Thursday, February 4, 2016

February Spotlight on Literary Events

February 4 through February 13, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday matinees through February 14 at 2:00 PM
WSC Avant Bard
2700 South Lang Street
Arlington, VA 22206
Kicking off 2016, Avant Bard presents a wholly new take on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Director Randy Baker, renowned for his visually stunning work with Rorschach Theatre, will reimagine Shakespeare’s dream using Indonesian-inspired shadow puppets accompanied by an actor-generated percussion orchestra. This is one thrilling theatrical experience you’ll have to see and hear to believe. Ticket prices vary from “Pay as You Will” (minimum $10) to up to $35; check the schedule for details.

Thursday, February 4 from 6:45 PM to 8:45 PM
Smithsonian Associates
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
Misitam Café
4th St & Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20560

There’s no better way to celebrate young Ernest Hemingway’s Paris than a little music, some great literature, evocative images, and of course…cocktails! Robert Wheeler, professor of English at Southern New Hampshire University, highlights the city that the writer loved most, and Hemingway enthusiast and cocktail connoisseur Philip Greene offers a taste of the drinks that he enjoyed there. $50 to $60 cover.

Thursday, February 5 at 7:00 PM
DC Public Library
Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library
Washington, DC 20001

Larissa Tracy challenges preconceived ideas about the prevalence of torture and judicial brutality in medieval society by arguing that their portrayal in literature is not mimetic. Instead, she argues that the depictions of torture and brutality represent satire, critique and dissent; they have didactic and political functions in opposing the status quo. Free admission.

Sunday, February 7 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
The Writer’s Center
4508 Walsh Street
Bethesda, MD 20815
Visiting poet Terese Svoboda reads from When the Next Big War Blows Down the Valley: Selected and New Poems, and Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Bridge, Radical Poet. She is joined by novelist Morowa Yejide, who reads from Time of the Locust. The reading will be followed by a reception and book signing. The reading will be followed by a reception and book signing. Free admission.

Monday, February 8 at 7:00 PM
Upshur Street Books
827 Upshur Street NW
Washington, DC 20011

Slipform is a 6-week poetry workshop that uses form poetry as a tool to discuss themes of gender and sexuality. The workshop will be led by Danielle Evennou, co-host of Sparkle, DC's long-running queer open mic and winner of the Larry Neal Award for poetry. The deadline to register is January 26th. Registration fee is $100. For those unable to pay the full registration fee, a limited amount of financial assistance may be available. Please inquire by emailing dmevennou@gmail.com.

Monday, February 8 at 7:30 PM
Folger Shakespeare Library
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Introduction and moderated conversation by poet Joseph Ross. $15 cover.

Valentine's with The Punany Poets in Washington
Thursday, February 11 at 7:30 PM & 10:30 PM
Anacostia Arts Center
1231 Good Hope Road, SE
Washington, DC 20020
Washington, DC lovers converge on the perfect date night, putting their inhibitions aside to abide in a sex positive space where an erotic tango of risqué rhymes, flawless flesh, and taboo thought keeps imaginations dancing to the rhythm of love this Valentine Season. Performance includes elements of poetry, prose, exotic dance, comedy, and audience interaction. Adults only. Please arrive no later than 7:00 PM or 10:00 PM for seating. $40 cover.

A.O. Scott—Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth
Thursday, February 11 at 7:00 PM
Politics & Prose

5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20008
The former book critic for Newsday, Scott has been The New York Times film critic since 2000, and his contributions to publications including Lingua Franca and The New York Times Magazine have examined a wide range of cultural artifacts. His first book builds on this familiarity with myriad forms of expression to examine criticism in the widest sense, and as Scott moves from the ancients to post-modern thinkers, he shows that criticism is not only one of the most creative ways to think, but that without it, creativity in the forms of literature, the visual arts, and even social and personal relationships, would cease to thrive. Free admission.

Victoria Aveyard—Glass Sword
Friday, February 12 at 7:00 PM

Barnes & Noble Booksellers - Fairfax

12193 Fair Lakes Promenade Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22033
Victoria Aveyard will read from Glass Sword. The Barnes & Noble special edition includes a beautiful full-color guide to the elite Silver houses of the Red Queen world, as well as an exclusive alternate Red Queen ending and Glass Sword opening chapter! Free admission.

Yann Martel—The High Mountains ofPortugal in Washington
Friday, February 12 at 7:00 PM
Politics & Prose

5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
Martel won the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Life of Pi, a novel that was at once an iconic seafaring adventure, a moving portrait of human-animal bonding, and an enactment of spiritual questions. In his fifth novel, the author of Beatrice and Virgil and The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios takes another magical plotline—the search for a lost treasure—and gives it a philosophical underpinning. Tomas, living in Lisbon in 1904, finds a journal that sets him on a quest. His actions come to bear decades later on a Portuguese doctor investigating Agatha Christie and, still later, on a Canadian senator who’s come to Portugal to mourn his wife’s death. Free admission.

Saturday, February 13 at 5:30 PM
The Lincoln Theater
1215 U St NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20009

Story District presents the annual Valentine’s love-fest of stories about the pleasures and perils of romance. Whether you’re with your sweetie or single, Story District’s Sucker for Love storytelling show is a unique and unforgettable way to spend Valentine’s Day—listening to heartfelt and hilarious true stories about loves found, lost, and imagined. As always, Story District promises storytelling at its best with a cast of talented tellers including: Amanda Sapir, Annie Lipsitz, Cait Reilly, Keith Mellnick, Laura Feiveson, Michael Cotter, Morgan Givens, Nupur Mehta, and Sarah Weber. Directed by Stephanie Garibaldi and Mike Baireuther, who will also be our fearless host for the night. Doors close at 5:30. Buy in person at the Box Office—located at the 9:30 Club—to save $$ on fees. $25 cover.

Rod Nordland—The Lovers:Afghanistan's Romeo and Juliet, the True Story of How They Defied TheirFamilies and Escaped an Honor Killing in Washington
Sunday, February 14 at 1:00 PM
Politics & Prose

5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20008
Ali and Zakia grew up on neighboring farms in central Afghanistan, but since they were of different Muslim sects, the two were worlds apart. The pair fell in love anyway and married in 2013—without their parents’ consent. As their families vowed revenge, the couple went into hiding to save their lives. Nordland, whose reporting has won a Pulitzer and several George Polk and Overseas Press Club awards, was The New York Times Kabul bureau chief when Ali and Zakia were condemned, and his account is a vivid look at Afghanistan’s sectarian divisions and the constraints that fall especially heavily on women; the story recalls the assessment of the former Afghan minister for women’s affairs who called the country “the worst place in the world to be a woman.” Free admission.

Tuesday, February 16 at 7:00 PM
Upshur Street Books
827 Upshur Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20011 

Join us at Upshur Street Books for an evening with poet Craig Czury! His new collection, Thumb Notes Almanac: Hitchhiking the Marcellus Shale, is made up of “docu-poems” created from a collage of voices gathered while hitchhiking Route 29 in Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties during the height of the Marcellus Shale gas drilling in the region. The result is a fascinating, multi-voice snap-shot album, or almanac, of people and their varied thoughts while living through a dramatic energy play. Free admission.

Wednesday, February 17 at 7:00 PM
Politics & Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20008

A former New York Times reporter, Bererson was honored with the Edgar Award for best first novel in 2007.The Faithful Spy launched Berenson’s career as a novelist as well as his hero’s exciting series of adventures. Now appearing in his tenth thriller, John Wells finds himself caught between the conflicting interests of the CIA, the White House, and various powerful nations as he struggles to keep tense Iranian-American relations from escalating into war. Free admission.

Books & Bars "Redefining the Book Club"
Wednesday, February 17 at 7:00 PM
Gordon Biersch Restaurant

900 F Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20004
Join DC Public Library librarians on the third Wednesday of each month at Gordon Biersch Brewery for a modern-day book club. Books & Bars is “reinventing the book club” with promises of great food, drinks, comfortable atmosphere, and great discussion on today’s most intriguing books. This month we will discuss the  Black History Month Book Selection, God Help the Child by Toni Morrison. RSVP encouraged to ensure enough seating. For further information, please contact Kari Mitchell (kari.mitchell@dc.gov), Turner Freeman (sheldon.freeman@dc.gov), or David Gillette (david.gillette@dc.gov). Free admission.

Thursday, February 18 at 6:30 PM
The Writer’s Center
4508 Walsh Street
Bethesda, MD 20814

Spend an evening enjoying great art and poetry during a free wine reception. In collaboration with the Corcoran School of Art/GW, The Writer's Center presents Ekphrasis, an exhibition of artwork by advanced painters paired up with advanced poets and instructors from the Center. Ekphrasis describes a poem inspired by a work of art (or vice versa). Meet the artists and writers, see the resulting paintings and poems, and stay for a reading. The show will be on view from January 25 through April 30. Free admission.

Thursday, February 18 at 7:00 PM
4200 9th Street NW, Third Floor
Washington, DC 20011

An expert panel of translators, of a variety of languages and genres, will discuss the process of translating in all its aspects. Come prepared with questions for discussion! Nancy Carlson: French. Calazaza's Delicious Dereliction. Keith Cohen: French. A History of Virility. Roman Kostovski: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, and Slovak. The Ratcatcher. Carol Volk: French. Katherine E Young: Russian. Day of the Border Guards. Free admission.

Thursday, February 18 at 7:00 PM
Politics & Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

Jansma’s striking first novel, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, won the Sherwood Anderson fiction award. Now a writing teacher at SUNY New Paltz and a graduate lecturer at Sarah Lawrence, Jansma centers his second work of fiction on a group of college friends. Five years after graduation, the circle includes an astronomer, a blog editor, an art dealer, a would-be poet, and an investment banker. As Jansma traces the twists and turns of his characters’ various relationships, he conveys rich psychological and group dynamics, complicated and tested by romance and serious illness. Free admission.

Carole Boston Weatherford—Freedomin Congo Square
Friday, February 19 at 10:30 AM
Politics & Prose

5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
Weatherford’s simple yet powerful poem, movingly illustrated by fellow Coretta Scott King honoree R. Gregory Christie, tells the story of Congo Square. Located in New Orleans, it was the sole place where slaves were permitted to gather on their one free afternoon every Sunday from 1817 until the abolition of slavery in 1865. There, both enslaved and free black people expressed themselves and communicated with each other through dance and song, tasting the freedom that was so cruelly denied to so many for so long. Ages 7–10. Free admission.



The Writer’s Center

4508 Walsh Street

Bethesda, MD 20814


Women veterans who contributed to the Winter 2016 issue of O-Dark-Thirty, the literary journal of the Veterans Writing Project, will read from their works of short fiction, memoir, and poetry. The Veterans Writing Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Washington, DC. They provide no-cost writing seminars and workshops for veterans, active and reserve service members, and military family members, and publish their work in a quarterly print journal and online. The February 2016 print and online issues of O-Dark-Thirty mark the first time a literary journal has published an issue of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry written exclusively by women veterans. Free admission.

Other Worlds, Other Stories Through Saturday, February 20
Washington Project for the Arts (WPA)
2124 8th Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20001

Curated by Jeffrey Cudlin. Other Worlds, Other Stories features the work of ten contemporary artists from the District and elsewhere who use the trope of space exploration as though it was a funhouse mirror—casting unfamiliar reflections on American dreams of escape, conquest, and adventure. The artworks range from traditional painted images of distant worlds; to works of historical fiction illustrated with digital photography and collage; to interactive live performances in a test kitchen for astronauts. Together, they open a conversation about the heady intermingling of fantasy, art, and science that kicked off the space race in the twentieth century and still defines the U.S. space program today. Free admission.

Saturday, February 20 at 6:00 PM
Politics & Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

Canin is an award-winning writer who earned a medical degree—in case the fiction didn’t pan out. Now the author of seven works of fiction, including the story collection, Emperor of the Air, and the novels America America and For Kings and Planets, as well as a writing teacher at Iowa, Canin focuses his latest novel on Milo Andret, an unassuming young mathematical genius. Milo can construct dazzlingly intricate formulas in his mind, but fails at even the most basic relationships. Alienated and depressed, despite his phenomenal career, Milo eventually bottoms out—but bequeaths the dual legacy of genius and embitterment to his son. Free admission.

Sunday, February 21 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
The Writer’s Center
4508 Walsh Street
Bethesda, MD 20815

Don't be shy! Sign-up for readers begins at 1:30 and the reading starts at 2:00. We'll have a reception following the reading. Free admission.

Sunday, February 21 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
2021 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

Poets reading in Sunday Kind of Love in January, February, and March are brought to us as part of Al Mutanabbi Street StartsHere DC 2016, a festival in solidarity with the people of Iraq and standing for free expression everywhere. Now more than ever, voices from Arab America and the Arab and Muslim worlds are essential. This Festival is made possible thanks to a grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art! Cosponsored by Busboys and Poets and Split This Rock. For questions or more information, please email info@splitthisrock.org. $5 cover.

@Busboys and Poets Takoma: Hanya Yanagihara—A Little Life
Sunday, February 21 at 6:30 PM
Busboys and Poets Takoma
235 Carroll Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20012

Yanagihara’s first novel, The People in the Trees, drew on the timeless quest for immortality—and its always devastating consequences. In her second work of fiction, now available in paperback, the National Book Award finalist starts with an equally familiar premise—the course of four friends from college to middle age—and takes it in new and stunning directions. Jules is the core of the ambitious group of young men that leaves Massachusetts for New York, but his success as a lawyer is undercut by the life-long effects of childhood abuse and trauma. Yanagihara’s narrative is an insightful portrait of the extremes of endurance and the consolations of friendship. This event is part of the Politics & Prose and the PEN/Faulkner Foundation Contemporary Fiction Reading Series at Busboys and Poets. Free admission.

Monday, February 22 at 6:30 PM
Kramerbooks & Afterwords

1517 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
20036
Told with warmth and intelligence, Piece of Mind introduces one of the most endearing and heroic characters in contemporary fiction. At twenty-seven, Lucy knows everything about coffee, comic books, and Gus (the polar bear at the Central Park Zoo), and she possesses a rare gift for drawing. But since she suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age of three, she has had trouble relating to most people. She’s also uncommonly messy, woefully disorganized, and incapable of holding down a regular job. When unexpected circumstances force her out of the comfortable and protective Jewish home where she was raised and into a cramped studio apartment in New York City with her college-age younger brother, she must adapt to an entirely different life - one with no safety net. Over the course of a challenging summer, Lucy is forced to discover that she has more strengths than she herself knew. Free admission.

Not Waving but Drowning: An Evening With Celeste Ng and John Wray
Tuesday, February 23 at 7:30 PM
Folger Shakespeare Library

201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Dark family secrets, adolescent angst and intense ambition are all core themes that authors Celeste Ng and John Wray daringly explore. After writing four different drafts within six years, Ng's debut novel Everything I Never Told You has become a New York Times bestseller and has also won Amazon's No.1 Best Book of 2014. In Ng's exquisite literary thriller, the seemingly perfect daughter of a Chinese-American family goes missing. Set in small-town Ohio during the 1970's, the disappearance triggers an unraveling of structures within the family and community. A novelist and regular contributor to The New York Times, John Wray's Lowboy follows a teenage paranoid schizophrenic who runs away from a mental institution and escapes into the gritty Manhattan underground. Not Waving But Drowning brings these two authors together for an exclusive book reading, discussion and signing at D.C.'s Folger Theatre. Cover is $15.

Thursday, February 25 from 3:30 PM to 4:45 PM
University of Maryland College Park, 2115 Tawes Hall
College Park, Maryland 20742-1625

Students will work alongside actors from the Filter Theatre Company in a practical, hands-on workshop, to discover how text plays a central role in the way actors envision their characters. Join us for this informal conversation between actors from Filter and UMD students about the company’s process, including plenty of time for questions. Co-sponsored by the Center for Literary & Comparative Studies, the Department of English, the School for Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, the University Libraries, the Friends of the Library, with support from the College of Arts and Humanities, as part of a University-wide celebration of Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death. Register by writing to engage.theclarice@umd.edu. Free admission.

Wednesday, February 24 at 6:30 PM
Kramerbooks & Afterwords

1517 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20036
In the weird and wonderful tradition of Kelly Link and Karen Russell, Amber Sparks’s dazzling new collection bursts forth with stories that render the apocalyptic and otherworldly hauntingly familiar. In “The Cemetery for Lost Faces,” two orphans translate their grief into taxidermy, artfully arresting the passage of time. The anchoring novella, “The Unfinished World,” unfurls a surprising love story between a free and adventurous young woman and a dashing filmmaker burdened by a mysterious family. Sparks’s stories―populated with sculptors, librarians, astronauts, and warriors―form a veritable cabinet of curiosities. Mythical, bizarre, and deeply moving, The Unfinished World and Other Stories heralds the arrival of a major writer and illuminates the search for a brief encounter with the extraordinary. Free admission.

Olga Grushin—Forty Rooms
Sunday, February 28 at 1:00 PM

Politics & Prose

5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington,
DC 20008
Grushin won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award for her first book, The Dream Life of Sukhanov, a masterful blend of hypnotic fugue states and surreal Soviet reality. In her third novel this subtly experimental writer traces the life of an aspiring poet through the forty rooms that have framed her experience. Named only as Mrs. Caldwell, the protagonist grows up in Moscow, goes to the American South for college, and stays in the U.S. after graduation. As she struggles to write, Grushin’s character is visited periodically by a kind of imaginary critic/mentor, an admonitory figure calling her to account for a life spent increasingly on the mundane business of marriage, children, and entertaining, and less and less on art. Free admission.
Sunday, February 28 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
The Writer’s Center
4508 Walsh Street
Bethesda, Maryland 20815

Karen Branan reads from The Family Tree: A Lynching in Georgia, a Legacy of Secrets, and My Search for the Truth. She is joined by poet Susan Tichy, who reads from Trafficke. The reading will be followed by a reception and book signing. Free admission.

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