Local History/Local Novelists

Local History/Local Novelists 2013/14 Reading and Lecture Series

The Connecticut River Valley is rich in both novelists and history. Forbes Library is a place where novelists come to research and write alongside others interested in local history and literature. The Local History/Local Novelists series, now in its fourth year, invites the community to enjoy and join in the conversation between history and fiction that both engages and creates our changing cultures.

During the upcoming fall and spring, Forbes Library will be presenting a reading and lecture series exploring links between local history and contemporary novelists, to be held the first Wednesday of the month at 7 pm in the Coolidge Room, October through May. (April 9 is the exception to the first Wednesday rule. No event in March.) Curated by Forbes Writer in Residence Susan Stinson, the series will be kicked off by a reading/book launch for Spider in a Tree, Stinsonís novel about Northampton in the time of preacher Jonathan Edwards. It will be held off-site in the sanctuary of First Churches, which is a continuous congregation since Edwards preached there in the eighteenth century. The series also includes evenings inspired by the nineteenth century poet Emily Dickinson; the history of the Quabbin Reservoir; a new collection of historic local photographs; local journalists as fiction writers; and two celebrations of local novelists.

Some evenings will include a presentation about the historical topic by one or two knowledgeable speakers along with a contemporary writer reading from his or her own work. Many novelists will speak in the series, along with poets, nonfiction writers, librarians, journalists, and some whose work crosses genres. Participating novelists include novelists John Clayton, Marisa Labozzetta, Deborah Noyes, Maryanne O'Hara, Karen Osborn, Jacqueline Sheehan, Hilary Sloin, and Susan Stinson. The participating journalists and fiction writers are Andrew Adamek, Fred Contrada, Bob Flaherty, James Heflin, Diane Lederman and Mark Roessler. Other speakers include Forbes librarians Faith Kaufmann and Dylan Gaffney; non-fiction author J.R. Greene; poets Gail Thomas and Charles Coe; Kevin Quashie of Smith College, and Jane Wald, director of the Emily Dickinson Museum.

For more information, see www.forbeslibrary.org/.

Forbes Writer in Residence Susan Stinson is the author of three novels and a collection of poetry and lyric essays. Awarded the 2011 Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize from the Lambda Foundation, she is also a writing coach, freelance editor, and gives cemetery tours. SPIDER IN A TREE, her novel about Northampton in the time of 18th century Calvinist preacher Jonathan Edwards, will be published in October 2013. Her website is http://susanstinson.net/.

2013-2014  |  2012-2013  |  2011-2012  |  2010-2011

logo by Julieta Vasquez Mansilla

2013 - 2014

October 2 Spider in a Tree book launch
Susan Stinson
First Churches, 129 Main Street, Northampton
co-sponsored by Small Beer Press, Broadside Books and First Churches
November 6 Celebration of Local Novelists, Part 1
Marisa Labozzetta, novelist, Sometimes It Snows in America
Karen Osborn, novelist, Centerville
December 4Hampshire County Memories: Historic Local Photographs
Faith Kaufmann and Dylan Gaffney, Forbes Library Special Collections
January 8Journalists as Fiction Writers
Andrew Adamek
Fred Contrada
Bob Flaherty
James Heflin
Diane Lederman
Mark Roessler
March 5Quabbin
J.R. Greene, author, The creation of Quabbin Reservoir: The death of the Swift River Valley
Maryanne O'Hara, novelist, Cascade
Gail Thomas, poet, No Simple Wilderness: An Elegy for Swift River Valley
April 9
(2nd Wed.)
Emily Dickinson/Quiet
Charles Coe, author, All Sins Forgiven: Poems for My Parents
Kevin Quashie, author, The Sovereignty of Quiet: Beyond Resistance in Black Culture
Jane Wald, director, Emily Dickinson Museum
May 7Celebration of Local Novelists, Part 2
Deborah Noyes, novelist, Plague in the Mirror
Jacqueline Sheehan, novelist, Picture This
Hilary Sloin, novelist, Art on Fire

2012 - 2013

October 7
Sunday, 1pm
Jonathan Edwards Walking Tour of Bridge Street Cemetery.
Sally Maminash & Sylvester Graham. Forbes Writer in Residence Susan Stinson.
November 7 Henry James
Michael Gorra, author, Portrait of A Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece
Carole DeSanti, novelist, The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R.
Elise Bernier-Feeley, Hampshire Room for Local History and Special Collections, Forbes
December 5 The Common : Writers and Modern Sense of Place. Panel Discussion
Jennifer Acker, editor, The Common
Amity Gaige, novelist, The Folded World
Victoria Redel, novelist and poet, The Border of Truth, Woman Without Umbrella
Claire Messud, novelist, The Emperor's Children
January 2 James Baldwin
Ekwueme Michael Thelwell, Professor Emeritus,†Afro-American Studies, Literature and Writing,
University of Massachusetts. †Author, The Harder They Come
Lenelle Moïse; playwright, poet, and performance artist; Expatriate, Ache What Make
Mistinguette Smith, executive director, The Black/Land Project
February 6 Celebration of Local Novelists
Zane Kotker, White Rising
Joann Kobin, Woman Made of Sand
Corinne Demas, The Writing Circle
March 6 Three Houses
Lu Stone, local historian/author, A House. A Street. A City. The Story of 17 Summer.
Tzivia Gover, author, Learning in Mrs. Towne's House: A Teacher, Her Students, And the Woman who Inspired Them
lê thi diem thúy, novelist and performance artist, The Gangster We Are All Looking For
April 10 Jewish Writers, History and New England
Richard Michelson, Northampton Poet Laureate, Battles & Lullabies
Michael Hoberman, historian, New Israel New England
Jane Yolen, novelist and poet, Ekaterinoslav
May 1 Celebration of Local Novelists
Marianne Banks, Growing up Delicious
Michele Barker, A Difficult Boy
Suzanne Strempek Shea, Hoopi Shoopi Donna
Karen V. Williams, My Enemy's Tears: The Witch of Northampton

2011 - 2012

October 5 The Vietnam War*
Doug Anderson, poet and memoirist, THE MOON REFLECTED FIRE; KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN
Tom Weiner, CALLED TO SERVE: Stories of Men & Women Confronted by the Vietnam War Draft
lê thi diem thúy, novelist and performance artist, THE GANGSTER WE ARE ALL LOOKING FOR
*In conjunction with On the Same Page, Northampton reads The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
October 9 Sunday, 1pm: Jonathan Edwards Walking Tour of Bridge Street Cemetery.
Also featuring Sally Maminash and Sylvester Graham. With Forbes Writer in Residence Susan Stinson.
November 21 Sally Maminash
Marge Bruchac, scholar, performer, and historical consultant, author, MALIAN'S SONG
Neal Salisbury, professor emeritus, history, Smith College; co-author, THE PEOPLE: A HISTORY OF NATIVE AMERICA
Cheryl Savageau, poet; MOTHER/LAND and DIRT ROAD HOME
December 7 Ralph Waldo Emerson
F. Jay Deacon, minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester, NH
January 4 Grace Coolidge
Julie Bartlett, Archivist, Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library Museum, Hampshire Room for Local History, Forbes Library
Valija Evalds, Art History, Quinnipiac University, Grace Coolidge's Clothing
Rita Bleiman, author, DIRTY TRICKS
February 1 Celebration of Local Novelists
Jedediah Berry, author, THE MANUAL OF DETECTION
John Crowley, author, ÆGYPT and FOUR FREEDOMS
Ellen Meeropol, author, HOUSE ARREST
Sabina Murray, author, TALES OF THE NEW WORLD
March 7 Dominic Daley and James Halligan
James Cahillane, author, ON HISTORY'S FRONT STEPS
Eric Sawyer, composer, THE GARDEN OF MARTYRS (opera)
Michael White, author, THE GARDEN OF MARTYRS
May 2 Sylvester Graham
Stephen Nissenbaum, author, SEX, DIET & DEBILITY IN JACKSONIAN AMERICA: Sylvester Graham & Health Reform
Susan Stinson, Forbes Writer in Residence, author, VENUS OF CHALK

2010 - 2011

October 6 Jonathan Edwards
Kenneth Minkema, Jonathan Edwards Center and Online Archive, Yale
Elise Bernier-Feeley, Hampshire Room for Local History and Special Collections, Forbes
Susan Stinson, author of SPIDER IN A TREE
Plus, special event: Bridge Street Cemetery Tour
with Writer in Residence Susan Stinson: Sunday, October 3, 1 pm
November 3 Lydia Maria Child
Julie Bartlett, Archivist, Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library & Museum, Hampshire Room for Local History, Forbes
Patricia Holland, editor, The Collected Correspondence of Lydia Maria Child, 1817-1880
Pamela Thompson, author of EVERY PAST THING
December 1 David Ruggles
Steve Strimer, David Ruggles Center
Andrea Hairston, author of REDWOOD AND WILDFIRE
Jacqueline Sheehan, author of TRUTH
January 5 Celebration of Local Novelists: Part 1
Emily Arsenault, author of THE BROKEN TEAGLASS
Bob Flaherty, author of PUFF
Judith Frank, author of CRYBABY BUTCH
Dori Ostermiller, author of OUTSIDE THE ORDINARY WORLD
February 2 French Canadians in Western Massachusetts
Elise Bernier-Feeley, Hampshire Room for Local History, Forbes
Sally Bellerose, author of THE GIRLS CLUB
Ellen LaFleche, author of ESTELLA, WITH ONE LUNG
March 16 Brian Kiteley, author of THE RIVER GODS
April 13 Sylvia Plath
Cornelia Pearsall, Professor of English, Smith College
Karen Kukil, Associate Curator of Special Collections, Smith College
Nancy K. Pearson, author of TWO MINUTES OF LIGHT
May 4 Celebration of Local Novelists: Part 2
Anthony Giardina, author of RECENT HISTORY
Cathi Hanuaer, author of SWEET RUIN
Frederick Reiken, author of DAY FOR NIGHT