Malvern Books turned one last week—and what better excuse for a three-day-long bookstore blowout? We assembled a charming cast of readers, artists, and musicians (and cake, of course), and got our HAPPY BIRTHDAY on in fine style. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the store to celebrate with us… we truly appreciate your enthusiasm and support! And for those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a little recap of our birthday extravaganza…
On Friday night, we hosted a showcase featuring readings from the students enrolled in UT Austin’s New Writers Project (and Malvernite Taylor Jacob Pate, himself a New Writers’ MFA candidate, acted as the showcase MC). Writers (below, left to right) Austin Rodenbiker, Adam Ortman, Kate Kelly, Adam Edelman and Noah Weisz shared their work with us—and left us feeling confident that the future of literature is in very talented hands! You can check out footage from some of their readings below:
Saturday evening saw us welcome to our stage (below, left to right) W. Joe Hoppe (host of W. Joe’s Poetry Corner, and a gifted poet); writer and artist Richard Sober (whose artwork is still on display around the store for a couple more days… so hurry on in!); acclaimed classical guitarist Tony Morris; and poet and translator Kurt Heinzelman (who is also the man responsible for teaching Dr. Joe—Malvern’s curmudegon-in-chief and the evening’s MC—to love poetry!)
And on Sunday afternoon we rounded out our birthday celebrations with honky-tonk cabaret from TOPSY (band members Joy Beth, Brett Reeves, and Cephas Wozencraft pictured below left); a reading from historical anthropologist Dr. Fred McGhee (middle); and a screening of two short films from poet and film maker Richard Bailey (at right).
Today is our first birthday! Yes indeed, Malvern Books opened its doors a year ago today. (Remember when we used to look like this and like that? We’re much prettier now—and we’ve not missed that carpet AT ALL.) The past 365 days have whizzed by in a blur of paperbacks, folding chairs, bookmarks, and eye patches… let’s take a moment to share a few facts, figures, and thank yous from our first year of book-selling:
- We’ve sold books. Lots and lots of books. Assorted armchair economists have been predicting our demise since day one, and we’re chuffed to be proving them wrong. It seems that, despite all the doom-and-gloom reporting to the contrary, people still read books made of paper and visit bricks-and-mortar bookstores. After all, books smell so much nicer than screens, and visiting an indie store offers an experience that’s a little more engaging than buying with a click. So thank you, lovely book-buying people, for stopping by Malvern Books. We have loved meeting every single one of you, talking about poetry and prose and pirates with you, and sending you home with piles of books in your arms. Long may it continue!
- We’ve hosted a whopping eighty-nine events over the past year—and you can watch footage from many of them on our YouTube channel. We’re particularly proud to be the stage of choice for some brilliant reading series, including Everything is Bigger and W. Joe’s Poetry Corner (thanks to Tyler and W. Joe, respectively, for organizing such delightful monthly literary treats!), and the Lion & Pirate Open Mic events, hosted in association with VSA Texas and the Pen2Paper Creative Writing Contest (thanks to Laura and April for all their sterling Lion-y work!)
- We’ve published 178 blog posts and our website has had over 40,000 visitors. Our analytics suggest that while “malvern books austin” and “bookstores in austin” are the search terms that most commonly lead people to malvernbooks.com, a few intriguing souls have descended upon us after inquiring about “hungry squirrel salamander emergency” and “mince sex books” (we hope those visitors found what they were looking for).
- More than a thousand enthusiastic lit-fans have given us the thumbs-up on Facebook! Thank you, Likers! We like you too.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a birthday without a PARTY… and since we don’t like to do things by halves, why not an entire week of celebrations (and cake)? We really hope you’ll stop by for one or all of these excellent occasions:
- Tonight at 7pm we’re sharing our party with writer, jazz critic, and all-round Top Bloke Harvey Pekar, who would’ve turned seventy-five today. Come by for comix and cake with party MCs W. Joe Hoppe, Kathy McCarty, and David Thornberry.
- On Friday night we’re hosting a reading from UT Austin’s 1st year MFA students, who, like us, have been immersed in this literature business for the past year.
- On Saturday night we’ll have classical guitar from Tony Morris, along with readings from W. Joe Hoppe, Kurt Heinzelman, and Richard Sober (whose artwork will also be on display around the store).