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Friday Faves: April Is the Coolest Month

 

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By Chris Abouzeid

Why is April the coolest month? Because it’s chock full of literary news and events! (Also, it’s the first month we get to put away the snowblowers.) (Maybe. We hope. Please!)

National Poetry Month

Did you know April is National Poetry Month? When was the last time you even read a poem? Well, check out the Academy of American Poets’ “30 Ways to Celebrate” to find out what National Poetry Month has to offer and what you can do to keep the poetry and the passion connected. (Apologies to E. M. Forster.)

National Library Week

Yes, April 13th – 19th is National Library Week. YA goddess Judy Blume is the Honorary Chair, and the theme this year is “Lives change @ your library.” Unfortunately, the week is almost over, but there’s still plenty you can do to celebrate, from paying your overdue fines to treating your favorite librarian to a nice cup of coffee (or tea, or half-pound box of Burdick’s Chocolates, whatever).

World Book Night

As if there isn’t enough going on this month, we also have World Book Night on April 23rd. On this one night, 25,000 volunteers give away 20 copies (that’s 500,000 books!) of a specially printed edition of a book they have read and loved to people who may not have access to good books. It’s probably too late for you to get involved this year, but check out the website to see how you can help out next year.

Pulitzer Prizes

Unless you had your head in the sand, you probably already know that the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes were awarded this week. Notable winners were Donna Tartt for her novel, The Goldfinch, The Boston Globe for its coverage of the Boston marathon bombings, and The Guardian and The Washington Post for exposing the NSA’s widespread secret surveillance program. Follow the link to see the full list. (Who knows? Maybe you’re on it and no one called you.)

James Patterson Bookstore Grants

Remember author James Patterson’s pledge to donate $1,000,000 to various indie bookstores? Well the checks have started flowing, and the first round of grantees (including local favorites Porter Square Books and Odyssey Bookshop) have already put the money to good use, paying it forward to their employees, customers and communities.

Lit Week 2014

Boston’s  literary collective, Grub Street, is sponsoring Lit Week 2014: 7 days of fun and exciting events culminating in their Muse in the Marketplace conference. From April 26th to May 5th, you can participate in everything from a Harvard Square Literary Walk to readings by such luminaries as Francine Prose and Mona Simpson. Best of all, almost all the events are free!

Any other April literary news we should have included? Let us know.

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Brave New World: Adventures in Serialized Fiction

By Rachel Kadish

IWASHERE_FINALA few years ago, I started writing a novella. I wrote it quickly, fiercely, with a sense of exorcising an alarming dream. That year someone I cared about had been the victim of witness-intimidation–and while her situation had resolved safely, the experience had left me mulling the thought: what if it hadn’t? Given a different resolution, I could easily imagine how a whole line of dominoes—of lives–could fall in a sequence of swift and irrevocable consequences.

Once I’d had that thought, of course, its inverse occurred to me: can a courageous act set off a similar chain reaction, redeeming lives? New characters and images grew on the lattice of those questions, and I was off and running.

That spring, in one of those wonderful coincidences that happen now and again, a friend asked me to write something for a novella series he was publishing. I’d never written a novella, and had heard it was nearly impossible to find a publisher for a work of that length. But with the green light of my friend’s offer, I gave the story my all. It turned out to be classic novella length: about 90 pages.

And then my friend informed me that his novella series had had its funding cut.

So now I had an orphan on my hands. I wasn’t willing to eviscerate the novella to make it into a short story, nor was I willing to falsely inflate it to novel-length. Not seeing any appealing options, I put the novella aside.

About two years later, the writer Yael Goldstein Love mentioned to me that a new publishing venture she’d co-founded had started looking for novella-length manuscripts. The plan, Yael said, was to publish these manuscripts as downloadable serialized fiction.

O brave new world. … Continue Reading

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