If you live in a big city or a college town, finding author readings and literary events is not difficult. Any school with a creative writing program or English department will most likely host at least a few literary events every semester. For instance, The New School in NYC, where I recently received my MFA, has a great reading series and I am sure most schools with MFA programs have similar opportunities. These days there are colleges with MFA programs spread across the world (and if you factor in regular English departments, that's an even greater number of options). So check out your local college or university for more info. Local libraries and independent bookstores are also a great resource for finding readings or author talks.
I can't speak much about literary events outside of NYC since this is the area I know best, but for those New Yorkers out there, let me share a few events/resources that I have found to be useful.
- One best-kept-secret that I'll share with fellow New York writers are the Gotham Writers' Workshop free workshops in NYC. You can find a listing of these free events here. These aren't exactly "readings" but more like 1hr lessons on craft, but they're fun and they're free!
- For those who love YA literature, check out the Teen Author Readings and the Teen Author Festival. It features great writers of teen literature and is also fun and free!
- Every fall, the Brooklyn Book Festival includes tons of great author readings.
- Another great resource are literary magazines. *Warning, shameless plug here* Some of you have heard me mention Verbal Pyrotechnics in the past (BTW, we're open for submissions). This is a literary e-zine I'm involved with that is dedicated to teen literature, and it hosts readings in NYC. If there's a literary magazine based near you, check and see if they host readings as well. This could be a great way to connect with local authors.
- One resource that I really love is Poets.org where you can find poems and bios of several poets as well as some audio recordings of the poets reading their work.
- Podcasts and webinars are other ways that you can hear writer's speak (like the SheWrites radio link I shared yesterday).
- And let's not forget This American Life, which isn't exactly an author reading, but often features authors and columnists and always tells great stories.
Today's Task: Let your fingers do the walking and look up a reading or literary event you would like to attend. Mark it in your calendar and plan to go. Now tell me, because I'm dying to know, what event did you choose and why?