2013 - 2014 Update
A year ago, I finished writing "This is Paradise" the story of Irishwoman Mags Riordan and the medical clinic she founded in the Malawian village where her son died in 1999. I spend 3 ½ years working on this book, on three continents, and I'm thrilled to announce that it will be published in April.
It's one of two titles I'll have out next year from PFP Publishing, whose authors include Elizabeth Searle, Roland Merullo, Craig Nova and Askold Melnyczuk. My novel "Make a Wish But Not for Money," about a palm reader in a dead mall, will be out Oct. 5.
As I say each time I begin a reading, thank you for reading. If no one were reading, including reading yours truly, I wouldn't get to do this for a living. And I certainly wouldn't have the chance to have more books out there. I also am so grateful to Mags Riordan, for allowing me to tell her story, and to Peter Sarno for wanting to publish both books. I met Peter through my literary soul sister, Elizabeth Searle, so I'm very grateful to her, as well. I hope to thank everyone in person when I begin reading from the books. My first reading of "This is Paradise" will be April 23 at Broadside Bookshop in Northampton, Mass., where, since the invitation of the late and great store founder Bruce MacMillan long before my first book was published in 1994, I have held all my first readings except the one for Shelf Life, which I of course had to hold at Edwards Books. Please see the Events page for other readings coming up. I will be adding more to the list soon.
The readings I'm doing these days are in support of "Knitting Yarns – Writers on Knitting," a fabulous anthology edited by amazing Ann Hood. The collection includes pieces by Ann, Elinor Lipman, Anita Shreve, Barbara Kingsolver, Andre Dubus III, Elizabeth Berg and Elizabeth Searle. The book has just gone into a second printing (two weeks after its publication date) and has just received a rave review in People magazine. I'm honored to be included and have written a piece about how my parents' edict that, back in our childhoods, my sister and I couldn't just sit around - we had to be doing something (drawing, sewing, knitting...) – has added so much to my life, including sparking lots of knitting. It begins with my first knitting lesson, which I received during a meeting of my 4-H Club, The Crafty Critters of Palmer, Mass....
Tommy and I are just back in Massachusetts after a pretty perfect travel adventure that began in Ireland in October, when we attended Ted and Annie Deppe's Curlew Conference 4, in Howth, just north of Dublin. I'm so grateful to the Deppes for including me yet again in an inspiring week of workshops, lectures and readings in a gorgeous seaside location. Guests were Belfast's first poet laureate, Sinead Morrissey, and Orange Prize finalist Deirdre Madden (I'm reading her captivating novel "Molly Fox's Birthday" right now), and we also were treated to the premiere of The Muse & Mister Yeats: A Play for Voices, written by Eamon Grennan, who spoke and read prior to the show, and performed by Curlew favorites Sean Coyne and Tegolin Knowland. I have to add that Tommy Shea's reading, and his talk on Pete Hamill were other stellar additions to the week. A new field trip this time took us on a fascinating literary tour of Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery, a city unto itself, one occupied by 1.5 million souls. If you're interested in attending the next Curlew Conference, I can't recommend it highly enough. Let me know and I can make sure the Deppes put you on the list for information.
On a related Irishy note, Tommy and I thank all who attended the September concerts in Three Rivers, Mass., by Leo Moran and Anthony Thistlethwaite of the Saw Doctors. We here at Shea Stadium greatly enjoyed planning and hosting, and thank all at the Palmer Historical and Cultural Center – and its Harmony Hall – for their help with the sold-out nights that began Leo and Anto's first American tour as a duo. Will the lads return in 2014? Watch this space...
For now, mark your calendars for Bay Path College Writers' Day 9, to be held Feb. 15 at the campus at 588 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow, Mass. The slate is: Elizabeth Peavey on memoir, Suzette Martinez Standring on the column, Helen Peppe on writing the truth about family, Jan Freedman on publishing, T. Susan Chang on food writing, Frances Brown on research and Gail Donovan on writing for children. I'll be emceeing and trying to sit in on as much as I can of all the talks. I'll also be front and center that night, for Elizabeth Peavey's performance of "My Mother's Clothes Are Not My Mother," a series of connected monologues she wrote that confronts the following: Losing a parent is difficult enough. Losing your final parent presents an additional challenge - what are you supposed to do with all your family's stuff? And how do we know when to let go?? To register for one talk or your choice of the seven that will be offered that day, or for ticket information for the nighttime performance, write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, thanks again, and again and again.
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