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Lit News: Authors Offer Book Shopping Advice, Renegade Writers Tell Stories 

State of the Arts

Published November 27, 2013 at 1:23 p.m.

Rusty DeWees
  • Rusty DeWees

It’s not always easy shopping for books, especially when they’re gifts. But what if you could ask Rusty DeWees to point you toward something funny? What if you could get tips on the best new fiction from Howard Frank Mosher, or from acclaimed short-story writer Megan Mayhew Bergman?

This Saturday at a local independent bookstore, it could happen. Indies First, a national movement spearheaded by author Sherman Alexie, brings writers to retail stores on Small Business Saturday as volunteers, proffering their shopping recs and often, of course, signing copies of their own books. The idea is for authors to return some of the support that embattled indie stores have traditionally given them.

This year, five Vermont stores are listed as participating on You can see Mosher and DeWees at Phoenix Books Burlington, along with best-selling thriller author James Tabor, kids’-book writer and illustrator Tracey Campbell Pearson, poets Daniel Lusk and Angela Patten, and more. The store is making a full weekend of the event, so check to see when your favorite author is scheduled to show.

To meet Bergman, you’ll need to trek south to Manchester Center’s Northshire Bookstore. The Norwich Bookstore will host celebrated New Hampshire kids’ author Tomie dePaola (Strega Nona), Hanover’s Meg Lukens Noonan and mystery-scribe-turned-middle-grade-writer Sarah Stewart Taylor. At Woodstock’s the Yankee Bookshop, you can meet YA author Jo Knowles.

Montpelier’s Bear Pond Books has a strong roster of authors playing bookseller, too, including M.T. Anderson, the acclaimed author of Feed and other challenging YA books. (A Cambridge, Mass., resident, he’s on the board of the Vermont College of Fine Arts.) Look also for VCFA president (and novelist) Thomas Christopher Greene, Howard Norman, best-selling suspense writer Jennifer McMahon (who has a new novel coming in February) and more.

Get your book-buying conundrums ready.

Indies First: Saturday, November 30, at independent bookstores around the region. Phoenix Books Burlington author appearances continue on Sunday, December 1. Check store’s website for schedules.


Want to tell a story? Or perhaps just sit and hear one? Another public storytelling event inspired by public radio’s “The Moth” has fluttered into Vermont — this one at Burlington’s ArtsRiot Gallery, where it bears the more North Country-appropriate name Tales From the Bear Cave. Participants will tell their tales “orally, open mic style, without notes, and without props. Just you and your true story,” write the folks at Renegade Writers’ Collective, who will run the event. The best yarn spinner (as determined by the audience) gets a prize.

Tales From the Bear Cave: Tuesday, December 10, doors at 7:30 p.m., stories at 8 p.m. at ArtsRiot Café in Burlington. Free.


Burlington’s RWC has made its mark this fall with author events, workshops and monthly write-ins at its Maple Street HQ, which happen on first Fridays from 6 to 10 p.m. (“You can even come in your PJs [we might!],” the organizers suggest.)

On December 12, the renegades will host a panel sure to interest writers aiming to submit their fiction or nonfiction to literary journals. Among those taking questions will be Carolyn Kuebler, new editor of the New England Review; Neil Shepard, poet and founding editor of Green Mountains Review; and Angela Palm, a RWC cofounder and nonfiction editor of the Fiddleback.

Publishing Panel Q&A: Thursday, December 12, 6 p.m. at Renegade Writers’ Collective Headquarters, 47 Maple Street, Suite 220, in Burlington. Free.


Speaking of literary journals, here’s another one for your submission list: Earlier this month, Goddard College launched Clockhouse in partnership with the Clockhouse Writers’ Conference, a retreat for students in the college’s MFA in creative writing program. The annual journal features “short stories, interviews, essays, plays and poems by both award-winning writers and exciting, new literary voices,” according to the college’s press release.

The inaugural issue, available for $12 at, offers work by Cristina García (Dreaming in Cuban), Paul Lisicky, poet Dale Cottingham and others. On the journal’s website, you can read editor Julie Parent’s interview with playwright Susan Kim about running writing workshops for the Wounded Warrior Project, which supports veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The deadline to submit to the next issue of Clockhouse is December 15 — so get writing!

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About The Author

Margot Harrison

Margot Harrison

Margot Harrison is the Associate Editor at Seven Days; she coordinates literary and film coverage. In 2005, she won the John D. Donoghue award for arts criticism from the Vermont Press Association.


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