From F. Scott Fitzgerald to Nathanael West, Joan Didion to Raymond Chandler, many writers have been inspired by Los Angeles. In this installment of City Guides, Carolyn Kellogg, staff writer at the Los Angeles Times and Jacket Copy blogger, visits her favorite haunts made famous by writers of both past and present.
The city of Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalists has produced many prominent writers in its past, but it is also a city whose literary history is still in the making. Ifeanyi Menkiti, who was born in Onitsha, Nigeria, and moved to Massachusetts eventually becoming owner of the nation’s oldest poetry bookstore, tours the vast literary landscape of the greater Boston area.
Preparations are underway for the seventeenth National Arts and Humanities Month, a country-wide smorgasbord of public events, open houses, and media coverage coordinated each October by the nonprofit advocacy group Americans for the Arts.
The 2010 Dodge Poetry Festival will be held after all. Seven months after Dodge Foundation CEO David Grant announced the suspension of the popular biennial event, citing shrinking assets and increasing venue costs, the New York Times reports that the organization is on track to secure a new hosting partner by September.
Plans are underway in Lowell, Massachusetts for the seventh annual Jack Kerouac 5K Road Race, a 3.1-mile run through the city where the eponymous Beat writer was born and eventually buried. Proceeds from the event, scheduled for Sunday, September 27, will fund the Jack Kerouac Scholarship, awarded each year to a graduate of Lowell High School, the author’s alma mater.
Editors at the independent poetry press Wave Books recently announced that they will host a three-day poetry event in Seattle at the University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery. Slated to run from August 14 to 16, the festival will feature readings, film screenings, exhibitions, discounts on poetry books at fourteen local bookstores, and, according to the organizer’s Web site, wild blackberry picking.
Tennesseans are preparing to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of poet, writer, and critic James Agee. The Knoxville-born author is the subject of an upcoming art exhibition at the Nashville Public Library, and will also be feted with a three-day festival at the Knox County Library.
David Grant, president and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, announced this week that he will step down by June 2010. Grant has helmed the New Jersey-based philanthropic organization—best known as the sponsor of the Dodge Poetry Festival—since 1998.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will serve as honorary chairs of the National Book Festival on September 26, continuing the annual event launched by former first lady Laura Bush in 2001.
Contemporary literature lovers invaded ten beer-soaked bars scattered throughout Manhattan’s Lower East Side and East Village as part of the second annual Lit Crawl NYC—a two-hour bar hop serving up an eclectic taste of the New York City literary scene.