Last Saturday night we welcomed a talented trio of writers to the Malvern stage to celebrate the launch of a wonderful Old Green novel. First up was author Susan Schorn, who read from a thriller-in-progress. Susan is a self-defense instructor, black belt, and memoirist—and she also writes “Bitchslap,” a kick-ass McSweeney’s column about women and fighting.
Next we heard from Paige Britt. Earlier this year Paige released a children’s book, The Lost Track of Time, but on this occasion she was introducing us all to a lyrical, philosophical postapocalyptic sci-fi romance set 4000 years in the future, aka the evening’s laudable launch, Old Green World by Jason Craft.
And then we welcomed the man of the hour, Jason Craft / Walter Basho. In case you’re a little confused, Basho is the pseudonym Craft chose when he first self-published Old Green World, as there is already a Jason Craft writing sci-fi; however, he has since decided to use his own name—and explore his options vis-à-vis traditional publishing—so capturing this appearance from “Mr. Basho” was quite possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Jason/Walter very kindly encouraged the audience to purchase some of the lovely titles on our shelves, and then treated us to a little more from Old Green World…
We decided to get July off to a well-rounded start by spending an evening with the multi-talented poet and visual artist David Thornberry. Observant Malvernites may remember spying his art on our walls; this time around we were celebrating the launch of his new poetry collection, Climb Down, every copy of which has a hand-painted, original cover featuring David’s artwork. Watch the second video below for an explanation of the book’s title (at around the 12-minute mark); it’s a wonderful metaphor taken from a rather terrifying mountain climbing incident.
Joining David on our stage was another Malvern fave, W. Joe Hoppe, host of the Poetry Corner reading series (returning in the Fall). On this occasion, W. Joe was sharing some of his own work, including a fantastic poem about Michael Collins, who piloted the Apollo 11 command module alone (“he circled like a film noir taxi / keeping the motor running for the getaway”), while crew members Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin gallivanted on the moon for the better part of a day.
Check out the footage below to enjoy some brilliant poetry—and then come to our Novel Night on Thursday to round out your literary calendar with some smashing prose!
Last Friday night we were thrilled to host the inaugural event in our I Scream Social series. Hosted by our very own Annar and Schandra, I Scream Social is a warm and welcoming summer reading series that celebrates young women poets—and ice cream! Check out the footage below from our first-ever Scream… and if you agree that audacious poetry and delicious desserts make for a winning combination, be sure to come along to the next sweet Social on Friday, July 24th. (Also worth noting: each Social features an open mic section, so all young women poets are encouraged to bring along some verse to share. It doesn’t matter if it’s silly or serious, polished or in-progress… we’ll reward you with ice cream regardless!)
Our first reader was Alana Torrez, a “former spy” turned poet extraordinaire.
Next up was Shelby Newsom, who’s entering her second year in the MFA program at Texas State, and who is very much Team Mint Chocolate Chip (me too!)
And our third featured reader was award-winning Ohioan poet Maggie Ilersich, who bravely confessed to a love of home improvement television.
The final portion of the evening was the open mic—hearty thanks to Allyssa Milan (first video) and Allyson Whipple (second) for sharing their wonderful work with us!
This past weekend saw two of our favorite regular series return to the Malvern stage. First up, on Saturday night the lovely folks from VSA Texas (The State Organization on Arts and Disability) and the Pen2Paper Creative Writing Contest (a project of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities) joined us for another round of The Lion & The Pirate Unplugged, an open mic for writers and musicians of all ages and abilities. Performers included some familiar faces, such as Milton Sullivan, Nicole Cortichiato, Shaniqua Esparza, and KK Marshall, as well as some bold new acts, including Carolyn Cornell, Kamand Alaghehband, and Richard Allen White, who had celebrated his birthday the day before (many happy returns!)
Let April and Laura introduce you to all things Lion and Pirate below, and then click on the Playlist, top left of the video, to watch the performers strut their stuff.
And on Sunday afternoon we welcomed a second batch of talented performers, this time from Austin Writers Roulette, a community of writers, lyricists, and poets who write short works based on monthly themes. June’s theme was “Train Wreck Adventures”… check out the readings below (again, the Playlist link will let you see more of the videos), and then keep an eye on the AWR website for July’s theme so you can join the Rouletters!
Here’s wishing you a very happy National German Chocolate Cake Day, book fiends! Let’s honor this joyous occasion by recalling something equally sweet: a sunny Sunday afternoon spent in the company of talented poets Sandra Storey and Frank Pool (pictured at right). We were celebrating the recent release of Every State Has Its Own Light, Sandra’s first full-length collection and a finalist for the May Swenson Poetry Award. Sandra was visiting us all the way from Boston, and many of her Texas-based family members came out to support her. Sandra was joined on our stage by Austin local Frank, who has recently returned to writing poetry—and we’re very glad he’s back. Thanks to both Sandra and Frank for such a delicious day of verse!
Check out footage from their readings below… and if you like to balance your poetry with a little prose, why not come by the store tonight for Novel Night? We’re very generously offering a sweet-as-cake 20% OFF ALL FICTION TITLES from 6pm till closing!
Last Thursday we hosted the fifth edition of our Novel Night reading series, a monthly celebration of all things prose. Check out the footage below and take a look at the photos we posted on our Facebook page.
Our first reader was Gary Hobbs, who introduced us to his debut novel, Access to Capital, a page-turner that gives you a glimpse into the faltering and frantic financial world of the 1980s.
Richard Kendrick read from Déjà Vu, described by Rick Russo as “a rare book that combines modernist formal experimentation with excellent post-modernist content and prose.” The novel tells the story of Alden Homer and Blake Whitman, two very different adventurers whose paths cross as they explore Asia.
And last but not least, Malvernite Schandra hosted the Book Talk segment, in which a member of staff introduces the audience to one of their favorite titles on our shelves. Schandra discussed Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” the classic tale of rat-race-rejection—which we happen to stock in a very stylish Melville House edition that comes complete with online access to a recipe for ginger nuts!