Cathy Barrow in conversation with Nancy Pollard: When Pies Fly
Tuesday September 17 | 6:30PM - 7:30PM
Join us for a cookbook talk in support of Washington Post food writer Cathy Barrow's latest cookbook release When Pies Fly. Cathy will be in conversation with Nancy Pollard, former proprietor of La Cuisine in Alexandria and current writer of the food blog Kitchen Details, talking about recipes, techniques, ingredients, and more! The event will conclude with audience Q&A followed by a book signing. Your ticket includes a slice of pie!
About the author: Cathy Barrow is a food writer, cooking teacher and pie maker. Barrow writes the “BRING IT” column in the Washington Post’s Food section. She has written for the New York Times, Garden and Gun, The Local Palate, Modern Farmer, Saveur, Southern Living, NPR, and National Geographic, among others. Cathy lives near Washington, DC, with her husband Dennis and their two terriers. Her first cookbook, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry, won the prestigious IACP Award for best single-subject cookbook.
About the book: Following up on PIE SQUARED’s slab pies, food writer Cathy Barrow finds more ways to use pastry dough deliciously with crowd-pleasing (and easy to make) galettes and small tarts, as well as empanadas, strudels, and knishes. Barrow digs into a world of doughs for turnovers, fried pies, poppers, and Texas-by-way-of-Krakow kolaches, all offered in sweet and savory iterations.
Bad Romance Book Club: The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite and The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare
Friday September 20 | 7:00PM - 8:00PM
Join us for the September Bad Romance Book Club! We'll be discussing The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite and The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare.
Ticket price for this meeting includes one (signed!) copy of each August pick for 15% off the cover price. *If you would like to avoid the online ticket processing fee, please purchase your books in the store before the club meeting. Make sure you mention Bad Romance Book Club to your bookseller to get the club discount.
About The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics: As Lucy Muchelney watches her ex-lover’s sham of a wedding, she wishes herself anywhere else. It isn’t until she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth, looking for someone to translate a groundbreaking French astronomy text, that she knows where to go. Showing up at the Countess’ London home, she hoped to find a challenge, not a woman who takes her breath away.
About The Wallflower Wager: Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even. Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart. When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes. Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens? And a two-legged dog. And a foul-mouthed parrot. And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog… Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him. Not if he ruins her first.
Educators Night Out and Appreciation Week
Saturday September 21 | 7:00PM - 8:00PM
Join us for a special night of book recommendations, tasty treats, and special deals on books for educators - both for their bookshelves at home, and in the class room.
We're pleased to be kicking off a new discount program for teachers, where you'll get 10% off any intem in the shop when you show your school ID. And, during this special event, teachers get 20% off all night*, along with a special gift card to use next time!
We hope to see you there!
Banned Books Week Reading with Katherine E. Young
Monday September 23 | 7:00PM - 8:00PM
Celebrate banned books week with poet and translator Katherine E. Young, reading from her translation of Akram Aylisli's Farewell, Aylis.
Old Town Books is celebrating Banned Books Week, which highlights banned and challenged books around the world in order to raise awareness in the fight against censorship! Join us for a talk and reading with poet and translator Katherine E. Young. Katherine will be reading from her translation of Farewell, Aylis by Akram Aylisli, which has been banned and censored in its native Azerbaijan, yet has still become a political phenomenon there.
About Katherine E. Young: Poet and translator KATHERINE E. YOUNG served as the inaugural Poet Laureate of Arlington, Virginia, from 2016-2018. She is the author of Day of the Border Guards (University of Arkansas Miller Williams Prize Series, 2014), one of Split This Rock’s “eagerly anticipated” picks for 2014, one of Beltway Poetry‘s “Best Books of 2014,″ and an Honorable Mention for the North Carolina Poetry Society’s Brockman-Campbell Award and two chapbooks. Young’s poems and reviews have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, The Iowa Review, and many others.
About the book: The three novellas of Farewell, Aylis take place over decades of transition in a country that rather resembles modern-day Azerbaijan. In Yemen, a Soviet traveler takes an afternoon stroll and finds himself suspected of defecting to America. In Stone Dreams, an actor explores the limits of one man’s ability to live a moral life amid conditions of sociopolitical upheaval, ethnic cleansing, and petty professional intrigue. In A Fantastical Traffic Jam, those who serve the aging leader of a corrupt, oil-rich country scheme to stay alive.
In 2017 Katherine Young was named a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Translation Fellow for her project to translate the entire trilogy of Aylisli’s novellas. The trilogy was published by Academic Studies Press in 2018. Farewell, Aylis also includes a new essay by Akram Aylisli that reflects on the political firestorm surrounding his novellas and his current situation as a de facto prisoner of conscience in Azerbaijan that was commissioned especially for the Academic Studies Press edition.
Acoustics in Prose
Saturday September 28 | 7:30PM - 9:00PM
Join us for a free, 1.5 hour writing intensive!
In beautiful prose, the shapes and sounds of words form an experience. And each word, like a good citizen, helps its neighbors. “Porch,” for example, makes a colorless word such as “or” sound extraordinary. But if each sentence is selfish, caring only about its own beauty, then the larger passage risks sounding incoherent instead of incantatory. Elise Levine and Jeannie Vanasco will discuss the practical tactics of achieving good acoustics in prose, but will also explore when it’s important to let a flat sentence stay flat.
About the instructors:
Jeannie Vanasco is the author of the memoir The Glass Eye (Tin House Books, 2017). Her work has appeared in The Believer, TheNew York Times Modern Love column, Tin House, and elsewhere. She lives in Baltimore and is an assistant professor at Towson University. Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl (forthcoming, Tin House Books, October 2019) is her second book.
Elise Levine is the author of the story collection Driving Men Mad and the novel Requests and Dedications. She lives in Baltimore, and directs the MA in Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University.
Author Talk and Signing: Garrett M. Graff, The Only Plane in the Sky
Thursday October 03 | 7:00PM - 8:30PM
Join us for a free talk and book signing from author Garrett M. Graff in support of his new book The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11!
Garrett M. Graff, a magazine journalist and historian, has spent more than a dozen years covering politics, technology, and national security. He’s written for publications from Wired to The New York Times, and served as the editor of two of Washington’s most prestigious magazines, Washingtonian and POLITICO Magazine. His books include Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself—While the Rest of Us Die, The Threat Matrix: The FBI War in the Age of Global Terror and The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House.
About the book: Over the past eighteen years, monumental literature has been published about 9/11, from Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower, which traced the birth and rise of al-Qaeda, to The 9/11 Commission Report, the government’s definitive factual retrospective of the attacks. But one perspective has been missing up to this point—a 360-degree account of the day told through the voices of the people who experienced it.
Please note: Only books purchased at Old Town Books will be able to be signed; this helps keep our free literary and arts programming sustainable!
Old Town Book(s) Club: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Saturday October 05 | 10:00AM - 11:00AM
Join us for the October meeting of the Old Town Book(s) Club! We will be reading and discussing Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir.
About the book: Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy. Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die. Of course, some things are better left dead.
About Tamsyn Muir: TAMSYN MUIR is a horror, fantasy and sci-fi author whose short fiction has been nominated for the Nebula Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the World Fantasy Award and the Eugie Foster Memorial Award. A Kiwi, she has spent most of her life in Howick, New Zealand, with time living in Waiuku and central Wellington. She currently lives and works in Oxford, in the United Kingdom. Gideon the Ninth is her first novel.
Fiction Writing Workshop with Courtney Maum
Wednesday October 09 | 4:30PM - 6:00PM
Rut Busters: New ways to bring focus (and fun!) back to your writing
Join acclaimed novelist Courtney Maum for this 1.5 intesive and learn strategies for reinvigorating your work, finishing tough projects, and "finding the fun" in writing again. Bogged down by research? Afraid of starting over, or even just starting? Then this class is for you. Part craft lecture, part generative writing exercises, all motivational pep talk to get the work done, and enjoy the process.
Before and After the Book Deal. With that in mind, we'll wrap up class with a Q+A answering craft and business of writing questions ranging from How do I get an agent? to When do I know a story is finished and ready to submit?
Come prepared for some playful prompts and serious motivation - it's time to forget those writing ruts and remember why you started writing in the first place!
This class is open to all levels. Early bird tickets are on sale now and are first come, first served.
Courtney Maum in conversation with Angie Kim
Wednesday October 09 | 7:30PM - 8:30PM
Join us for a free book talk and signing, as Courtney Maum, author of Costalegre, is in conversation with Miracle Creek author Angie Kim, talking about her new novel, the writing process, and much more! The talk will conclude with audience Q&A and a signing.
About Courtney Maum: Courtney Maum is the author of the acclaimed novels TOUCH and I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN HERE WITHOUT YOU, which were both selected by such outlets as O Magazine, Time Magazine, The New York Times, Glamour, Marie Claire and others as one of the best books of summer. Her chapbook NOTES FROM MEXICO is part travelogue and part eulogy and is available here. Her short fiction, book reviews, and essays on the writing life have been widely published in outlets such as The New York Times, O Magazine, Tin House, Electric Literature, and Buzzfeed, and she has co-written films that have debuted at Sundance and won awards at Cannes. At various points in her life, she has been a trend forecaster, a fashion publicist, and a party promoter for Corona Extra. She currently works as a product namer for M·A·C cosmetics and other companies from her home in Litchfield County, CT, where she founded the learning collaborative, The Cabins which will take place again in the summer of 2020.
About Angie Kim: Angie Kim is the author of the national bestseller Miracle Creek (published this April by Farrar Straus and Giroux/Macmillan), a literary courtroom drama that has been named an IndieNext and LibraryReads pick, a Best Book of 2019 So Far by Time Magazine and Amazon, a Washington Post Summer Reads selection, and a Top 10 AppleBooks Debuts of the Year. Her writing has appeared in Vogue, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Salon, and Slate. She moved from Seoul, Korea, to Baltimore as a preteen, and attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and three sons. Miracle Creek is her debut novel.
True Story! Nonfiction Book Club: Murder by the Book by Claire Hartman
Saturday October 12 | 10:00AM - 11:00AM
True Story! is the nonfiction book club at Old Town Books. Join us for our October meeting, where we will be reading and discussing Murder by the Book: The Crime that Shocked Dickens' London by Claire Hartman. This conversation will be facilitated by Matt Gilson.
True Story is free and open to the public; RSVP is appreciated. Take 15% off your in-store purchase of Murder by the Book by mentioning the book club. While buying the book at OTB is not required to attend, we greatly appreciate it - it helps keep our free literary programming sustainable! About the book: From the acclaimed biographer–the fascinating, little-known story of a Victorian-era murder that rocked literary London, leading Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, and Queen Victoria herself to wonder: Can a novel kill?
In May 1840, Lord William Russell, well known in London’s highest social circles, was found with his throat cut. The brutal murder had the whole city talking. The police suspected Russell’s valet, Courvoisier, but the evidence was weak. The missing clue, it turned out, lay in the unlikeliest place: what Courvoisier had been reading. In the years just before the murder, new printing methods had made books cheap and abundant, the novel form was on the rise, and suddenly everyone was reading. The best-selling titles were the most sensational true-crime stories. Even Dickens and Thackeray, both at the beginning of their careers, fell under the spell of these tales–Dickens publicly admiring them, Thackeray rejecting them. One such phenomenon was William Harrison Ainsworth’s Jack Sheppard, the story of an unrepentant criminal who escaped the gallows time and again. When Lord William’s murderer finally confessed his guilt, he would cite this novel in his defense. Murder By the Book combines this thrilling true-crime story with an illuminating account of the rise of the novel form and the battle for its early soul among the most famous writers of the time. It is superbly researched, vividly written, and captivating from first to last.
About the Author: CLAIRE HARMAN is the author of Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart; Sylvia Townsend Warner, for which she won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize; biographies of Fanny Burney and Robert Louis Stevenson; and Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a frequent reviewer. She divides her time between New York City and Oxford, England.
Finding Time to Write with a Full Time Life with MoonLit
Thursday October 17 | 7:00PM - 9:00PM
“Take your time” is an endearing term, but how to find time can be a mystery. Many writers who have taken on a full time life with spouses, children, and/or careers are finding it difficult to fit writing into their busy schedules. “Full” implies that there is no room left, but just like you save enough space for the dessert that you’re craving, you can save enough space for the writings that you’re craving as well. If you’re a writer with no time write, but know that it’s time to write your heart’s desire, use your time wisely and join us for workshop that helps you find the time to “take” your time; because after all it belongs to you.
Tickets coming soon!
Bad Romance Book Club: Well Met by Jen Deluca
Friday October 18 | 7:00PM - 8:00PM
Join us for the October Bad Romance Book Club! We'll be discussing Well Met by Jen Deluca.
Ticket price for this meeting includes one copy of the October pick for 15% off the cover price.
*If you would like to avoid the online ticket processing fee, please purchase your book in the store before the club meeting. Make sure you mention Bad Romance Book Club to your bookseller to get the club discount.
About Well Met: All's faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author Jen DeLuca.
Member Sale Night!
Wednesday October 30 | 7:00PM - 8:00PM
We're lauching a membership program with special new perks and sales. Ask your bookseller about how to join!
Mesha Maren and M Randal O'Wain in conversation
Saturday November 02 | 6:30PM - 8:00PM
Maren and O'Wain will be in conversation about the craft of writing, working class representation in literature, and more. The conversation will conclude with a brief Q&A and book signing.
Please note, only copies of Sugar Run and Meander Belt: Family, Loss and Coming of Age in the American South purchased at Old Town Books will be available for signing - this helps us keep our free literary and arts programming sustainable!
Meander Belt: M. Randal O’Wain offers a reflection on how a working-class boy from Memphis, Tennessee, came to fall in love with language, reading, writing, and the larger world outside of the American South. This memoir examines what it means for the son of a carpenter to value mental rather than physical labor and what this does to his relationship with his family, whose livelihood and sensibility are decidedly blue collar. Straining the father-son bond further, O’Wain leaves home to find a life outside Memphis, roaming from place to place, finding odd jobs, and touring with his band. From memory and observation, O’Wain assembles a subtle and spare portrait of his roots, family, and ultimately discovers that his working-class upbringing is not so antithetical to the man he has become.
Writing to Wellness with MoonLit
Tuesday November 05 | 7:00PM - 9:00PM
In this discussion based workshop, we will explore the ways writers can use poetry as a tool for healing when navigating trauma.
Tickets coming soon!
It's Our One Year Anniversary!
Saturday November 23 | 10:00AM - 8:00PM
It's our bookstore birthday! Join us for cake, a free story time and sing-along, and special events all day.
Small Business Saturday
Saturday November 30 | 10:00AM - 8:00PM
Meet local authors, get special deals on Old Town Books' bestsellers, and help us celebrate small businesses in Alexandria!
Getting Your Personal Essay Published with MoonLit
Thursday December 05 | 7:00PM - 9:00PM
This is a fast and furious introduction to the publishing world, exploring what/where/when/why to submit your narrative essay! We'll look at examples of successful pitches, learn quick and easy revising techniques, and discuss what different types of publications are looking for.
Tickets coming soon!