along with his wife Ruth edits Crimespree magazine and orders Murder and Mayhem in Muskego each November (and organized Bouchercom in St. Louis in 2011, and editor of the book Interrogations, among other things) and asked him if he'd be amenable to doing this event in an interview format. He was game and we are all the luckier for it.

Don't forget, as is the case for most of our mystery events, the author will be also appearing at Mystery One at 5 pm.

And here are a few other things this week that might appeal to your bookish nature:

Friday, May 31 through Sunday, June 2, at various locations in Riverwest:
The Midwest Small Press Festival.

Friday at 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm:
The weekend starts with an opening recepton on Friday, featuring Cathy Wagner and Dana Ward, at Woodland Pattern, 720 E. Locust Street (all the addresses are 53212 if you're using a mapping program).

Friday at 9:00 pm through midnight:
The festivities continue with a program of interdisciplinary and collaborative performance at Riverwest Film and Video, 824 E. Center Street.

Saturday, 10:00 am through 5:00 pm:
The main event. a day of bookfairs, readings, and workshops, at Falcon Bowl, 801 E. Clarke St.

4:00 pm to 6:00 pm:
An open mic featuring recent Boswell guests Charles Ries and Furrow magazine, at Bremen Cafe, 901 E. Clarke Street.

6:00 pm to 11:00 pm:
Press readings continue at People's Books, 804 E. Center Street as well as the Cocoon Room at 820 E. Locust Street.

There's also an after party on Saturday and a spelling bee/potluck on Sunday. Presses involved include Bloof Books Burdock Magazine/Teppichfresser Press, Cannot Exist, Convulsive Editions, Dancing Girl Press, DoubleCross Press, Horse Less Press, Midwestern Gothic, New American Press, Orange Alert Press, Pity Milk Press, Plumberries Press, Poets Democracy, Projective Industries, Rabbit Catastrophe Press, Stoneboat Journal, Strange Cage, Sunnyoutside, Switchback Books, and Xexoxial Editions.

The festivities are accessible by the 10, 15, 22 and it should be pretty easy to park in the neighborhood too. 

Also on Saturday, June 1, at Mercy Hill at the Hide House, 2625 S. Greeley St. 53207: Writecamp 5.
WriteCamp is a free, unconference designed for you to discover new ideas and connect with people who are part of the writing world in the Midwest. It’s free and open to the public — come and enjoy speakers, ad-hoc presentations, networking and food.

WriteCamp is free and open to the public; therefore, anyone can attend. It is also understood that anyone who attends should feel welcome to participate in whatever way they would like, be it volunteering at sign-up, giving tours, answering questions, setting up/taking down, or even giving a presentation.

WriteCamp revolves around four main focus areas: fiction, nonfiction, editing & publishing and the business of writing. A presenter picks a topic that fits into one of these focus areas. Then, the presenter describes the content in the forums on the WriteCamp website. Participants can discuss the topic on this page prior to the event. During the event, the presenter will discuss his/her chosen topic during a 45-minute session.

Looks like Niki and Boone have organized a great event. Lots more information is available on the Writecamp website. It's a short ride from anywhere in the city, and just a couple of blocks west of the Green Line bus in Bay View.

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