What We’re Up To This Month:
It’s been a busy summer of planning and today I’m thrilled to announce Shore Lit’s Fall 2022 line-up, featuring three outstanding fiction writers: Helon Habila, Maud Casey, and Christopher Tilghman. Each of these acclaimed authors approaches the novel from a unique and stringently intelligent perspective. I can’t wait to talk to them about their work.
Additionally, I’m especially thrilled to invite Shore Lit newsletter subscribers (you!) to a reception with Helon Habila and Maud Casey preceding their author talks. Enjoy a drink, get your book signed, and gather with other lit-minded neighbors at the Academy Art Museum. All Shore Lit newsletter subscribers are welcome, so collect your friends and family and roll up with your whole squad (they can subscribe here).
In the meantime, read on for more about this fall's line-up...
Helon Habila, Travelers
6:00 Friday September 9 @ Academy Art Museum
This book had me up reading until 2:00 am on a school night. Travelers focuses on a Nigerian scholar who travels to Berlin with his American wife, but ends up on a precarious journey spanning multiple continents. Helon Habila will be in conversation with Matt Davis, founding director of the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center. A spotlight tour of Nigerian-American artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s self-portrait in AAM’s Fickle Mirror exhibition will follow the talk.
Maud Casey, City of Incurable Women
6:00 Friday October 28 @ Academy Art Museum
Maud Casey’s latest book pushes the boundaries of what a novel can do. This gorgeously written hybrid text, which is braided with period photographs and medical documents, reimagines the “hysterical” women of Paris’s famed nineteenth-century Salpêtrière mental asylum in shimmering, lyrical prose. Her talk will include a slideshow featuring medical photographs and artistic renderings from the period. I’ll be moderating the conversation.
Christopher Tilghman, The Mason Family Series
6:00 Monday November 14 @ Talbot County Free Library, Easton Branch
Ten years ago, I brought a paperback copy of The Right-Hand Shore with me on a bike trip from Rehoboth Beach to Chincoteague, and I’m sure Tilghman’s lush descriptions of the Shore are one of the reasons I ultimately left New York City to move here. The three published novels in the Mason family series tell the multigenerational story of a farm on the Eastern Shore modeled after his own. His fourth novel, due out in 2023, brings the Mason family into the present over the course of a single day: July 4th, 2019. He'll be speaking as part of Crossroads, a series of programs discussing rural life on the Eastern Shore organized by the Oxford Museum. Thank you to the Talbot County Free Library for making this event possible!
Now this is what summer should look like... [via @Shore_Lit on Instagram]
What Else I’m Reading:
On a recent weekend, I turned off my phone and indulged in an Emily St. John Mandel double-header, starting Friday afternoon with Station Eleven and wrapping up on Sunday evening with Sea of Tranquility. Mandel writes apocalyptic sci-fi for people who don’t typically like apocalyptic sci-fi. My favorite insight: When a character, who is a writer, is asked why she thinks apocalyptic novels have recently become so popular, she suggests it’s because we subconsciously long for an end to the unceasing technology that rules our lives. Hmmm…
I finally broke down and tackled Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, which has been on the best-seller list for what feels like forever. It’s an entertaining read, if you can suspend a certain amount of disbelief: Set in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, this is the story of an abused orphan who raises herself on boiled grits and fish bait to become a renowned naturalist. There’s also a love triangle and a murder mystery, but I think the best parts are the intimate observations of wildlife.
Speaking of murder mysteries, if you’re a fan of the genre, like I am, try out veteran writer Gigi Pandian’s new series, the Secret Staircase Mysteries. Firey heroine Tempest Raj is an unemployed magician who’s recently moved back to her charming family compound and now works in the family business—constructing secret staircases for rich people. Book One, Under Lock and Skeleton Key, was my favorite beach read of summer.
On long walks and car rides I’ve been listening to Margaret Atwood’s latest collection of essays, Burning Questions, a curated selection of her many, many articles and occasional pieces from the past twenty years. In it is one of the best defenses of the humanities I have ever heard: “The arts, as we have come to term them, are not a frill. They are the heart of the matter, because they are about our hearts, and our technological inventiveness is generated by our emotions, not just by our minds.” May she live forever.
What I’m Watching:
Typically in this newsletter I avoid talking about screens and stick to the written word, but this summer has brought such a glorious return to the movies after two years of pandemic protocols that I can’t help myself. Top Gun: Maverick was the action flick I didn’t know I needed in my life. Nope was as much fun to dissect over dinner afterwards as it was to watch. And Elvis was Baz Luhrman at his best: Full. Sensory. Overload. All three of these films are made for the big screen; I highly recommend seeing them in theater if you get the chance.
Also of note: I have confirmed with the powers that be that the Encore Cinema Series, which shows indie and art films once a week at the Easton and Cambridge movie theaters, will be returning for their 17th year this fall! Stay tuned for announcements on their line-up.
What Else I’m Looking Forward to in August:
Groove Theatre presents Dog Sees God @ Dorchester Center for the Arts, Cambridge
Thursday August 11—Sunday August 14
Groove Theatre’s first Student Lab production, put together entirely by high-school students, follows a few terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days in the life of teenage boy CB.
Artist Talk with Photographer Nancy Floyd @ Academy Art Museum, Easton
6:00 Thursday, August 18
Floyd has taken a portrait of herself every day for the past forty years. She’ll be at AAM to discuss the project, which is part of the Fickle Mirror portraiture exhibition.
Shovels & Rope @ The Avalon Theater, Easton
8:00 Wednesday, August 24
Their 2019 Avalon show is one of my all-time favorites. In August, the husband and wife duo return with a new album and set list.
Support Shore Lit's Programs:
One of our core values is building inclusive community. For that reason, Shore Lit events are always free. To keep them that way, we are grateful to newsletter subscribers like you who help fund our programs. If you have the means and you value our mission of bringing literary authors to the Eastern Shore, please consider a $25 gift to support the Fall 2022 program. If you have more or less to offer, we are grateful for your generosity; no gift is too big or too small. If you aren’t in a position to offer monetary support, you remain a crucial part of this community, and we thank all of you for your consideration.