The Arlington Author Salon takes place quarterly the first week of July, October, January, and April, with some exceptions to circumvent holidays.
Next Salon: Thursday, January 10, 2019, 7:30 pm
“A Short Story Suite”
Where: Kickstand Café, 594 Mass Ave in Arlington Center, MA.
Just off the Minuteman bike path and steps from Spy Pond.
Accessible via the #77 bus. Some parking available in front of the café, and ample parking in the two town lots across the street.
Ben Berman’s first book, Strange Borderlands, chronicled his time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zimbabwe and won the 2014 Peace Corps Award for Best Book of Poetry and was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Awards. His second book of poems, Figuring in the Figure, turned its attention to the bewildering and transformative experiences of parenthood and his new collection of short prose, Then Again, is recently out from Vine Leaves Press. He writes a regular column for GrubStreet about Writing While Parenting, and teaches in the Boston area, where he lives with his wife and daughters.
The interrelated short prose pieces in Ben Berman’s Then Again explore a life outside of chronological order, bounce back and forth between foreign adventures and domestic routines. One moment we’re in a Mommy and Me yoga class, the next we’re gutting a goat in rural Zimbabwe. As much a meditation on language as a coming to terms with middle age, these stories navigate the distance between words and worlds. And yet whether getting chased by wild dogs through the alleyways of Kathmandu or desperately trying to stop his three-year-old from drawing all over the walls, Berman contemplates life’s ambiguities with both wisdom and wonder.
Virginia Pye is the author of the recently published short story collection, Shelf Life of Happiness, as well as two award-winning novels, Dreams of the Red Phoenix and River of Dust. Her stories and essays have appeared in Literary Hub, The New York Times, The Rumpus, The North American Review, The Baltimore Review, Tampa Review, and elsewhere. She moved to Cambridge a few years ago with her husband, John Ravenal, who is the director of the deCordova Museum. Virginia occasionally teaches at Grub Street and loves attending Boston’s myriad literary events!
In these bittersweet, compelling stories, Virginia Pye’s characters in Shelf Life of Happiness long for that most-elusive of states: happiness. A young skateboarder reaches across an awesome gap to reconnect with his disapproving father; an elderly painter executes one final, violent gesture to memorialize his work; a newly married writer battles the urge to implode his happy marriage; and a confused young man falls for his best friend’s bride and finally learns to love. In each case, Pye’s characters aim to be better people as they strive for happiness–and some even reap the sweet reward of achieving it.
Dariel Suarez is the Cuban-born author of the novel The Playwright’s House (forthcoming, Red Hen Press) and the story collection A Kind of Solitude (Willow Springs Books), winner of the 2017 Spokane Prize For Short Fiction. He is an inaugural City of Boston Artist Fellow and the Director of Core Programs and Faculty at GrubStreet. His prose has appeared in numerous publications, including The Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, and Third Coast. Dariel currently resides in the Boston area with his wife and daughter.
Set in Cuba, largely after the fall of the Soviet Union, these eleven stories explore themes of isolation and preservation in the face of widespread poverty and sociopolitical oppression. From a chronically ill santero refusing medical care to a female-fronted heavy-metal band risking it all to emerge from Havana’s underground, Dariel Suarez, in his daring debut, portrays the harsh reality, inherent humor, and resilient heart of a people whose stories should be known.
Books will be available for sale at the event via The Book Rack.
Visit our Featured Authors page to learn more about past readers.
(Save the date for the following Salon: Thursday, April 4, 2019, and sign up to be notified of future events.)