Concord, Massachusetts

Two weeks of talks, readings, and discussions celebrating the written and the spoken word.

Events - 2008

Opening Night — An Evening with Roy Blount Jr.

Opening Night speaker Roy Blount Jr. riffs on words and their meanings. His latest book is Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof: Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences; With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory.

WHO: Roy Blount Jr.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 15 at 7:30pm

WHERE: Upstairs at The Umbrella

Emerson: Transcendentalism and Education

Lecture by Robert Richardson — The Puritan understanding of education was that there is something radically wrong with us at birth which proper religious education can help make right. The modern idea of education leans more and more toward training a work force for a demanding economy. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, Elizabeth Peabody, and Henry Thoreau shared a concept of education which emphasized individual development and cultivation — including especially self-cultivation — of that which is naturally right about us from the beginning. We need more of their kind of education. This event is sponsored by the Wright Tavern Center. For Information: (978) 369-9602 or

WHO: Robert Richardson

WHEN: Thursday, October 16 at 7:00pm

WHERE: Kerem Shalom

A Celebration of Harriet Tubman

Poet and children's book author Carole Boston Weatherford will present an interactive song, percussion, and choral reading of her Caldecott Honor book Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom.

WHO: Carole Boston Weatherford

WHEN: Friday, October 17 at 6:00pm

WHERE: Pollard Library

William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism

Robert Richardson's lecture will introduce the audience to the world of William James, philosopher, psychologist, brother of Henry James, the novelist, to his extraordinary family, and, above all, to his writings in philosophy and psychology, which are as alive and influential and important now as they were a hundred years ago. This event is sponsored by the Wright Tavern Center. For Information: (978) 369-9602 or


WHEN: Friday, October 17 at 6:00pm

WHERE: Concord Free Public Library

The Virtuous Virtuoso: Keyboard Works from the Musical Notebooks of Jane Austen

Jane Austen excelled as an amateur keyboard player. In her novels, the piano is often featured as a site of provocative interaction between men and women. Elizabeth Morgan presents a conversational program of piano pieces from Austen's collection of notebooks and sheet music. Introducing each piece, Morgan tells the audience about the composer and recounts scenes from Austen's novels in which the piano is featured.

WHO: Elizabeth Morgan

WHEN: Sunday, October 19 at 3:00pm

WHERE: Concord Free Public Library

Julia Glass Reading

Julia Glass will read from and talk about her latest novel, I See You Everywhere.

WHO: Julia Glass

WHEN: Sunday, October 19 at 3:00pm

WHERE: Concord Bookshop

A Tribute to William Stafford

The Concord Poetry Center presents a reading from William Stafford's Another World Instead. "I stand and dream another world instead" wrote William Stafford in 1942 when he was serving in the Civilian Public Service program for conscientious objectors. He was a younger poet getting started in the same years that he was taking his first public stand against war. The recently published Another World Instead: The Early Poems of William Stafford, 1937-1942, edited by Fred Marchant and published by Graywolf Press, presents over 150 poems from that era, most of them never before published. For information: Several Boston-area writers, including Joan Houlihan and Fred Marchant, will read poems from the book and related work of their own.

WHO: Fred Marchant, Joan Houlihan

WHEN: Sunday, October 19 at 3:00pm

WHERE: Upstairs at The Umbrella

A Cross-Cultural Love Story

As an American graduate student in Australia, Christina Thompson traveled on holiday to New Zealand, where she met and fell in love with a Maori man. She tells the story of their unlikely marriage as well as the history of the complex and bloody period of contact between Europeans and Maoris in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

WHO: Christina Thompson

WHEN: Monday, October 20 at 7:30pm

WHERE: Fowler Library

Urban Natural History

In an event co-sponsored by the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust, John Hanson Mitchell, author of The Paradise of All These Parts: A Natural History of Boston, uses the history of Boston's "Shawmut Peninsula" to explore the themes of time and place and the endurance of nature in urban settings such as Lowell.

WHO: John Hanson Mitchell

WHEN: Tuesday, October 21 at 7:00pm

WHERE: Pollard Library

Walden Woods Project Presents Illustrating Thoreau: A Photographer’s Story

Photographer Scot Miller will discuss his experiences illustrating two classic works by Henry David Thoreau: Walden and Cape Cod. He will also talk about the rich history his publisher, Houghton Mifflin, has had with Thoreau for over a hundred fifty years and the profound influence Thoreau's writings have had on his photography and life. Miller's presentation will include a screening of "Illustrating Thoreau's Cape Cod: A Photographer's Story," a video documenting his experiences photographing the outer Cape for Cape Cod: Illustrated Edition of the American Classic, from beautiful sunrises and sunsets to blistering cold winter storms and everything in between.

WHO: Scot Miller

WHEN: Wednesday, October 22 at 7:30pm

WHERE: Walden Woods Project’s Thoreau Institute

How Fiction Works

James Wood, staff writer and book reviewer at The New Yorker, talks about his philosophy of the novel, answering such questions as What makes a story a story? What is style? What's the connection between realism and real life?

WHO: James Wood

WHEN: Thursday, October 23 at 7:30pm

WHERE: Concord Free Public Library

The Friendship of Emily Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Brenda Wineapple re-creates the extraordinary, delicate connection between these two wildly dissimilar personalities.

WHO: Brenda Wineapple

WHEN: Friday, October 24 at 7:30pm

WHERE: Concord Museum

The Ruth Ratner Miller Award (Tickets: Adults $15, Students $5)

The annual Ruth Ratner Miller Award for Excellence in American History will be presented by the Friends of the Concord Free Public Library to David Hackett Fischer, Brandeis professor of history and author of Albion's Seed, Paul Revere's Ride, and Washington's Crossing. A book signing and reception will follow the program. Tickets are available at the Concord Library, 129 Main Street, and the Concord Bookshop, 65 Main Street.

WHO: David Hackett Fischer

WHEN: Saturday, October 25 at 7:30pm

WHERE: Trinitarian Congregational Church

New Literary Voices

Three first novelists discuss and read from their debut works.

WHO: Amy MacKinnon, Margaret Cezair-Thompson, Peter Clenott - Jim Leahy, Moderator

WHEN: Sunday, October 26 at 3:00pm

WHERE: Fowler Library

The WPA’s Federal Theatre Project

Susan Quinn will discuss her new book Furious Improvisation: How the WPA and a Cast of Thousands Made High Art Out of Desperate Times.

WHO: Susan Quinn

WHEN: Tuesday, October 28 at 7:30pm

WHERE: Concord Museum

An Evening with Andre Dubus III

Author of the #1 bestseller House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III will read from and discuss The Garden of Last Days, his new, big-hearted, painful, page-turning novel about sex and parenthood and honor and masculinity.

WHO: Andre Dubus III

WHEN: Wednesday, October 29 at 7:30pm

WHERE: Comley-Lane Theater, Mahoney Hall, UMass Lowell

The Thoreau Farm Trust presents Wild Apples

The Thoreau Farm Trust hosts the fall launch of Wild Apples, a new journal of nature, art, and inquiry. Taking its title and mission from Thoreau's 1862 essay, "Wild Apples," this 48-page color journal brings together poetry and prose with the work of visual artists and photographers who are connected by the common threads of care for the environment, engagement in social concerns, and an abiding commitment to the arts and the way they shape our world. The four editors, poets Susan Edwards Richmond and Sophie Wadsworth, artist and writer Kathryn Liebowitz, and artist and poet Linda Hoffman, will read from the new issue along with contributors John Hansen Mitchell, editor of Sanctuary Magazine, and essay writer Terry House.

WHO: The Editors of Wild Apples

WHEN: Thursday, October 30 at 7:00pm

WHERE: Concord Art Association

We May Be On to Something Here (Science Fiction in the 21st Century)

A panel discussion.

WHO: Jeffrey A. Carver, Craig Shaw Gardner, Chris Howard, Matthew Jarpe, Alexander Jablokov

WHEN: Thursday, October 30 at 7:30pm

WHERE: Alumni Lounge, UMass Lowell

Bloody Marys and a Bite with Dracula (Tickets $10)

Join Leslie Klinger, editor of The New Annotated Dracula, for a Halloween afternoon celebration. Traveling through two-hundred years of popular culture, myth, graveyards, and the wilds of Transylvania, Klinger mines Bram Stoker's 1897 classic for nuggets that will surprise the most die-hard Dracula fan and introduce the vampire-prince to new a new generation of readers. Admission includes hors d'oeuvres and a Bloody Mary — or beverage of choice. Cash bar. For reservations call 978-369-3807.

WHO: Leslie S. Klinger

WHEN: Friday, October 31 at 3:00pm

WHERE: Walden Grille

Literary Thriller Night

Three writers of literary thrillers discuss and read from their latest novels.

WHO: Benjamin Markovits, Francie Lin, Askold Melnyczuk - Kate Flora, Moderator

WHEN: Friday, October 31 at 7:30pm

WHERE: Concord Free Public Library

Breakfast with the Authors (Tickets $20)

Three authors discuss and read from their latest novels. Tickets $20, available at Concord Bookshop and Barrow Bookstore.

WHO: Jennifer Haigh, Elizabeth Strout, David Daniel - Suzanne Koven, Moderator

WHEN: Saturday, November 01 at 8:00am

WHERE: Concord’s Colonial Inn

A Bear Family Party

Celebrate Paddington's 50th birthday and Corduroy's 40th birthday at a free family party. Crafts, games, refreshments, and a "Bears in Books Scavenger Hunt" through downtown Concord.


WHEN: Saturday, November 01 at 2-4:00pm

WHERE: Concord Scout House

The Poets of Finishing Line Press

The Concord Poetry Center presents Charles W. Pratt, winner of the 2008 Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Competition. Pratt will read from his winning chapbook, Still Here, and will be joined by 10 other CPC members who have published with the press. For information:

WHO: Charles W. Pratt, Bob Brooks, Polly Brown, Helen Marie Casey, Julia Lisella, Maura MacNeil, Gary Metras, Kathy Nilsson, Suzanne Owens, Susan Edwards Richmond, bg Thurston

WHEN: Sunday, November 02 at 3:00pm

WHERE: Upstairs at The Umbrella

Sex Meets Addiction

Susan Cheever will discuss her new book Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction.

WHO: Susan Cheever

WHEN: Sunday, November 02 at 3:00pm

WHERE: Concord Bookshop

Thoreau’s Cape Cod

The Thoreau Farm Trust presents Dan Tobyne, whose brilliant color photography brings vividly to life a new edition of Thoreau's Cape Cod. Tobyne recounts how he "walked the walk" — retracing Thoreau's steps to find what can still be seen of Thoreau's Cape Cod and shares images that are matched to corresponding passages from Thoreau's prose.

WHO: Dan Tobyne

WHEN: Sunday, November 02 at 3:00pm

WHERE: Concord Art Association