Sunday, March 30, 2008

May 20: Jason Shinder Poetry Reading and Wally Lamb

We sadly note the passing in April of Jason Shinder, a gifted poet, gentle soul, and good friend, after a tenacious battle with cancer. For the May 20th event, we will read a few of his poems, and then turn the evening over to Wally Lamb.

Jason Shinder's most recent poetry books are Among Women and Arrow Breaking Apart. A recipient of 2007 poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, his poetry has appeared in the New Yorker, Paris Review, and elsewhere. His other books include Best American Movie Writing; Writers on Therapy, The Poem That Changed America; "Howl" Fifty Years Later, and the forthcoming The Poem I Turn To: Actors, Directors & other Moviemakers Present Poems That Inspire Them. He was the founder/director of the YMCA National Writer's Voice, YMCA Arts & Humanities, and the Gibson Music International Program, and taught in the graduate writing program at Bennington College. His work within the filmmaking community has included the directing of the Arts Writing Program at Sundance Institute.

Wally Lamb’s third novel, The Hour I First Believed (HarperCollins, forthcoming) explores chaos theory by interfacing several generations of a fictional Connecticut family with such nonfictional American events as the Civil War, Boston’s 1942 Coconut Grove nightclub fire, and the Columbine High School shootings of 1999. His first two novels, She’s Come Undone (Simon and Schuster/Pocket, 1992) and I Know This Much Is True (HarperCollins/ReganBooks, 1998), were # 1 New York Times bestsellers, New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and featured titles of Oprah’s Book Club. Wally has also edited the nonfiction anthologies Couldn’t Keep It to Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters (HarperCollins/ReganBooks, 2003) and I’ll Fly Away (HarperCollins, 2007), collections of autobiographical essays that evolved from a writing workshop Lamb facilitates at Connecticut’s York Correctional Institute, a maximum-security prison for women. He has served as a Connecticut Department of Corrections volunteer from 1999 to the present.

A Connecticut native, Wally holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in teaching from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing degree from Vermont College. He has taught at Norwich Free Academy and the University of Connecticut, where he directed the English Department’s creative writing program.

Wally has received a host of awards, including the Connecticut Center for the Book’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Distinguished Alumni awards from Vermont College and the University of Connecticut. He was the 1999 recipient of the New England Book Award for fiction. He and his wife, Christine, are the parents of three sons, Jared, Justin, and Teddy.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

April 29: Ann Hood and Dana Kinstler

Ann Hood is the author, most recently, of the novel The Knitting Circle and the forthcoming memoir, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Tin House, The Paris Review, Bon Appetit, Traveler, and many more publications. She has won two Pushcart Prizes, The Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction, and a Best American Spiritual Writing Award.

Dana Kinstler won the Southern Indiana Review’s fiction prize in 2007, and The Missouri Review Editor’s prize in 2000. Her fiction has been published in Salamander Review and the Mississippi Review. Her essays have appeared or are forthcoming in the Stella Magazine section of the Sunday London Telegraph, and in the anthologies: My Father Married Your Mother: Writers Talk about Stepparents, Stepchildren and Everyone in Between, Mr. Wrong, About Face, and Feed Me. She grew up in New York City and now lives in the Hudson River Valley, New York with her husband and two daughters.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ordinary Evening Schedule for Spring 2008

The Spring 2008 Ordinary Evening Reading Series continues, with an array of extra-ordinary writers reading on an ordinary Tuesday night at 7PM in the Mermaid Room at the Anchor Bar & Restaurant (272 College Street, New Haven). Join us on
January 22 for Joshua Beckman and Vivian Shipley
February 26 for Richard Deming and Nancy Kuhl
March 25 for Rachel Pastan and Jack Hitt
April 29 for Ann Hood and Dana Kinstler
May 20 for Jason Schinder and Wally Lamb

We'll see you there --

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ordinary Evening Reading Series Presents Nonfiction Writer Jack Hitt and Novelist Rachel Pastan, Tuesday March. 25, 7PM

Get an early taste of spring with fresh new works by award-winning journalist Jack Hitt and novelist Rachel Pastan on Tuesday, March 25, 7pm, at the Anchor Bar's Mermaid Room (downstairs), 272 College Street at Chapel.

"I guess most of us are condemned to see nothing more than the easy comedy of chickens. But Susan Vitucci saw something else: their potential greatness. Their hidden beauty. Their grandeur."
- from "Chicken Diva", about an opera based on Chicken Little, This American Life by Jack Hitt

"'She wants to nurse,' Jane said.
'Didn't you just nurse her?' Laura asked, handing the baby back.Jane felt a sting, as though Laura had criticized her. What did Laura, with her thin bra strap and her round recreational breasts know about anything?
'Her stomach is the size of a walnut,' she said lightly, lifting her shirt...She was glad to have Maisie back in her arms where she belonged. Nothing was sweeter than holding her daughter, except for all the times she longed to put her down."
- from Lady of the Snakes, by Rachel Pastan

Jack Hitt is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, and the public radio program, This American Life. Recently, his work was chosen by Jamaica Kincaid for inclusion in Best American Travel Essays and by Atul Gawande for Best American Science Writing. His radio program for This American Life entitled "Habeas Schmabeas" won the 2007 Peabody Award.
Harcourt published Rachel Pastan's second novel, Lady of the Snakes, in January. Her first novel, This Side of Married (Viking), appeared in 2004 and was recognized by the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers program. Rachel's short fiction has been published in The Georgia Review, The Threepenny Review, Mademoiselle, Prairie Schooner, and many other places. A former Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Fellow, she currently teaches at Swarthmore College and the Bennington Writing Seminars and lives with her family near Philadelphia. For more information, please visit her website:

Ordinary Evening's remaining Spring 2008 lineup features writers from the "Mr. Wrong" Anthology, Ann Hood and Dana Kinstler (4/29); and novelist Wally Lamb with poet Jason Shinder (5/20). Please join us! Read writers' biographies, find links, send us an email, and more at

Started in spring 2005, Ordinary Evening features writers in a monthly reading at the Anchor Bar Mermaid Room, downstairs. Borrowing its name from the poem "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven" by Wallace Stevens, the series aims to bring writers and audiences together in a no-fuss, informal environment in the Elm City to enjoy a little written word on a work-night. Readings are always on a Tuesday at 7pm, free of charge, both drinkers and teetotalers welcome.