Growing up in a small town in New Jersey and feeling she faced a certain kind of death by leaving the life she knew for the unknown territory of college, Wendy Wunder asked herself what it would be like to be dying at the age of eighteen. Now an author, parent, yoga teacher and city dweller, Wendy Wunder will start the new season of THE SOUTH END WRITES by reading from her debut novel, "The Probability of Miracles," in which she explores that very question. Written from the point of view of a sixteen-year-old who has been in and out of hospitals for years fighting a fatal illness, the story of Cam Cooper is a meditation on life and death for Young Adults (15 and up) with crossover appeal to the older set. THE SOUTH END WRITES is a program sponsored by the Friends of the South End Library (FOSEL) with the generous cooperation of the staff of the South End Branch. Previous readings have included South End luminaries like novelist Sue Miller, essayist Doug Bauer, poet Henry Cole, culinary writers Chris Kimball and Joanne Chang, filmmaker and screenwriter Alice Stone, and many others.
In addition to the January 17 reading by Wendy Wunder, the 2012 Spring Season will feature the following local writers:
JOHN SACCO, the Poet Laureate of the South End News's Police Blotter, who for decades reported on those flaunting the rule of law, at least such as it existed in the (much rowdier) South End at the time. Sacco's iconic and oft-repeated declaration, "The Scoundrel Was Arrested On The Spot," lives in the heart of many Area D4 police-blotter aficionados. Retired but much missed since 2000, Sacco will talk about his days as law-and-order scribe when he once cited a man for making love to his dog and was forced to research the law on bestiality then on the books. Tuesday, February 7, 6:30 PM.
SVEN BIRKETS, essayist and literary critic, editor of AGNI literary magazine, and director of Bennington (College's) Writing Seminars. Author of many books, literary reviews and articles, including a number on the impact of electronic media on the act of reading: Reading in a Digital Age (2010), and You Are What You Click (2010). While he does not exactly live in the South End (but in Arlington), he has important friends here... Tuesday March 6, 6:30 PM
CATHERINE WILLIS, who recently wrote a book on the history of the Boston Public Library, will talk about some of the things she discovered while researching the book, which is part of the Images of America series. Currently the Manager of Technical Services at the BPL, and the 2007 recipient of the New England Library Association's Award for Excellence in Library Technical Services, Ms. Willis can tell you, among other things, that the idea of the BPL was first proposed by French ventriloquist Alexandre Vattemare in 1841 and that the lions flanking the staircase in the BPL's McKim building precede those of the New York Public Library by 15 years. Tuesday, March 27, 6:30 PM
NANCY DEVILLE, an author who divides her time between Santa Monica, California, and the South End, previously wrote "Healthy, Sexy, Happy: A Thrilling Journey to the Ultimate You." She now has come out with "Death by Supermarket," a diatribe against the "fattening, dumbing down and poisoning of America." Fasten your seat belts for this reading on Tuesday, April 24, 6:30 PM.
This reading has been postponed since the author, who lives part-time in California, was unable to return to Boston in time. We hope to reschedule her reading for the 2012/2013 season.
EDITH PEARLMAN, 2011 nominee of the National Book Award for her collection of new and selected stories, Binocular Vision, and the 2011 winner of the Pen/Malamud Award. Even as the author of more than 250 works of fiction and non-fiction, she describes herself as slow: "A sentence often takes an hour to compose before I throw it out. What can I do?" Find out more about her dilemma on Tuesday, May 1, 6:30 PM
LEAH HAGER COHEN, who wrote among other novels, The Grief of Others and House Lights, teaches in the low-residency MFA program at lesley University. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review and considered one of the best novelists in America by some. Tuesday, May 15, 6:30 PM
CHRISTINE CHAMBERLAIN, a memoirist and biographer, will talk about how to turn your oral history, family history and any other history of interest to you and others into books that can be self-published. It can be the history of rowing, of first-generation families who want to preserve culture and customs for their children, or the history of institutions that don't yet have one written down. The former journalist and her husband will provide pointers on self-publishing and display samples of their work. Tuesday, May 22, 6:30 PM.
MARI PASSANANTI, a South End resident who practiced law until she began to write, will read from her first novel, The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken. It addresses the notion many women have that their lives will be perfect as soon as they meet the right guy. So you have to come and find out....Tuesday, June 19, 6:30 PM