What We’re Up To This Month:
As I write this, I’m still buzzing from last week’s event with the brilliant Maud Casey. Maud’s writing challenges and rewards me, and I feel so lucky that we had the privilege of hosting her on the Shore. Afterwards, Maud commented on what a terrific audience we had, and I agree. Thanks to everyone who read City of Incurable Women with your book club, or on your own, or who didn’t read it but showed up at the Academy Art Museum with a curious mind and joined our conversation about mad women, mental health, Victorian-era photography, and feminism. You make me so grateful to be a part of this incredible community.
Speaking of, if you haven’t read last Sunday’s profile of the Academy Art Museum in the Washington Post Magazine, check it out. Shore Lit quite literally exists because of the support of AAM Director Sarah Jesse, who is reimagining what a community museum can do and be. It’s thrilling to see that work recognized on a national scale.
Coming up on November 14, I’ll be moderating a conversation with author Christopher Tilghman at the Talbot County Free Library as part of the Crossroads: Change in Rural America series.This event is TCFL’s baby, and I am so honored they asked me to be a part of it, as Chris’s writing is one of the reasons I moved from Brooklyn to the Shore. In 2012, I took a solo bike trip down the peninsula and brought a copy of The Right-Hand Shore along with me. I was traveling (very slowly; I’m a terrible cyclist) and camping in this landscape at the same time I was reading his descriptions of the Shore and its history. I fell in love.
Few writers have thought as deeply about this place over time as Chris Tilghman has. The Mason family, the subject of his last three novels, is modeled on his own, which arrived on the Shore in 1645, and he has spent decades researching local history. The final novel in the series, On the Tobacco Coast, will be published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in late 2023 or early 2024 and brings the story into the present. The action takes place mostly on a single day, July 4, 2019, with a look into a future of climate change and sea level rise. As Chris tells me, “It portrays the Masons’ attempt to confront their family history and the history of America from 1607 to the confusions and disagreements of the present day.” We’ll be diving into this and more in our talk. I hope to see many of you there!
Event prep... [via @Shore_Lit on Instagram]
What Else I’m Reading:In preparation for our talk, I asked Chris which books about the Shore (besides Chesapeake) he recommends. Here’s what he said:
“John Barths’s Sotweed Factor, of course, the funniest and wisest novel ever written about the Eastern Shore; Gilbert Byron and The Lord’s Oysters; Earl Swift’s Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island, the most recent and, to my mind, by far the best discussion of climate change and cultural loss on the Bay; Helen Rountree and and Thomas E. Davidson’s Eastern Shore Indians of Virginia and Maryland, the part of the story that is almost never told, a story that must literally be unearthed, here summarized in remarkable depth and detail; and finally, the true eye opener, Barbara Jeane Fields’ Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland During the Nineteenth Century, which first alerted me to the fact that Maryland, for all its purported border-state neutrality, is Deep South in its cultural heritage.”
What Else I’m Looking Forward to on the Shore this month:
Film Screening: Nowhere @ Academy Art Museum, Easton
6:00 Friday, November 4
A Columbian couple must decide whether to face queer persecution at home or immigration battles in the U.S. Directors David and Francisco Salazar will be at AAM to present this modern love story, nominated for multiple Columbian Academy Awards. Presented in Partnership with Delmarva Pride Center.
Book Launch: You’re Tearing Me Apart Lisa! @ The Buzzed Word, Ocean City
7:00 Friday, November 11
A new critical anthology from Indiana University Press deconstructs the worst movie ever made, Tommy Wiseau’s stupendously awful The Room—now a cult classic. Join editor Adam M. Rosen at OC hot spot The Buzzed Word for a reading, partial screening, and several glasses of natural wine. Co-hosted by Shore Lit.
Ghost Forest Opening Reception @ Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely
2:00 Saturday, November 12
Photographer Geoff Delanoy will be at Adkins to present his inky black-and-white landscapes, which document climate change in the Chesapeake Bay watershed—particularly the costal forest diebacks known as ghost forests.
Crossroads: Change in Rural America @ St. Paul’s Church, Oxford
Through December 16
This traveling Museum on Main Street exhibition, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and Maryland Humanities Trust, engages in discussions about changes to rural America over the past several decades. While you’re there, check out the Oxford Museum’s companion photo exhibit, Rooted in the Land: A Tribute to Eastern Shore Farmers.
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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 our programs. 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.
Shore Lit aims to enhance cultural offerings on the Eastern Shore with free community author events. This newsletter is written by Shore Lit Founder and Director Kerry Folan.