Archive for April, 2012

Why is now the best time to join the NYC Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA-NYC)? Because new memberships received over the next few months will extend through August 2013! If that’s not enough of a reason, our Membership Chairperson, Rachel Weiss-Feldman, explains all the great benefits below:

If you are a writer, WNBA-NYC offers opportunities to read and get read! You can have your query letter reviewed by literary agents at our annual Query Roulette, entertain members and non-members alike with original prose at Open Mic Night (next one scheduled for May 23), or contribute to our monthly chapter newsletter or daily blog.

If you are a reader, the WNBA initiative, National Reading Group Month/Great Group Reads can introduce you to some of the best books and authors of the year!  National and local chapter events for NRGM are planned every Fall, featuring top authors such as Julie Otsuka, Scott Spencer, and Nayana Currimbhoy. Or get involved with Great Group Reads, an annual booklist selected by a members-only committee.

If you’re an industry professional (or trying to be), WNBA-NYC holds members-only networking functions and houses member profiles in a members-only database to help you connect to others. Our panel events—free for members—offer industry insight into the world of digital/e-publishing, marketing, production, bestselling fiction, and independent book sales, and more. Our social communities on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn offer networking opportunities, as well as promotions for your company, book, or project.

The WNBA-NYC Chapter’s annual year runs from September to August. Members may join all year round, but are up for renewal every August 31. Right now, however, a unique window for membership is open. Those that join between April and August have their membership extended to the following year—a result of up to four additional months!

Join now and take advantage of our upcoming events like The Historical Fiction Panel; Open Mic Night at KGB Bar; the downtown Indie Bookstore Crawl; and a neighborhood lunch at a local NYC restaurant. A full list of programs and events can be found on our website’s WNBA-NYC Program and Event Calendar.

If you’re a lover of books, writing, and publishing, you’ll love us as well! Go to the WNBA-NYC membership page for complete details and how to apply!

If you have questions or need further information, feel free to email Rachel Weiss-Feldman at membership@wnba-nyc.org


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The Moth is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the art of storytelling, and to showcasing the nation’s finest storytellers.  According to the website, The Moth, “is a celebration of both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it.”  Launched in 1997, the Moth hosts live storytelling events in several locations across the country, where storytellers present their tales live and without notes on the theme of the night to sold-out crowds. The stories are then shared through The Moth Radio Hour and The Moth Podcast to listeners who missed the live events.

The next Moth StorySLAM will be held on Thursday, April 19, at 7:30 PM.  The StorySLAM will take place at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe on Crosby Street.  The theme of the night is ‘Armor.’  To buy tickets or learn more about the event, visit The Moth website at themoth.org/events.

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With the April 20th deadline fast approaching, we hope all you members have been thinking of nominations for this year’s WNBA Award. We’ve mentioned some previous winners, and now we want to tell you about them!

Kathi Kamen Goldmark is an author, president of Don’t Quit Your Day Job Records, and a former teacher. She is perhaps most famous for founding and performing with The Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock band made of authors Mitch Albom, Amy Tan, Stephen King, and more. She won the WNBA Award in 2008. You can read more about her here.

Perri Klass is a pediatrician, writer, and professor. She is also the Medical Director of Reach Out and Read, which is a nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms across the nation. She won the WNBA Award in 2006. You can find out more information about her books here or read about her here.

Nancy Pearl is a former librarian and bookseller, and a current radio and television personality. She is well known for her book recommendations and speaks for her love of books across the country. She won the WNBA Award in 2004. You can read more about her here.

Remember, nomination forms can be downloaded here under the Members Only tab and emailed to nancy.stewart@ingramcontent.com.  Only members can fill out a nomination form, but anyone can be nominated – it doesn’t have to be a member!

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By Hannah Bennett

Today’s digital world revolves around sharing.  We have gotten hooked on passing along our favorite photos, status updates, videos, and memes. It should be no surprise, then, that the book community has found some innovative new ways to share books as well.  Around the city, the country, and even the globe, tiny communal libraries are popping up in unexpected places.  Those who built them have done so out of the desire to share the books they love with their communities.

In New York City, this phenomenon has blended book lending and urban betterment in a surprising way.  Architect John Locke created ‘phone booth libraries,’ which repurpose old, run-down phone booths into pop-up libraries.  Visitors to the phone booth libraries can take, give, or exchange books as they like.

A few states away, in Hudson, Wisconsin, Todd Bol created his own pop-up library.  He built a waterproof box, filled it with books, and called it the “Free Book Exchange.”  He put the little library outside of his house for his community to use, but soon word spread, and book lovers from all over began to reach out to him.  According to The Daily Nightly, “Today there are Little Free Libraries in at least 28 states and six countries including Ghana, Australia and Afghanistan. And people from more than a dozen other countries have expressed interest.”

Each little library that has sprung up is unique – made from whatever was on hand.  And around each little library, a community has grown.  With no fines, fees, or due dates, the pop-up libraries have one goal: to encourage reading and the sharing of books with anyone and everyone.

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Here’s a sneak peak of the upcoming New York Bookwoman! Roz Reisner writes about the enduring popularity of historical fiction and some of what you’ll see at the April 26th Historical Fiction Panel

By Roz Reisner

In case you haven’t noticed, our historical fiction panel, coming up on April 26th, is part of a literary trend that’s at full throttle this year.  Publishers Weekly recently called historical fiction “a nimble genre that works its way into all corners of the storytelling ecosystem.” If you don’t think there’s an interest in the past, just remember the excitement surrounding the new Downton Abbey series which was followed by a spate of books about the period, at least one of which made it to the Times’ bestseller list.  Many of the literary prize winners and shortlists this year have been dominated by historical fiction—just this past month, Julie Otsuka’s lovely novel about Japanese picture brides, The Buddha in the Attic (a 2011 Great Group Reads pick!), won the PEN/Faulkner Award.

So what’s the appeal of historical fiction for readers and writers? For readers, it’s the chance to learn history in an entertaining way, to gain insight into what life was like in another era, or to enjoy a new twist on familiar events or characters. I love the feeling of starting a novel and knowing that you’re in for an absorbing story. It’s like being taken on a trip where someone else is doing the work of packing, getting you to the airport, arranging the sightseeing, and providing a safe and satisfying return home. With historical fiction, there’s the extra bonus of time travel–you can’t get to that destination without the author’s imagination and research.

For writers, it’s the chance to re-write history, to give voice to people who didn’t make it into the history books, to imagine the interior life of a well-known person, or to satisfy a fascination with an era. I’m sure the authors at our panel—Carole DeSanti and Kathryn Harrison—will tell us why they chose France’s Second Empire and the final days of the Romanovs for their novels. I’ve been reading and enjoying both novels—Carole DeSanti’s The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R and Kathryn Harrison’s Enchantments—and I’m eager to hear about their process of imagining the characters and the setting. Since we’ll have an agent, editor, and reviewer on the panel as well, we’ll have a picture of what happens when that precious manuscript leaves the author’s hands and what it encounters as it makes its way to us.  RSVP to join us at 6pm on April 26th at the Wix Lounge for a lively evening of discussion, networking, and refreshments.

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The NYC chapter of the Women’s National Book Association will be hosting a panel this month entitled, “Historical Fiction: An Enduring Genre in a Changing Landscape.”

Thursday, April 26, 6:00PM – 8:00PM
Wix Lounge, 10 West 18th Street, 2nd Floor, NYC

Free admission for WNBA Members
Non-members ~ $10.00

Register Here!

The Red Tent, Cold Mountain, Girl with a Pearl Earring, and other successful historical novels set off a trend that’s apparent to anyone who follows current fiction. Historical novels are hot! And read by people who never thought they were interested in history. We’ll explore what historical fiction means to today’s readers and publishers, and we’ll examine what it’s like to be a player in this market – agent, author, editor, reviewer, or bookseller – what’s happening now, and what’s likely to happen down the road.


Carole DeSanti‘s The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 2012) is already receiving great reviews. Carole is also Vice President, Editor at Large at Viking Penguin, where she is well known as a champion of outstanding, original voices in women’s literature, including those of Dorothy Allison, Tracy Chevalier, and Melissa Banks. (Photo © Sigrid Estrada.)


Kathryn Harrison is the author of thirteen books, including the bestselling memoirs The Kiss and The Road to Santiago. Her historical novels include The Binding Chair, Poison, and The Seal Wife. Her latest novel, Enchantments (Random House, 2012) takes place during the final days of Russia’s Romanov Empire. She is also a frequent reviewer for The New York Times Book Review. (Photo ©J.Ravid.)


Barbara Hoffert is a fiction editor at Library Journal and the author of LJ’s long-running weekly Prepubs Alert column. She is a past-president of the National Book Critics Circle, for which she now serves as Awards Chair. In 2006, she won ALA-RUSA’s Louis Shores-Greenwood Publishing Group Award for excellence in reviewing. (Photo courtesy of Library Journal.)


Daniel Lazar is a senior agent at the Writers House literary agency. He represents a wide variety of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, but he especially loves historical fiction of all kinds. Some recent and forthcoming books include NYT bestseller Juliet by Anne Fortier, The Bells by Richard Harvell, Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran, and The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O’Melveney.


Heather Lazare joined Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, as a senior editor in 2011 after six years working at the Crown Publishing Group. Prior to that, she was with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. Heather acquires historical fiction, upmarket women’s fiction (book club books), narrative nonfiction, humor, pop culture and memoir. (Photo courtesy of HNS Conference 2012.)


Moderated by Rosalind Reisner, WNBA-NYC member and author of Read On…Life Stories, a readers’ guide to the memoir genre, and the award-winning reference book Jewish American Literature: A Guide to Reading Interests. Rosalind is a former librarian; she speaks about books and reading and blogs at www.areadersplace.net.


This event is being held at Wix Lounge, a free co-working and event space sponsored by Wix.com. Launched in 2008, Wix.com is a free online platform that allows users to create their own Flash website, Apple-compatible mobile sites, and customized Facebook pages.

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The International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG) is hosting their 63rd Annual Big Apple Conference on Saturday and Sunday, April 14-15, 2012, at the National Arts Club in NYC.  Founded in 1976, the International Women’s Writing Guild is a “network for the personal and professional empowerment of women through writing.”  Whether you are an established author or an aspiring writer, the Big Apple Conference offers unique opportunities for honing your craft.  The weekend agenda includes workshops and panels on writing, and a session for authors to pitch their ideas to agents. Scheduled speakers, event information, and registration fees can be found at http://www.iwwg.org/63rd-big-apple-conference.

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