Thursday, June 18, 2015

Weekly Spotlight on Local Literary Events

Welcome to our first edition of Weekly Spotlight! The Writer’s Center is dedicated to supporting and promoting the local literary community. Below are upcoming readings and events that are happening in the D.C. area in the next week.

Saturday, June 20, 7:00 p.m.
Upshur Street Books is hosting a reading and launch party to celebrate (guns & butter), the new poetry collection by Montana Ray out from Argos Books! Food and drinks provided. Featuring readings by: Abdul Ali, Cacayo Ballesteros, Kyle Dargan, Tanya Paperny, Montana Ray.
Upshur Street Books
827 Upshur St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20011

Sunday, June 21, 2:00-4:00 p.m .
Share your best poetry and prose at The Writer’s Center Open Mic. Sign-up for readers will begin at 1:30 pm and the reading will begin at 2:00 pm. The readings will be followed by a reception. Free admission. 
 The Writer’s Center
4508 Walsh Street
Bethesda, MD 20815

Sunday, June 21, 2:00 p.m.
Writer and photographer, Sally Mann, will be at the National Gallery of Art to read from her book, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs. In this new book, Mann weaves images and narrative to piece together a memoir that documents both her family and her personal story. Free admission.
 National Gallery of Art
401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20565

Sunday, June 21, 3:00 p.m.
All readings are on third Sundays at 3 PM, Admission $5, FREE for DCAC members
 D.C. Arts Center
2438 18th St.
Washington, D.C. 20009
(south of Columbia Rd. on the west side of the street)
Sunday, June 21, 5:00 p.m.
The sixties were a great time for revolution, especially among America’s youth. Author Howard Gillette captures stories from this era in one hundred interviews with people from the Yale Class of 1964. These interviews are documented in his new novel, Class Divide: Yale 64 and the Conflicted Legacy of the Sixties, which he will be discussing at Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse. Free admission. 
 Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse
5015 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

Tuesday, June 23, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Author of Sixteen for ’16: A Progressive Agenda for a Better America, Salvatore Babones, will speak about his book at Busboys & Poets. Moderator and IPS Director John Cavanagh along with respondents Fred Azcarate and Karen Dolan will join him as they discuss Babones’ book and how to move the 2016 election debate from false promises to active change. The program will be followed with a book signing. Free admission.
 Busboys & Poets
2021 14th St, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

Wednesday, June 24, 12:00 p.m.
Emilie Raymond will be at the National Archives for a program on her recently published book Stars for Freedom: Hollywood, Black Celebrities, and the Civil Rights Movement. Her book looks at how several celebrities advocated for racial equality with a focus on the “Leading Six” celebrity civil rights leaders: Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis, Sammy Davis, Jr., Ruby Dee, Dick Gregory, and Sidney Poitier. The program will be followed with a book signing. Free admission. 
National Archives
Constitution Avenue, NW, between 7th and 9th Streets
Washington, D.C. 20408

Wednesday, June 24, 6:45 p.m.
Co-host of Travel Channel show American Grilled, David Guas will be at the Hill Center for a program and dinner. Guas will also be signing copies of his newest cookbook, Grill Nation: 200 Surefire Recipes, Tips, and Techniques to Grill Like a Pro. The menu for the evening is TBD. Tickets for this event are $75-$90 and can be purchased here.
Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital
921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

Wednesday, June 24, 6:45 p.m.
David Roberts, co-author of The Mountain: My Time on Everest will be at the Smithsonian S. Dillon Ripley Center to discuss the top-five Mt. Everest summits. Among these top-five includes Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s 1953 climb, the very first successful Everest summit. Roberts will also look at Thomas Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld’s 1963 expedition, the 1975 climb led by Chris Bonington, Reinhold Messner’s 1980 solo ascension, and the 1983 climb of the Kanghung Face led by James D. Morrissey. Tickets for this event are $30-$42 and can be purchased here.
Smithsonian S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20560

If you have a reading or literary event you would like posted, please contact

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Leesburg First Friday: Orienting Your Reader

By Linda Budzinski

As authors, we introduce readers to often unfamiliar worlds, filled with unfamiliar people and places. Fortunately, we have a number of tools in our writing toolbox to guide our readers through the story—and to draw them further into it.

At the Writer’s Center–Leesburg May First Friday event, I had the pleasure of presenting a session on “Orienting Your Reader,” along with fellow young adult author Valerie Patterson, in which we discussed two very different navigational tools.


Linda Budzinski
Valerie Patterson

Val opened the session with a wonderful presentation on setting and the many roles it plays within a story. Setting does more than orient the reader to time and place, she said. As an example, she took participants through an exercise designed to show that the way a story’s setting is described can reveal a great deal about its main character and his or her emotional state. The same house would be described very differently by a young child, an adult returning home after a long absence, or an elderly woman recently widowed.

Next, I shared thoughts on how raising (and resolving) questions in your readers’ minds can help guide them through the story. It is important to provide just enough information at each stage of the tale to entice them to turn the page, without confusing them or unnecessarily holding out on important details. The best way to know if you have struck the right balance is to specifically ask your critique partners and beta readers to tell you what questions your story is raising in their minds. You want the questions to be ones of intrigue, not confusion. And you don’t want to raise questions you have no intention of later answering!

Coming up in June

At the June First Friday event, Erika Ettin will examine “How to Create Characters that Will Capture an Editor's Attention and Your Readers' Hearts.” Erica is the founder of A Little Nudge, an online dating consulting business focused on helping people put their best foot forward online. Her self-help book, Love at First Site, shows readers how to increase their odds for connections by marketing themselves well. Her advice includes pointers for writing a winning profile and crafting emails that catch someone’s attention. She’ll share how we as writers can use these skills to craft engaging characters and how to write pitches to capture an editor’s eye. To register for this event, click here

The Writer’s Center–Leesburg Committee offers events the first Friday of every month except for December, January, July, and August. Events are held at the Leesburg Town Hall, 25 W. Market St., Leesburg, VA 20176.