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Writers read aloud - 2013 Chestnut Hill Book Festival

Philadelphia Stories

Above: Olin and Shirley Gentry

Philadelphia Stories Presents: Local Literary Voices was one of three events hosted by Philadelphia Stories at the Chestnut Hill Book Festival on Sunday September 22, 2013. Philadelphia Stories is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a community of “writers, artists and readers” in the Delaware Valley through literary magazines, events such as the Book Festival readings and educational programs. At the Chestnut Hill fest, Philadelphia Stories local authors talked about and read from their works. Unfortunately your correspondent’s video phone battery died before the program finished and he failed to capture the beautiful funny reading by Hal Sirowitz and readings from the open mic portion of the program. So Sorry! See Bios of authors below

A video of the readings can be seen here.

  A slideshow of photos of the festival can be seen here

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Untitled Daniel Torday, appearing at the Chestnut Hill Book Festival reads from his novel to be published by St Martin's Press in 2015. Forming part of the novel about the narrator's uncle , a Hungarian Jew who flew on bombing missions for the Royal Air Force during WW II is his recently published, award-winning novella, "The Sensualist." Watch video here.

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200 Years of Latino History in Philadelphia

Sabrina Vourvoulias, editor of 200 Years of Latino History in Philadelphia by the staff of Al Dia newspaper talks about the book. Watch video here.
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These are the short bios of the presenting writers appearing on the Philadelphia Stories website. http://www.philadelphiastories.org/chestnut-hill-book-festival-workshops-kids-reading

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Maya at Astronomy Night

Piping down the valleys wild

Awbury Arboretum on Friday night, April 26,2013 was one of many venues set up throughout the city for stargazing as part of the 10 day Philadelphia Science Festival. A few dozen or so people showed  up at the Arboretum in Germantown. Teenager  Maya Anderson came to just hang out with her family and, as a choir student at Settlement Music School,  sang impromptu from some of her repertoire.    Katie Virtue, a meteorologist and volunteer with the Franklin Institute was on hand to guide visitors to the celestial sights. Some astronomy enthusiasts brought powerful telescopes and lines formed at these for viewing the four moons of Jupiter on this clear, cool spring night.  Video story here. And here is Maya "Piping down the valleys wild" from Songs of Innocence by William Blake.


Secrets of Prolific Writers

Secrets of the Prolific

In her book, “The 7 Secrets of the Prolific, the definitive guide to overcoming procrastination, perfectionism and writers bloc,” Hillary Rettig offers many insights and tips for authors and others on how to become successful. It’s not laziness or lack of discipline that keeps people from moving forward, Rettig says, but dis-empowerment, meaning they have temporarily lost access to their skills and strengths including their capacity to write. Perfectionism is the biggest constraint according to Rettig. She says that perfectionists set impossible standards and then punish themselves when they don’t achieve them. Along with offering insights into the barriers that writers face, Rettig offers strategies in line with her philosophy of “compassionate objectivity” like managing one’s relationship with one’s writing. One technique is doing timed writing exercises and giving oneself little rewards upon completion, whether it be a good stretch or a little treat and appreciating what she or he has done by engaging in the process. Rettig, who also authored “The Lifelong Activist” has practiced her philosophy and techniques in her own writing . She gives workshops on perfectionism and time management online and in other places. Her books are available through Amazon and other retailers or through her website, www.hillaryrettig.com where she offers free information and useful articles. Watch video interview here.


Why Thoreau went to the woods

walden pond

On a walk around Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts we stopped at the site where Thoreau had built his cabin. I asked another tourist if she might not read aloud the quote from Thoreau carved on a sign. "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." Watch video here.

I went to the woods because..." Thoreau at Walden


Nana's Wicker Back

IMG_4353

Nancy-Ellen sculpted characters from her book “Nana’s Wicker Back.” The title references the scarring pattern on her own grandmother’s back from whippings as a slave. “These women are bought and sold [many were bore] into slavery who were regarded as mules or just property. Yet I wanted to depict that they had spirits, they had souls, they fell in love, they cried and some were very overt in personality some were very quiet and timid. And I never know what I’m going to make. As I start pushing clay, they start telling me who they are.” Nancy-Ellen. Watch video interview here


Gypsy jazz writer skirmishes

Canary sings

Sherry Canary, of the musical group “Hot Club Canaries” takes DJango Reinhardt songs and puts lyrics to them. And she writes her own songs in the gypsy jazz idiom. She does a lot of collaborating as a member of an Internet group FAWM February Album Writing month., http://fawm.org Members compose 14 songs in 28 days and listen and comment on each other’s work. Participants include all kinds of composers from housewives to professionals. Canary also participates in “skirmishes” - writers have only one hour to write the music, the lyrics, produce it and get it online. Watch video interview and singing here. In another video, Canary sings her composition satirizing the world's dictators, "Coffee with Gadaffi." The Hot Club Canaries perform at the Mermaid Inn on Thursday May 10, 2012


Readers are leaders: Chestnut Hill Book Festival 2011

Readers are leaders

Somewhere I saw, a long time ago, a button or bumper sticker that said "Readers are Leaders" And I think that's really true- that people who read find out details about the world and have things to talk about. And it's much more effective to be in the world with other humans when you have things to talk about.

We have a rule in our household that if there's a book that's been turned into a movie, you have to read the book first- the Harry Potter movies... there's been a lot of kids books that they've taken and changed around and made them into movies and it's been pretty funny. Because they change them! But I always insist that my kids read the books first. Of course we have to do that ourselves, mind our own rules. So my husband and I had to read "The Lord of the Rings" when that coming out as a movie a while back. We had to read them again. I had read them in high school It was actually work!

Being at this book festival, people are walking by and they're talking about books which is so much fun. And there were some women here earlier at my table and they were talking about kids books that were turned into movies, "The Hunger Games" and how excited they are about that. And we started talking about the books that we love, as adults but they also might be kids books. And then we started talking about the books that are narrated, that are read on tape or CD. And one of the leader-readers, it's so obvious, is Barack Obama, You know he got a grammy award for reading his own book aloud?.. That poor guy has such a job!

Laura Richlin, Chestnut Hill Book Festival 

Watch video interview here.


Spider bit her on the cheek and...

photo

As she slept, a young woman was bitten on the cheek by a spider. But it wasn't a spider and if it was, it wasn't any ordinary bite. It became inflamed and, alarmed, she went to the emergency room. The doctor, too, was alarmed. An x-ray revealed that whatever bit her had laid eggs and they were beginning to hatch and work their way out through her skin. Or so it was according to a story retold with convincing feigned veracity by Linda Lee, a folkore PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania who was giving a talk on urban legends at the Chestnut Hill library. Watch video here.


Student cuts school to hear author

Sherman Alexie fans

Tim Wood and Kate Stover picked up their daughter Lydia during school to come and see a talk by author Sherman Alexie, whose works Lydia has been reading in school.Lydia likes how Alexie makes the narrator sound like a teenage boy in the "Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian." Mom likes how Alexie gives a window onto the experience of Indians on a reservation. Dad was entertained by hearing Alexie on the radio and thought it would be fun to see him.Chestnut Hill Library, Philadelphia, PA.

Video interview here