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Events Calendar

Dinner with an Author with Robin Black

Our popular “Dinner with an Author” is back! Join us for dinner and a conversation with author Robin Black about her novel Life Drawing, her new book, and about the writing life.

DATE: Wednesday, June 15
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
LOCATION: Park Plates Restaurant, Elkins Park, PA

Robin Black

Robin Black

Dinner with an Author will take place in the private dining room of Park Plates Restaurant. Our guest of honor will be author Robin Black, who will join us for dinner and a discussion of her novel Life Drawing. She will also tell us about her new book Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing And Life Collide and about the writing life in general. During the discussion, we will enjoy a delicious 3-course meal from Park Plates. The menu is described below.
All guests are asked to read Life Drawing in advance so they can fully participate in the discussion. Attendance is limited to 14 guests.  Park Plates is BYOB.

COST:
Dinner: $60
Dinner plus one book: $75
Dinner plus two books: $90
Note: Attendees may select Robin’s novel, Life Drawing, which we will be discussing at the dinner. Attendees may also select Robin’s newest book, Crash Course: Essays from Where Writing and Life Collide. Or they may select both.

SIGN UP HERE

ABOUT LIFE DRAWING

life drawing paperAugusta Edelman, Gus to her friends, is a painter, a wife, and not always the best judge of her own choices—one of which was bad enough that Gus and her husband, Owen, have fled their longtime city home and its reminders of troubling events. Now, three years into their secluded country life, Gus works daily on the marriage she nearly lost, discovers new inspiration for her art, and contemplates the mysteries of a childhood tragedy. But this quiet, healing rhythm is forever shattered one hot July day, when a stranger moves into the abandoned house next door, and crosses more boundaries than just those between their lands. This debut novel is a fierce, honest, and moving portrait of a woman grappling with her fate.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robin Black’s story collection, If I loved you, I would tell you this, was a finalist for the

Crash Course

Crash Course

Frank O’Connor International Story Prize, and named a Best Book of 2010 by numerous publications.  Her novel, Life Drawing, was longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the Impac Dublin Literature Prize, and the Folio Prize. Her newest book is Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing And Life Collide. Robin lives in Philadelphia with her husband, and will begin teaching in the Rutgers-Camden MFA Program, Fall 2016.

THE MENU
First Course
Watercress and arugula salad with toasted pistachios, Manchego and a sherry vinaigrette
or
Anchovy hummus with zatar toasts

Main Course
Yogurt batter-fried chicken with honey curry glaze, feta orzo and fennel slaw Yogurt battered chicken
or
Rosemary salmon and Kalamata olive butter with roasted garlic, chickpea hash and warm watercress salad

Dessert Course
Cinnamon donuts with raspberry cream

*Vegetarian, gluten-free, and options for other dietary restrictions are available upon request

Sign up HERE.

NOTE: All tickets are non-refundable.

Literary Mindfulness Readers Retreat

zen rocksDATES: Sunday, June 5 to Tuesday, June 7, 2016
LOCATION: The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Stockbridge, MA

kripalu.sq

Join us on a journey to Kripalu, a yoga retreat in the beautiful Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts. We will have three days and two nights of inspiration and rejuvenation as we exercise our bodies (yoga, kayaking, hiking, dance) and our minds in book discussions led by Lynn Rosen throughout the visit.

What We’ll Do There
On this trip, we will combine the pleasures of sharing and discussing literature with the physical and spiritual rewards of yoga and physical activity. And in between all our various activities, some with the group and some solo, we will feast on the delicious organic cuisine for which Kripalu is famous, and enjoy lush scenery: the lake, rolling hills and leafy green forests of the Berkshires.

Books and Yoga: Mind and Body
Yoga is a practice that incorporates body, mind, and spirit. Reading is a cerebral and intellectual practice, yet it also incorporates spiritual and emotional components. As to how it affects the body, surely you have read a book that has made you cry, or sent chills down your spine, or even made you jump for joy. And as we surely know, books can affect us in profound ways and sometimes change the course of our lives.

Reading Ahead
During the retreat, we will focus on the theme “States of Being.” We will begin by discussing a book octopusthat participants will read ahead of time: The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. In this book, naturalist Sy Montgomery gets to know the octopus, a creature that, though it is invertebrate, has a brain, a personality and an array of amazing abilities. Montgomery brings us into a wondrous watery world where we learn to see things differently. (A copy of this book is included in your activity fee.)

Reading On-Site
At the event, Lynn will provide an additional selection of short readings on the same theme of consciousness and States of Being. Each reading will be integrated into enriching group discussions. We’ll look at excerpts from the works of a range of authors.

Agenda
The daily agenda is included below.

Cost
The cost for this trip is payable in two parts. Part one is an activity fee of $250, payable through Open Book (see “How to Register” below). Part two is for room & board, the cost of which varies depending on the accommodations you select (see “Book Your Housing” below).

How to Register
You will register for the program by paying the activity fee through Open Book.
To sign up click HERE.

Book Your Housing
The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health is housed in a former seminary and provides clean and simple accommodations. It offers a wide variety of levels of housing, both private and shared, ranging from about $150 per person for a dorm room with a shared bath to about $600 per person for a private room with a private bath and a lakeside view, and everything in between!

Once you have registered and paid your activity fee, call the main Kripalu reservations number: 866-200-5203. You will speak directly with a Kripalu representative, who will explain the options and guide you to the choice that is right for you. I have arranged for a group discount, so when you book your rooms you must tell the representative that you are part of the Open Book program on June 5 to 7.

Rooms must be reserved on or before May 22nd and all reservations are final and non-refundable as of that date.

Getting to Kripalu
Participants will need to provide their own transportation to Kripalu in Stockbridge, MA (the trip is just over four hours). I will be happy to connect attendees who wish to carpool.

AGENDA
Note: Kripalu has a full schedule of ongoing activities. This is the “R&R” program. We will have our own private Kripalu agenda which will at certain times enable you to partake of R&R activities. Our private sessions are noted in bold below.

6/5   Sunday

1:30pm             Arrival
2:00-3:30        Open R&R Session
4:15-6:15          Kripalu Yoga Classes (class times vary)
4:00                  Check -in
5:30-7:00        Dinner (Reserved table in dining hall for group)
7:00-7:30        Orientation with Guest Services
7:30-9:00        PRIVATE SESSION: Gentle Yoga Class

6/6 Monday

6:30-8:00        Kripalu Yoga Classes (class times vary)
7:00–8:30       Breakfast
9:00-10:30      PRIVATE SESSION: Literary Mindfulness
10:45-11:45      PRIVATE SESSION: Guided Hike
11:45-1:30        Lunch
12:00-1:00      Kripalu YogaDance or Vigorous Vinyasa Class
1:30–2:30       PRIVATE SESSION:
                         Literary Mindfulness Book Conversation
2:45-3:45        PRIVATE SESSION: Moving Mediation
4:15-6:15         Kripalu Yoga Classes (class times vary)
5:30-7:00        Dinner
7:30-8:30        Open R&R Session: Evening Event

6/7   Tuesday

6:30-8:00        Kripalu Yoga Classes (class times vary)
7:00–8:30       Breakfast
9:00-10:30      PRIVATE SESSION: Literary Mindfulness
10:45-11:45      PRIVATE SESSION: Kayaking (tentative)
12:00                Check out of Rooms
12:00-1:30       Lunch
12:00-1:00      Kripalu YogaDance or Vigorous Vinyasa Class
1:30-2:30        OPEN BOOK PRIVATE SESSION: Literary Mindfulness
                         Book Conversation and Closing Session
2:30pm            Departure

To sign up click HERE.

With questions please contact Lynn Rosen at lynn@lynnrosen.com or 215-360-5382.

NOTE: All tickets are non-refundable.

Dinner with a Book à la française: Julia Child’s MY LIFE IN FRANCE

julia child.1DATE: Wednesday, May 25
TIME: 7PM – 9PM
PLACE: Spring Mill Café, 164 Barren Hill Road, Conshohocken, PA 19428
COST:
Dinner + discussion: $65
Dinner + discussion + a copy of the book: $85
Sign up HERE.

As Julia Child said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” Come join some of the best people as we convene at French restaurant Spring Mill Café for a conversation with Lynn Rosen about Julia Child’s memoir My Life in Francemy life in france USE THIS ONE and a dinner that will be très délicieux!

Julia Child went to France for the first time in 1948 with her husband Paul. There she discovered a love of all things French, particularly the cuisine. Much study, practice, and hard work went into her acquisition of her cooking mastery. Along the way, she and Paul (who were also a great love story) traveled through France, met a range of fascinating folk, and experienced life in post-war Europe.

My Life in France is a lively and loving remembrance of Child’s time in France. It is full of the zestful personality for which the world came to know Julia Child. And even more, it is the inspiring story of a woman who discovered what she was meant to do in life–and then did it!

Sign up HERE.

MENU
Soupe Parmentier
or
Salade Verte 

Choice of Entrée
Steak Frites
or
Trout Almandine
or
Julia’s Roast Chicken

Le Dessert
Mousse au Chocolat
or
Sorbet with Macaroons

spring mill cafe

 NOTE: All tickets are non-refundable.

Hot Off the Press Spring 2016

In thhot off pressis lively monthly book discussion class led by Lynn Rosen, participants read and discuss new literary fiction. Class conversations include a thorough and thoughtful analysis of the book as well as background information provided by Lynn about the author and the book’s path to publication. We talk serious book talk, but have a lot of laughs too!

Class will take place monthly on Tuesday evenings from 7pm to 8:30pm

Dates: April 5, May 3, May 31 ,June 28

Location: The Open Book Bookstore at 7900 High School Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027

Cost: $105

To sign up click HERE.

Class members also  receive discounts if they purchase their class books from the Open Book Bookstore.

Here are the book selections:

April 5

forty rooms.sqForty Rooms by Olga Grushin
Deals with issues of women’s identity and women’s choices with a unique literary conceit: it proposes that a modern woman will inhabit forty rooms in her lifetime. They form her biography, from childhood to death.

May 3
Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly PrentissTuesday nights.sq
Follows a critic, an artist, and a desirous, determined young woman as they find their way—and ultimately collide—amid the ever-evolving New York City art scene of the 1980’s.

May 31
The versions of us.sq
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
In one moment, two lives will be changed forever… and forever… and forever. A tale of possibilities and consequences rings across the shifting decades, from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and on to the present, showing how even small choices can define the course of our lives.

June 28
Sweetbitter by Stephanie DanlerSweetbitter.sq
A debut about a year in the life of a young woman is set in the wild, alluring world of a famous downtown New York restaurant. This is a story about discovery, enchantment, and the power of what remains after disillusionment.

To sign up click HERE.

NOTE: All tickets are non-refundable.

The Genre Mix ‘n’ Match Class for Writers

GenresOpen Book presents a new series of writing classes offering you the opportunity to try your hand at writing in a variety of genres. It’s a genre smorgasbord!

Need help jumpstarting that novel? We’ve got a class for that! Have you ever wondered if you have a poet in you? Try a poetry class! Memoir? Give it a shot!

This is a great chance to exercise your writerly muscles with some innovative and stimulating writing instruction. Each class is taught by an expert in the genre. You can try something you’re already working on, or something new, and try one, or try a few.

Class will meet at the Open Book Bookstore in Elkins Park. Classes take place either on Sunday afternoons from 3:15pm to 5:15pm or on Monday evenings from 7pm to 9pm. Details and specific class descriptions are below.

COST: Classes cost $30 each. Sign up HERE.
Bonus: Those who sign up for 4 classes receive an Open Book Bookstore gift card worth $20. Limited time offer.
Note: all purchases are final and non-refundable.

CLASS DATES, DESCRIPTIONS AND INSTRUCTORS

DATE: Monday Jan 11
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
TOPIC:
Mystery vs. Thriller: Which one are you writing and why does it matter?
INSTRUCTOR: Jon McGoran

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
There are plenty of similarities between mysteries and thrillers, and sometimes plenty of overlap. But there are important differences as well, including some outright contradictions. Jon McGoran will help you determine which genre is best for you by looking at some of the critical differences between these two closely related categories. He’ll teach you ways to incorporate elements of each into the other without making your mystery less mysterious or your thriller less thrilling.

TEACHER BIO:

Jon McGoran

Jon McGoran

Jon McGoran is the author of six novels, including the biotech thrillers Drift and Deadout, as well as their forthcoming sequel, Dust Up (April 2016), all from Tor/Forge Books, as well as the novella After Effects, from Amazon StoryFront. Writing as D. H. Dublin, he is also author of the forensic thrillers Body Trace, Blood Poison and Freezer Burn, from Penguin Books. His short fiction and nonfiction can be found in a variety of anthologies, and his short story “Bad Debt” received an honorable mention in Best American Mystery Stories, 2014. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers, and a founding member of the Philadelphia Liars Club, a group of published authors dedicated to writers helping writers.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Sunday Jan 31
TIME: 3:15pm to 5:15pm
TOPIC: Building a Fictional World in Young Adult Novels
INSTRUCTOR: Elizabeth LaBan

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
This class will focus on building a fictional world for a young adult book by adding details, traditions, smells, sounds, tastes, noises and anything else that brings a setting to life. LaBan will use examples from her young adult novel, The Tragedy Paper, as well as other writers’ work, to explore how authors create a setting for their stories and novels. The class will address where ideas come from, real life or imagination, and how often it is a combination of the two. Through reading, discussion, and a writing exercise, she will help students begin to work toward coming up with a setting for a story or novel they may want to write.

TEACHER BIO:

Elizabeth LaBan

Elizabeth LaBan

Elizabeth LaBan lives in Philadelphia with her restaurant critic husband and two children. Her first women’s fiction novel, The Restaurant Critic’s Wife, will be published by Lake Union Publishing on January 5. She is also the author of the young adult novel The Tragedy Paper, published by Knopf, which has been translated into eleven languages, and The Grandparents Handbook, published by Quirk Books, which has been translated into seven languages.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Monday Feb 1st
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
TOPIC: Journaling For Writers
INSTRUCTOR: Janet Falon

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
The journal can be a wonderful tool both for helping writers working through content and for grappling with the writing process.  In this workshop you’ll learn a variety of exercises that can support you and keep you on track; also, the exercises you will learn can help you enrich your writing, and give it more texture.  The workshop is especially useful for people who are new to writing or who have experienced writers block.

TEACHER BIO:

Janet Falon

Janet Falon

Janet Falon is an award-winning writer and writing teacher.  She teaches a variety of classes at The University of Pennsylvania, cancer-support organizations, assisted-living facilities, and privately, including leading a non-fiction writing group. Janet is especially enthusiastic about helping people find and express their own creative voice and tell their life story.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Monday February 8th
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
TOPIC: Flash Fiction
INTRUCTOR: Randall Brown

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
Flash is for the fearless. No wishy-washiness here. This workshop discusses the essentials of writing flash fiction: ideas, narrative structures, voice, image patterns, twists, revision, and submission strategies that should help you get your work published. Hear that POP! That’s the sizzle of your prose, your veins like wires. That’s the world where every word matters, the world of infinite yearning, where everything and everyone—writers, texts, characters, readers—lose their quiet everyday world and enter a state of intense arousal and desire. Oh Baby. Micro. Sudden. Flash. Fiction. Awww!

TEACHER BIO:

Randall Brown

Randall Brown

Randall Brown is the author of the award-winning collection Mad to Live, his essay on (very) short fiction appears in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, and he appears in the Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction. He blogs regularly at FlashFiction.Net and has been published and anthologized widely, both online and in print. He is also the founder and managing editor of Matter Press and its Journal of Compressed Creative Arts. He teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Rosemont College and received his MFA from Vermont College.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Sunday February 21st
TIME: 3:15pm to 5:15pm
TOPIC: Writing the Graphic Novel
INSTRUCTOR: Terry Laban

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
Learn the basics of graphic narrative—we’ll talk about page layouts, dialogue balloons, comic theory, character development and more. Perfect for anyone interested in writing comic strips, graphic novels or manga.

TEACHER BIO:

Terry LaBan

Terry LaBan

Terry LaBan has been a professional cartoonist for almost 30 years. He’s worked as a political cartoonist(In These Times, The Ann Arbor News), and artist and writer in the comic book industry(Fantagraphics Books, Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics) and as an illustrator for numerous publications. He currently creates the daily comic strip “Edge City”, syndicated by King Features, with his wife, Patty and does marketing and educational comics under the business name Cartoon Impact. He’s also an adjunct professor at Philadelphia University.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Monday Feb 22nd
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
TOPIC: Poetry Writing Workshop
INSTRUCTOR: Lynn Levin and Rodger Lowenthal

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
You have within you your own stories, memories, and artistic influences—the subject matter for poems—and often all you need is the right audience and effective prompts to help you generate and shape your work. You are invited to bring to class one or two poems you have already written for workshopping and appreciation; we will also do some in-class writing. We will focus on building on your strengths and expanding your poetic technique.

TEACHER BIOS:

Lynn Levin

Lynn Levin

Lynn Levin teaches creative writing at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of six books, among them, Miss Plastique, a Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist in poetry; and, as co-author, Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets, a Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist in education/academic books. Her website is www.lynnlevinpoet.com.

Rodger Lowenthal is a Cheltenham resident and has been a featured reader at many area venues (and in NYC). He has also judged several poetry contests. He has studied with Stephen Dunn, Carl Dennis and William Heyen. His twice-yearly house concerts, which feature poets as well musicians, have gained a broad following.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Sunday March 6
TIME: 3:15pm to 5:15pm
TOPIC: Turning Memories Into Memoir
INSTRUCTOR: Jerry Waxler

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
Unlike fiction writers, who invent the elements of a story, memoir writers must limit themselves to the events of their lives. In this workshop, we’ll show how to collect those memories and use them as the raw material for a well-structured story.

Topics you’ll learn:

  • How “beginning, middle, and end” gives structure to memory;
  • How to generate dramatic tension from the psychology of your main character;
  • How finding your character’s mission is the key to driving your story;
  • How to take advantage of first-person POV to go under the hood of your protagonist;
  • Identify which of the top 15 subgenres of memoir your story might fit;
  • Why chronology is a good place to start, and some successful alternative structures.

TEACHER BIO:

Jerry Waxler

Jerry Waxler

Jerry Waxler M.S. writes and teaches about life as seen through the lens of story. His book Memoir Revolution, about the social trend to read and write memoirs, is based on the hundreds of memoirs he analyzes in his blog. His own memoir Thinking My Way to the End of the World will be released in early 2016.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Monday, March 7th
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
TOPIC: How to Get Published
INSTRUCTOR: Lynn Rosen

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
Sure, we write for ourselves, but we also want readers, and the best way to reach readers is by getting published. But how?

In this class, book publishing industry veteran Lynn Rosen will explain the route to publication. We’ll start by looking at the “publishing chain,” through which a manuscript becomes a published book. We’ll review the process in the traditional and the self-publishing model. The second part of the class will explain the process: how to find and approach agents and publishers; how to write a successful query letter and book proposal; how to create a marketing platform. Note that while we’ll touch on submitting to magazines, the focus of the class is on publishing a book.

TEACHER BIO:

Lynn Rosen

Lynn Rosen

Lynn Rosen has many years of experience as an editor at publishing houses including Ballantine Books and Running Press. For eight years she ran the Leap First Literary Agency. Currently she is director of the Open Book program of classes and author events and co-owner of Open Book Bookstore in Elkins Park, PA. She was previously Editorial Director of Book Business magazine, and Director of Graduate Publishing Programs at Rosemont College. She is the author of Elements of the Table: A Simple Guide for Hosts and Guests.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Sunday, April 10th
TIME: 3:15pm to 5:15pm
TOPIC: Shaping Your Story: Building Plots that Satisfy
INSTRUCTOR: Janet Benton

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
To create a story, you start with what makes you care about this story. What is it that you most want to show? This class will show you how to determine the core of your story and use that information to build a narrative arc that reflects the work’s purpose in the lives of your characters.

TEACHER BIO:

Janet Benton

Janet Benton

Janet Benton is a writer, editor, and writers’ mentor with three decades of experience. Her published work includes a New York Times Modern Love column (2013), and she has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes (2013 and 2014). She has edited or co-written documentaries on Philadelphia history for History Making Productions, one of which was awarded a 2013 Mid-Atlantic Emmy. Her historical novel Lilli de Jong will be published in Fall 2016 by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday.

Sign up HERE.

DATE: Monday April 18th
TIME: 7pm to 9pm
TOPIC: Writing Poems About the Body
INSTRUCTOR: Deborah Fries

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
It’s the external packaging of the soul: alternately sweet, foul, young, old, whole, damaged.  In this 2-hour class, we’ll read the work of contemporary poets and learn effective ways to write about physical experience.  We’ll develop our own powerful images as we explore how figurative language can strengthen poems and focus healing.

deborah friesTEACHER BIO:
Deborah Fries is a poet and essayist whose latest book of poetry, The Bright Field of Everything, explores issues of the body and soul. She is a regular contributor to www.makingsenseofalzheimers.org  and a 2015 winner of prizes for medical poems from The Philadelphia College of Physicians and Narrative Matters.

Sign up HERE.