Nov 122015

You don’t write because you want to say something… you write because you have something to say —F. Scott Fitzgerald

Salem LitSo many, many people have had such a great deal to “say” over the years that a regular gathering of writers and readers was inevitable to share and discuss those thoughts put to words. These gatherings are called Literary Festivals and Salem has its own taking place right now, Nov. 12-18.

Among the highlights of this year’s Salem Literary Festival will be guest lecturers Frank Bidart, Stacy Schiff and Brunonia Barry, plus a full day of activities for writers that features an open mic session, a scavenger hunt and playwriting advice from the creators of the critically acclaimed local mainstay Cry Innocent.Salem Lit Fest

11/12/15 – Frank Bidart
Kick off the festival at the Salem State Writer’s Series with a reading from poet Frank Bidart whose first books, Golden State and The Book of the Body, gained critical attention and praise. His reputation as a poet of uncompromising originality was made with The Sacrifice, published in 1983. The 2007 recipient of the Bollingen Prize for Poetry, he teaches English at Wellesley College.

(Time: 7:30pm at Salem State University, Martin Luther King Room, Ellison Campus Center. Admission is free of charge.)

11/13/15 – Stacy Schiff
Join Pulitzer Prize winning author Stacy Schiff for the keynote address and presentation of her new historical work, The Witches, Salem 1692 which she researched at Peabody Essex Museum’s Phillips Library. Schiff is the author of Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Exupéry, Pulitzer Prize finalist; A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, winner of the George Washington Book Prize. Named a 2011 Library Lion by the New York Public Library, she lives in New York City.

(Time: 7pm at Peabody Essex Museum, East India Marine Hall. Admission: PEM Members $7; nonmembers $10. Reservations must be made by November 12. For more info go to or call 978-542-1511.)

11/14/15 – A Day For Writers
Nestle into the beautiful Salem Athenaeum for the day. It will begin by bringing you prompt sessions to wake up your writer’s brain. Choose your guide from among fantastic local writers, such as Jaffa award-winning poet Danielle Jones-Pruett or Audrey Mardavich. Keep the creativity flowing with panels on writing adolescent characters for adults, YA, sci fi / fantasy, and poetry.

Learn how to start and run a literary magazine with The Critical Flame and Buck Off Magazine, and gain insights to the page-to-stage process of playwriting with Mark and Kristina Stevick, creators of the Salem theatrical institution, Cry Innocent.

Share your own work at the afternoon open mic, investigate Salem’s literary history and hidden gems as part of an ongoing scavenger hunt, and stay for a Movietelling Reading where fresh young poets will read their own versions of the script over such favorites as Disney’s Cinderella and Return to Oz.

(Time: 10am – 1pm and 2:30pm – 6pm at Salem Athenaeum. Admission is free of charge.)

Brunonia-Barry-RGB-273x30011/18/15, Brunonia Barry
End the Salem Literary Festival by attending the last of the “Seven Lectures at Seven Gables” series with New York Times bestselling author (The Lace Reader) Brunonia Barry who will lecture on her book, The Map of True Places. Set in Boston and Salem, this well-crafted novel has been described as immersive and beautifully written as it explores finding one’s true place in the world.

Barry was the first American author to win the International Women’s Fiction Festival’s Baccante Award and was a past recipient of Ragdale Artists’ Colony’s Strnad Invitational Fellowship as well as the winner of New England Book Festival’s award for Best Fiction.

(Time: 6pm at House of Seven Gables. Admission: House of the Seven Gables members are free; Non-Members pay $7. For more info email, or call 978-744-0991 ext. 104.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed – Ernest Hemingway

Come to the Salem Literary Festival where you will meet those who have achieved success as writers and mingle with those (such as yourself?) thirsting for that success.

Sep 082014

Poe in PersonWhile Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writings were well known to be tied to Salem, literary contemporary Edgar Allan Poe also had a connection. It appears that “A Tell-Tale Heart” might have been based on the grisly murder of Capt. Joseph White in 1830 Salem. And in the midst of our Haunted Halloween Happenings next month there will be interactive events fostered by The Scarlet Letter Press & Gallery  to honor Mr. Poe.

The first is “Spirits of the Dead” an art show “inspired” by Edgar Allan Poe. The store is seeking Poe-inspired artwork for a Sept. 27 – Nov. 2 gallery show. Deadline for submissions is Sept. 12th.

The gallery at The Scarlet Letter Press will be transformed into a somber state of decay as the worn pages of Edgar Allan Poe’s grim stories are represented in visual artwork. A month-long show featuring artists from around the United States will hang in honor of the late horror master. All artwork is for sale including original paintings, assemblage, jewelry, prints, candles, postcards and much more. The ensemble “1476” has written and produced an original score for the art show which will also be available for sale.

According to the Facebook page “We have accepted a lot of 2D artwork, but would love to see items that are 3D, i.e. jewelry, vintage items, books, clothing, etc.”

The Scarlet Letter Press is also participating in a national month of recognition to support the city of Boston’s installation of its life-sized Poe bronze on Oct. 5th. The Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston had sought to honor Poe in the city where he was born on January 19, 1809.
 The installation will be in Poe Square (intersection of Boylston Street and Charles Street South) which was dedicated to the author in 2009.

The store suggests you might absorb some inspiration from the sculpture by Stefanie Rocknak at

But to mis-quote the Raven– there is more. There will be an intimate, one-night only experience Oct. 18th from 7:30 – 9:30 pm at Finz restaurant, with the dearly departed Edgar Allan Poe who returns to Salem for an appearance that should not be missed. Amongst macabre music and exquisite morsels and your choice of tantalizing cocktails, Mr. Poe performs dramatic readings of “The Raven” and the earlier mentioned “A Tell-Tale Heart.”

He will also discuss his life and the lasting impact of his work with audience interaction. Each guest receives an exclusive item commemorating the experience. And—- period costumes are welcome!

Another guest speaker, Victoria Price had been planned for Oct. 20th, but details have not been finalized at this point in the schedule.

Tickets will most likely sell quickly, for more information on any of these events, contact The Scarlet Letter Press at 978 -741-1850.