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Best-selling Author of Internationally Acclaimed Novels, Anita Shreve, Will Read from Her Latest Book, “Stella Bain,” Tuesday, April 29 at 6:30 PM

2014 April 19
by marleen

a shreveIn the late 1990s, it seemed everyone was reading the same book, The Pilot’s Wife, by Anita Shreve. On subways,  buses, park benches and beaches,  the dark-blue cover of Shreve’s 1998 bestseller, an Oprah’s Book Club Selection, peeked out of shoulder bags and pocket books, dog-eared, beloved. Shreve, the daughter of an airline pilot who grew up in Dedham, is by now the author of some seventeen novels, including The Weight of Water, made into a movie, and a finalist for England’s Orange Prize. She won the O’Henry Prize for one of her first published stories, Past the Island, Drifting, in 1976. Her 2003 novel, Resistance, was made into a movie by the same name, starring Bill Paxton and Julia Ormond.  Shreve worked as a journalist in Nairobi, Kenya, and taught creative writing at a number of colleges.

Stella Bain is the story of a young woman who finds herself in the trenches of the First World War, shell-shocked, without a memory to help return her home. How she got there and where she will be going is beautifully detailed in Shreve’s evocative novel.

Shreve will read from it on Tuesday, April 29, at 6:30 PM, at the South End Library. Seating is limited. The event is free. The South End library is fully handicapped accessible.

Speaking next at the South End branch of the Boston Public Library are:

Wednesday, May 14:

Pablo Medina, an acclaimed Cuban-American poet (The Man who Wrote on Water) and novelist, whose latest book, Cubop City Blues, just came out in paperback.  The South End resident has received fellowships from the Oscar B. Cintas Foundation, state arts councils of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is a professor in the Department of  Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College. 

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 Tuesday, May 20:

 South End author Wendy Wunder (The Probability of Miracles) will return to talk about her latest novel, due out in April 2014, called The Museum of Intangible Things. She teaches writing at the non-profit writing center, Grub Street, and yoga at various locations in the Boston area.

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 Tuesday, June 10:

 William Landay, award-winning author of crime fiction including the New York Timesbestseller Defending Jacob, The Strangler and Mission Flats.

 

 

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Afghanistan War Poet Colin D. Halloran Describes “a Writer’s Life Tinted by War” to an Audience that Wants to Know Why He Enlisted in the First Place

2014 April 19
by marleen
Colin D. Halloran answering questions from an appreciative SE Library audience

Colin D. Halloran answering questions from an appreciative SE Library audience

A small but captive audience of less than two dozen people came to listen to the forceful and confident presentation by Colin D. Halloran of his award-winning debut collection, Shortly Thereafter. They applauded appreciatively between the selections of unpublished and published work. But the first question out of the gate was something like this: What is a nice middle-class boy like you doing in a war like that?

“I’ll get to that later,” Halloran said cheerfully, displaying the engaged style of the college professor he is now, both rattling his audience with the brutal, haunting details of what he calls his ‘memoir in verse,’ as well as bringing them back to the more peaceful world of an evening reading at a branch library in a country at peace. “Part of me hates giving these readings because it’s all so depressing,” Halloran commented. “It’s not happy poetry, but my attempt at happiness.  I wanted to capture as many facets of the war as I could. That means, the 95 percent of time when you’re waiting for something to happen and the five percent, when you wish it didn’t.”

Halloran wasn’t a writer before he went to war, although he had composed songs for his school band and kept a journal. Coming home in 2004 less than a year after deployment due to a severe knee injury, he was angry, guilt-ridden and depressed. He was institutionalized twice. A therapist, to whom the collection is dedicated, convinced him to write. “Writing saved my life. If not for that, I probably wouldn’t be here,” he said. His first poem was published in the New York Times, after which MFA programs began to recruit him. Driving around one day, struggling with a poem that didn’t seem to work, a voice of the enemy came into his head. Incorporating the suicide bomber’s narration, it became, Spring Offensive, of which the first section is called,  ”I Have Heard the Mullah Speak.” The long story in verse is dedicated to the Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish. A more upbeat work is Democracy, Tea and Belly Dancers, depicting an Afghan man who associates exposed bellies and ankles with a better life: “Democracy good,” the man said, his thumbs pointing up.

His decision to go to war was complex, Halloran said. He had been in college for one semester and needed money for hallorn -2-school. He had plans to run for office, and wanted to perform public service.  He didn’t mind going either, he recalled, seeing himself as “a man of action” more than a yellow-ribbon man. “I felt a sense of patriotism, too, ” he added, “which was very surprising.” Despite high test scores which could have kept him from the front lines,  he choose the infantry, which brought him there. “That’s where the important decisions are made,” he felt. The difficult road back to civilian life from war’s brutality included small victories, such as “successfully taking the Green Line from Brookline to Harvard Square by switching to the Red Line at the right station and making it to the Harvard Book Store.”

Halloran teaches workshops understanding war through poetry throughout the country. He advocates for veterans and civilian education on veteran’s issues. Shortly Thereafter was named a Massachusetts Must-Read Book in 2013 and won the Main Street Rag Poetry Award in 2012. He co-edited T(here), a collection of essays about reverse culture shock among veterans.

 

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South End Library’s Seventh Annual Easter Egg Hunt Will Be Ready For You and Yours in Library Park, Sunday April 20, at 11:00 AM SHARP

2014 April 15
by marleen

eeh -2-The South End Library offers many wonderful programs, including those that  bring you this year’s winners of literary awards.  Such as the Pulitzer (Megan Marshall, “Margaret Fuller: A New American Life”); New England PEN (Doug Bauer: “What’s Next: Matters of Life and Death”); a  Guggenheim Fellowship (Chris Castellani, “All This Talk of Love”); and the First Annual Fenway Writers Contest (Allison Barnet, “South End Character”).

And then there’s the beloved South End Library Easter Egg Hunt: that’s when everyone wins: the kids, the parents, the bunny, the park, the library and spring defeating  winter. Easter eggs have been filled with poems, chocolate and knock-knock jokes. The Easter bunny has been recruited and his costume rented. The Parks Department has issued a permit. Area D4  Police will help residents cross Tremont Street. Volunteers have been recruited for setting up and taking down. We will have a separate section safe for tots. All we need is good weather (on order, too) and YOU. See you there at 11:00 AM sharp. There’s no mercy for late-comers.

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Poet and Afghan War Veteran Colin D. Halloran Will Read from his Award-winning Debut Collection, “Shortly Thereafter,” Tuesday, April 8, at 6:30 PM at the South End Library

2014 April 5
by marleen
HalloranIn an article about war writing by soldiers in the current issue of The New Yorker, George Packer notes there seems to be a lag time of about five years between deployment and publication. A lot of recent war literature by American war veterans has been from Iraq, but now the Afghanistan vets are coming out with their literary achievements. Colin D. Halloran‘s work, who will read at the South End branch this coming Tuesday, April 8, falls within that category.
After serving with the US Army there, Halloran became a secondary English and French teacher while completing his MFA at Fairfield University. He also finished his debut poetry collection, Shortly Thereafter, and developed a lecture/workshop series on the subject of understanding war through poetry. He works with students and teachers, and is an advocate for veterans and civilian education on veteran issues.  His Shortly Thereafter won the 2012 Main Street Rag Poetry Award.
The event is free. Seating is limited. Authors reading next at the South End Library are listed below. The library is fully handicapped-accessible.
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Tuesday, April 29:

 Anita Shreve, award-winning author of numerous books of fiction, including the international bestseller The Pilot’s Wife, which was made into a movie of the same name and was an Oprah Book Club selection. Her new novel, Stella Bain,  has just come out to excellent reviews in the Boston Globe.

=====

Wednesday, May 14:

Pablo Medina, an acclaimed Cuban-American poet (The Man who Wrote on Water) and novelist, whose latest book, Cubop City Blues, just came out in paperback.  The South End resident has received fellowships from the Oscar B. Cintas Foundation, state arts councils of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is a professor in the Department of  Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College. 

=====

 Tuesday, May 20:

 South End author Wendy Wunder (The Probability of Miracles) will return to talk about her latest novel, due out in April 2014, called The Museum of Intangible Things. She teaches writing at the non-profit writing center, Grub Street, and yoga at various locations in the Boston area.

 =====

 Tuesday, June 10:

 William Landay, award-winning author of crime fiction including the New York Timesbestseller Defending Jacob, The Strangler and Mission Flats.

 
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The Seventh Annual South End Library Easter Egg Hunt Will Take Place in Library Park, Sunday, April 20 at 11:00 AM (and be over by 11:02 am)

2014 April 5
by marleen

EEHBy popular request, the South End Library Easter Egg Hunt in Library Park is all set to go: the bunny costume has been ordered; the bunny has agreed to appear; the flyers are being printed; and the minute the eggs are delivered they will be distributed to volunteers to be filled with chocolate, poems and knock-knock jokes. There will be a tiny-tot section for tiny tots ONLY. There will be refreshments, balloons, and baskets for those who can’t find last year’s. Head librarian Anne Smart has agreed to open the library for the event.  The Parks Department will issue a permit. The Area D4 Police will help with crossing the street, as they have every year. All we need is good weather: we deserve it. Now is NOT the time to be late for the Hunt. It starts at 11:00 AM and will be over within minutes, you’ll see…

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