New York City Author Events and Readings

What do writers think?

While we wait for this pandemic to go the hell away, for our friends and family to recover, for all of us to re-enter the world, Robin and Lisa decided to ask writers to send dispatches from the quarantine zone.

Our first installment is from Jacob M. Appel, who hopes we can "imagine harder." (See below!)

In the meantime, we look forward to updating you when we have rescheduled our events.

Our thoughts are with all of you. Stay healthy!

Robin Martin & Lisa Kristel

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Jacob M. Appel, MD

Jacob hopes we can "imagine harder." Read on!

IS THERE A SILVER LINING?

I am struggling to find the silver lining behind covid-19. As an emergency room physician and bioethicist, I have already witnessed the horrors of the disease—and I am regrettably confident that matters will grow far worse before they get any better, that whatever humor morons might find in videotaping themselves licking subway poles or coughing on fruit will rapidly dissipate. Don’t get me wrong: to survive a day in the hospital, one needs a bit of dark humor. I make a point of reminding people that optimism saved General Custer and I wander the wards pitching my new mutual fund that will invest only in casket manufacturers, online pornography services and looting equipment. Yet on a more serious note, I remain hopeful that once this calamity is behind us—and we will get through it, somehow—we have the potential to learn three valuable lessons….

My first thought is the most concrete. Following the terrorist attacks of 2001, the 9/11 Commission Report identified one of the causes of the calamity as a failure of imagination. Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan more recently described our inability to anticipate and to prevent the current pandemic in the same light—arguably a series of such failures that might embrace everything from the sinking of the Titanic to Pearl Harbor. So I am hopeful we will imagine harder in the future. A solar storm in 1859, known as the Carrington Event, severely damaged the American telegraph system; a similar assault today, a genuine possibility, might melt the electrical grid and fry us back into the Stone Age. Rising antibiotic resistance could turn minor cuts into life-threatening wounds and make routine surgeries impracticable. Covd-21 or covid-23 might prove far more insidious than even covid-19. So let us hope that we learn the lessons of this nightmare and stave off the next one.

Second, I am optimistic that the results of weeks or months of quarantine may lead to increased social cohesion. “Living” online may remind us of the joys of connecting in person with our friends and colleagues, may make school children tire of video games and appreciate a fishing trip or a day in the park. At the moment, we are all checking in with old friends and former colleagues and distant family members; when this is over, let’s keep checking in. In about nine months, I suspect both the birth rate and the divorce rate will skyrocket. Lockdown does that. But let’s hope that the friendship rate and the phone call rate and the join-a-book-club-rate and the visit-Cousin-Alma-in-the-nursing-home rate also skyrocket. To paraphrase the title of Robert Putnam’s book on the decline of social capital, let’s stop bowling alone.

Finally, I am hopeful that we will appreciate death more. Until the second half of the twentieth century, the Grim Reaper was an active participant in American life. (That remains the case today in much of the developing world.) History tells us of the great epidemics that killed thousands: yellow fever in New Orleans, cholera in New York, waves of polio that terrorized the parents of Baby Boomers. But there was also the chronic threat of illness and injury—Beth succumbing to scarlet fever in Little Women, Zora Neale Hurston’s Tea Cake being bitten by a rabid dog, the middle-class male’s expectation of succumbing to cancer or heart disease by sixty-five. Only now, or at least until covid struck, people feel cheated if they don’t survive to eighty. So I am hopeful this sudden wave of death will help us to appreciate life more, both its precariousness and its wonder. Like the Myna birds warn in Huxley’s Island, “Pay attention”; maybe we will…..

Whitman wrote in the Song of the Open Road:

“The earth never tires,

The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first, Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first,

Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well envelop’d,

I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.”

We shall triumph over this tragedy. And we shall once again have a opportunity to cherish those beautiful things. I am optimistic that we will see them in a novel and deeper way.

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Authors send us their thoughts/experiences/reactions during this very strange time.

IS THERE A SILVER LINING? Jacob M. Appel MD

I am struggling to find the silver lining behind covid-19. As an emergency room physician and bioethicist, I have already witnessed the horrors of the disease—and I am regrettably confident that matters will grow far worse before they get any better, that whatever humor morons might find in videotaping themselves licking subway poles or coughing on fruit will rapidly dissipate. Don’t get me wrong: to survive a day in the hospital, one needs a bit of dark humor. I make a point of reminding people that optimism saved General Custer and I wander the wards pitching my new mutual fund that will invest only in casket manufacturers, online pornography services and looting equipment. Yet on a more serious note, I remain hopeful that once this calamity is behind us—and we will get through it, somehow—we have the potential to learn three valuable lessons….

My first thought is...

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"Here's a toast to #YeahYouWrite—one of the most welcoming and ingenious literary reading series I've ever enjoyed. Don't miss it!" —Terry Blackhawk, poet and founder of InsideOut Literary Arts Project

"In a packed basement at Bo’s Restaurant, the paradigm of the traditional literary reading is being revamped. Now you can watch as the author stands on stage sampling a specially mixed drink, answering rapid fire questions about writing practice, telling an anecdote about a bad review, and, oh yes, reading a few pages. This is the wave of the future." Said Sayrafiezadeh, author, When Skateboards Will Be Free

"Thank you for the excellent time last night. Dinner was superb; my Watch Me Drink This drink was delicious; everyone was so darned NICE! Truly, one of the best lit events I've attended in a long time."...

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Ann Hood, instructor at Salt Cay and director of the Newport MFA program will read, along with MFA candidate Katie Hughes-Pucci. Tracey Enerson Wood, Kris Waldherr, and Pamela Dae, alums from Salt Cay Writers Retreat where #YYW founders Lisa Kristel and Robin Martin met, will have a reading reunion.

Also joining us will be founding partner and literary agent Jeff Kleinman from Folio Literary Management to judge our Novel~Memoir First-Page Contest. See below for details on how to enter your first page to win a chance to be critiqued by Jeff and read at #YeahYouWrite on May 4!

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Find out what happened...go to the "more" links below (but ignore this word "more" right here –>)

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Soul Sister Revue Readers: (top, L to R) Special guest Rico—writer, artist, and designer of Soul Sister Revue Compilation cover art, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, R. Erica Doyle, Rio Cortez, editor Cynthia Manick, (bottom) Roberto Carlos Garcia, José Olivarez.

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Laura Pegram, Editor in Chief, and contributors to Kweli, including: Jennifer Baker, Cynthia Dewi Oka, Cynthia Manick, Princess Perry, Jodi Savage, and Vincent Toro. Click to see reader bios!

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Flatiron, New York City Author Event

Four authors, three novels, one essay collection, and hundreds of laughs.

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Crime Fiction Author Event

Crime pays. Well, when it's crime fiction. Take a look at these fellas!

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New York City Book Signing and Discussion

Here's what happens when authors ask each other questions...

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NYC Author Q&A

Incredible authors entertain with their glowing answers to our rapid-fire questions

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Disquiet International Literary Program

Fabulous faculty from the Disquiet International Literary Program, held each year in Lisbon, Portugal, took the stage this month.

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Catapult Workshop at YeahYouWrite

Catapult Workshop Instructors have written some amazing stuff . . . and they read it at #YeahYouWrite!

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Author Rapid Fire Q&A Panel

E.J. Levy, Angela Woodward, Kate Angus, & Jonathan Lee answer our Rapid Fire questions. Not sure who came up with the answer here, but it was definitely entertaining.

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Community of Writers at Squaw Valley

Answer: Five, but just barely.

It was also difficult to contain the enthusiasm these Community of Writers at Squaw Valley alums put forth for us this month. Pictured during the Q&A from left: Lisa Kristel (host), Matthew Thomas, Matt Sumell, Frederick Reiken, Julie Chibbaro, & Mark Wisniewski

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Author Q&A NYC

Ruth Danon and Kelly Fordon react to the ever-entertaining Julia Glass as she tells the story of her worst-ever review (eventually vindicated when she received the National Book Award).

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Authors Imani Sims and Victoria Redel

I'll have what she's having! Imani Sims and Victoria Redel taste their custom #literarycocktails—Wonderland and Make Me Drink This, respectively—before the reading. Martha Hughes, editor of Letting Go, and her essayists Evalyn Lee, Mina Samuels, and George Farrell sipped the Let It Go. Spirits seem a good way to prepare before taking the stage. For other photos, click:

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New York City Author Speaking Event

Authors Karen Heuler, Austin Ratner & Sandra Newman share the stage. They each presented their custom literary cocktail, read to a packed house, and answered many questions. A new highlight of the evening: sharing their worst rejection letters and reviews. Brave souls, our readers! Click more for photos and details:

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Jacob M. Appel Author

This month our authors Jacob M. Appel & Sara Lippmann read to a full house in the Lounge. We added a specialty cocktail called Stardust in honor of David Bowie—who once said his idea of perfect happiness was reading—and played a short video of images from his life. We had four wonderful readers at Late Night Mic . . . will you read next month? Photos:

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YeahYouWrite Author Reading

Authors: Dan Sheehan, Téa Obreht, & David Ebershoff

At our first #YeahYouWrite event, we had the privilege of listening to both Téa and Dan read from yet unpublished works, she from her second novel, and he from his collection of short stories. David read the opening of The Danish Girl after we watched the trailer for the critically acclaimed film, starring Eddie Redmayne, based on the novel. We've since learned it's been nominated for four Academy Awards.

At left,Téa describes her literary cocktail, The Tiger, made with Dolin Blanc vermouth, plum, hibiscus syrup, and rakija, the potent spirit oft consumed in her first novel, The Tiger's Wife. David's drink was The Lili, as lovely and sparkling as its namesake Danish girl, with its akvavit, earl grey tea, lime and prosecco. We had no other choice but to offer Dan straight-up triple distilled Irish whiskey, but not just any whiskey: the special Jameson...

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Click here to see: #YeahYouWrite in Images: 2015-2018

Photos & Video by Robin Martin / Music by Brett Beats Bailey.

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Don't miss great authors reading in the Lounge @ Bo's!

#YeahYouWrite Photos by Robin Martin