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Of Stars and Hurricanes, Words and Moths

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Upcoming HoCoPoLitSo Events

  • Wilde Readings - Featured Abdul Ali and Ned Tillman and Open Mic November 12, 2019 at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Columbia Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia, MD 21045, USA Join our featured authors, Abdul Ali and Ned Tillman, for an evening of wonderful poetry and stories. We will also have an open mic and refreshments, and we welcome all new voices.
  • HoCoPoLitSo Staff Meeting December 6, 2019 at 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044, USA
  • Wilde Readings - Jona Colson and Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka and Open Mic December 10, 2019 at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Columbia Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia, MD 21045, USA Monthly reading series typically on second Tuesdays from September through June each year. Format is two featured readers and open mic sessions. ---------- Join us for our 4th annual holiday reading with poets Jona Colson and Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka. Hosted by Laura Shovan. Jona Colson’s first poetry collection, Said Through Glass, won the Jean Feldman…

Upcoming Regional Literary Events

  • Red Emma's - Innosanto Nagara presents "M is for Movement" November 12, 2019 at 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, 1225 Cathedral St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA N.B. This event will start early at 6PM to better accommodate kids and parents!Innosanto Nagara, the author and illustrator behind A is For Activist, is coming to Red Emma's to present his latest project, M is For Movement, a middle grade (8-12) book about how social transformation from below happens, told through the eyes of…
  • HoCo Library - Writing Workshop with Zack Smedley November 12, 2019 at 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Howard County Library System - Savage Branch, 9525 Durness Ln, Laurel, MD 20723, USA Writing Workshop with Zack SmedleyDate: Tuesday, November 05, 2019Time: 6:30 PM - 7:30 PMBranch: SavageDescription:Ages 14 & up. Just in time for National Novel Writing Month, author Zack Smedley talks about the writing process for his breakthrough young adult novel Deposing Nathan. A member of the LGBT community, Smedley gives a voice to marginalized young…
  • Writers and Words - featuring Jessica Gregg, Rajani Gudlavalleti, Deleicea Greene, & Vonetta Young November 12, 2019 at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Charmington's, 2601 N Howard St, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA Writers and Words is a Baltimore reading series. Four writers are featured each month, one in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and the genre-defying “wild card” category which in the past has included a playwright, a scientist, and a children’s book author (and everything in between). Readings are on the second Tuesday of each month, at 7pm…

Like the moths that flit thickly around their outdoor lights in rural Virginia, the words must fly around Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown’s house on the campus of Sweet Briar College. Because not only Carrie and John are writers, but so is their daughter Molly McCully Brown.

Family lore holds that a tiny Molly used to wake in the middle of the night and call for her mother or father because a poem was waiting and she couldn’t yet write well enough to capture it. And she had two parental examples of how to live an adult life: Catch those words swooping around and write them down.

Molly’s first book of poetry won the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky Prize, and starting in September, she’ll work as the inaugural Jeff Baskins Fellow at the Oxford American magazine.

John Gregory and Carrie Brown are returning to Columbia, the town where their family story started, for a reading to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of this town. The pair of novelists met while working at the storied Columbia Flier, and then began their family and their careers as authors.

They’ll read together at an event June 4 at Slayton House that HoCoPoLitSo is calling “Of Stars and Hurricanes: Two Columbia Novelists Return.” Carrie Brown’s newest novel, The Stargazer’s Sister, centers on the life of eighteenth-century astronomer Caroline Herschel, while John Gregory Brown’s 2016 book A Thousand Miles from Nowhere follows a man fleeing the wreckage of his life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Both authors’ main characters, while living in different centuries and countries, seek redemption, for a way to save themselves.

In her opening chapter, Carrie Brown writes that Caroline thinks “a girl was not taught anything that could save her in the larger world.” Desperate to escape an abusive mother and repressive poverty, Caroline is rescued by her elder brother, William Herschel, an astronomer who, with Caroline’s help, discovers Uranus and myriad comets. Carrie explains that the relationship of the siblings – in which Caroline so closely cares for her brother that she sometimes feeds him bits of bread and cheese while he keeps both hands and his eyes on the telescopes he manufactures – was “fertile material” for a novel.

The Boston Globe writes, “Carrie Brown takes up the real life saga of the Herschels and breathes fresh life into it in her lyrical and riveting new novel … .”

“Historical fiction fills in the spaces where history is silent,” Carrie explained at a recent reading in Baltimore. Carrie tells the Herschels’ story, massaging it into the arc of fiction, to “tell the other truth of their story.”

John Gregory Brown’s fiction is based in history – the horrible story of Hurricane Katrina – but is invented whole cloth. A former New Orleans professor loses his way, buys a store that becomes a gathering spot and exchange depot, then flees north ahead of the hurricane winds. “I am a wrecked ship,” the protagonist says in the novel. He winds up at a rural Virginia hotel owned by an East Indian widow, then discovers a community willing to lend him aid and an epic poem that might save his soul. The Boston Globe calls his book “…a tale of redemption that is both believably prosaic and incredibly, quietly moving … .”

The two novelists will read together and answer questions at this event, which also honors Ellen Conroy Kennedy, the founder and longtime executive director of HoCoPoLitSo, and her husband and longtime supporter and board member of HoCoPoLitSo, for their decades of contributions to Columbia’s cultural life.

For tickets, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2725249.

For more information about Carrie Brown, visit http://authorcarriebrown.com/

For more information about John Gregory Brown, visit http://jgb.blog.sbc.edu/about/

For more information about Molly McCully Brown, visit https://mollymccullybrown.com/

— Susan Thornton Hobby
Recording secretary

 

 

 


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