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October 15th, 2014

09:28 pm: October Farmshare
Sing a song of salad greens. Greens from my friend's farmshare! Still. Again. After some days without greens, greens! Sing a song of fennel. Fennel! Plenty of fennel for a pretty salad with apples and lemon. Sing a song of a great big round, light green squash with a little pearshape happening on top. Oh, squash, you're not a gourd, are you? Squash I don't know, are you a melon? Mysteries of the farmshare can be so pleasing. Like fennel! That turned out so well. Song of broccoli. Song of brussel sprouts, pleasing little cabbages. It is fun to slip off their smudged up outer leaves. Beautiful brussels sprouts, cooking slowing now. Your smell calls out: cabbage! But you are your own little melty brassica selves. I learned the category "brassica" when I lived with my first big New England garden. That's your winter greens, your kales, your cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, the ones that sweeten up when it gets cold, the big, curly leaves you can shake snow from and eat like popsicles. Summer bitter, winter sweet, you've grown on me. But does anybody know this squash?

(I just wrote this on fb, but why should it have all the fun?)

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September 16th, 2014

06:47 pm: Local History/Local Writers 2014/15 Season!
I've been curating this series for the last five years. Please come if you can!

Forbes Library, Northampton, MA

Oct 1 Strange Stories of Science! Bugs! Scandal! Fiction!
Faith Deering, entomologist, Historic Deerfield
Peter Kobel , author, The Strange Case of the Mad Professor
Brian Adams, novelist, Love in the Time of Climate Change

Nov 5 Paradise Found: A Walking and Biking Tour of Northampton, Massachusetts through poetry and art.
Tom Clark, Lori Desrosiers and Oonagh Doherty, editors. Various readers.

Dec 3 Celebration of Local Novelists
M.P. Barker, novelist, Mending Horses
Suzanne Strempek Shea, novelist, Make a Wish But Not For Money
D. Dina Friedman, novelist, Escaping into the Night
Karen Shepard, novelist, The Celestials

Jan 7 Engaging Young People with History: An Evening with YA and Middle Grade Novelists
Jeannine Atkins, novelist, Becoming Little Women: Louisa May at Fruitlands
Burleigh Muten, novelist, Miss Emily
Ellen Wittlinger, novelist, This Means War!
curated by Naila Moreira

Feb 4 Remembering Those Gone
Lesléa Newman, poet, I Carry My Mother
Mark Hart, poet, Boy Singing to Cattle
Elise Bernier-Feeley, Forbes Special Collections and Genealogy Librarian,
on Bridge Street Cemetery

Mar 4 Crime Fiction*
Dean Flower, professor of English, Smith College
Michael Ponsor , novelist, The Hanging Judge
Susan Kelly, novelist, Out of the Darkness
* in conjunction with All Hamptons Read The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Apr 8 Shay’s Rebellion
(2ND Dan Bullen, poet and author, The Dangers of Passion: The Transcendental Friendship
Wed.) of Margaret Fuller and Ralph Waldo Emerson
Contance Congdon, author and playrwright, No Little Rebellion
Richard Colton, historian, Springfield Armory

May 6 Celebration of Local Novelists
Ellen Meeropol , novelist, On Hurricane Island
John Clayton, novelist, Many Seconds Into The Future
MB Caschetta , novelist, Miracle Girls
Alex Myers, novelist, Revolutionary

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July 27th, 2014

01:51 pm: Interview: Judith Frank
I met Judy Frank when we both had novels being published by Firebrand Books. Now, her urgent, intimate new novel, All I Love and Know, has just been published. I interviewed her for Lambda Literary:

What is the heart of All I Love and Know for you?

For me, the novel is about how you mourn a death from terror when the cultural scripts handed to you (“the war on terror”) feel toxic to you. It’s also about the various forms safety and danger take in a life, about parenting, about Israel/Palestine. And about the experience of being an identical twin.

- See more at:

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July 17th, 2014

11:42 am: Judy Frank's All I Love and Know, tonight, The Odyssey, 7 pm
Ah, you know, I'm just so happy to be going to the book launch for Judy Frank's novel All I Love and Know at the Odyssey tonight. (7 pm.) I picked up my Advanced Reader's Copy, which is full of pages dog-eared from parts I loved, and felt pulled back again into the world of these characters, the ways that they grieve, struggle, mess up, the ways they love. One of the things I love most about this book is that it centers around terrible death and loss in an act of terrorism -- a beloved twin, beloved sister-in-law, parents -- lost in a cafe bombing in Israel -- and it doesn't flinch from these losses, but actively refuses a narrative of retribution. That is so hard, and it's so convincing here, just achingly, gorgeously human. All that, plus tons of treats for local readers, like a great description of the reading room at Smith and its audience, or a party at a purple house with a turret, and --oh! -- so much satisfying queer life in all of its specifics, utterly portrayed as, you know, compelling, precious, messy, terrible, delicious human life.

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May 30th, 2014

11:52 am: Writing Room Reading with Bios: This Wednesday!
Here's all the info about the upcoming Writing Room Reader. Please do join us if you're local. It's a nice mix of published and unpublished writers.

Forbes Writing Room Reading
June 4, 2014
7 pm
Coolidge Museum

Every Wednesday and Saturday morning from 9:30- 12:30, writers of every description -- novelists, poets, memoir writers, essayists, journalists and more -- join Forbes Writer In Residence Susan Stinson for companionable writing time. The Writing Room has been open for four years, so we’re celebrating with a reading. We end our writing time together with the option of sharing a quick taste of our writing, and now we’re offering a sampler to the community.

Forbes LibraryWriting Room Readers Bios

Sally Bellerose is the author of The Girls Club. She is working on a second novel titled Fishwives. Her writing usually involves themes of sexuality, illness, class, and, lately, aging.

Carolyn Cushing is a poet inspired by nature, slightly obsessed with cells, and currently focused on the places where life and death meet. Her poetry blog is

Elizabeth French is at work on Cranmer’s Wife, a novel set during the Reformation. In that cataclysmic era, the heroine’s family and her passions are tested amid conflicts of faith, loyalty, and the greed of kings.
A graduate of the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College, Rachel Hass is currently at work on a novel inspired by her great grandfather, who hid throughout the second world war in Berlin.

Grace LeClair is an appreciator and explorer of words, hers and others’. She has recently published a small how-to and story book called Pie and is working on a long piece drawn from memory.

Faren MacDonald’s novel centers around the formation of Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park in 1933 when the partly-constructed Appalachian Trail was paved over, the Civilian Conservation Corps made camp, and 500 families were evicted from their homes.

Ellen Meeropol is a former nurse practitioner and a literary late bloomer. She is the author of two novels, House Arrest and On Hurricane Island (coming in 2015).

Kristi Mientka is a Southampton native and returned Peace Corps Volunteer.

Naila Moreira is a writer, journalist and naturalist. Her work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times, Science News, The Common Online and other venues. She teaches at Smith College.

William Moore writes short fiction. He lives in Easthampton with his wife and daughter. He could use some new pants, but would settle for a ping pong table.

Megan Nolan is a graduate of Western New England College. She writes poems, and lives in Monson, Massachusetts.

Julie Rosier is a writer, performer and activist. She believes that stories can reveal the invisible and unbreakable Red Thread that connects us all. In 2008, she founded the company, Red Thread Theater (

Shane Sinclair: Humour makes its way into my writing. I strive for lightness of tone. Too much heaviness is hard. It predominates against my will. I am working on “Falling Through the Cracks” about Sid.

An independent researcher, minister, and radio show co-host (Black In The Valley), Jacquelyn Smith-Crooks, has a passion for intergenerational oral history. She's recorded stories of people's lives in the U.S., Africa and other countries. One of her current projects is editing stories of her mother's childhood.

Susan Stinson, Forbes Writer in Residence, is the author, most recently, of Spider in a Tree, a novel about eighteenth century Northampton. She is also a writing coach and editor. For more:

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May 17th, 2014

11:05 am: Book Swap Podcasts: North American Lake Monsters
I've been talking about books every month (or so! at least!) on the radio with Bob Flaherty in a segment we call Book Swap. I've posted podcasts of a few of these on my website.
Here's the latest, in which we discuss North American Lake Monsters , brilliant horror short stories by Nathan Ballingrud.

The station is WHMP, 1400 AM.

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May 12th, 2014

01:36 pm: Forbes Library Writing Room Reading, Wed, June 4, 7 pm

Fifteen writers who write at the library give brief readings from their work.

Every Wednesday and Saturday morning from 9:30- 12:30, writers of every description -- novelists, poets, memoir writers, essayists, journalists and more -- join Forbes Writer In Residence Susan Stinson for companionable writing time. The Writing Room has been open for four years, so we’re celebrating with a reading. We end our writing time together with the option of sharing a quick taste of our writing, and now we’re offering a sampler to the community.

Drew Adamek
Sally Bellerose
Elizabeth French
Rachel Hass
Grace LeClair
Faren MacDonald
Ellen Meeropol
Kristi Mientka
William Moore
Naila Moreira
Megan Nolan
Julie Rosier
Shane Sinclair
Jacquelyn Smith-Crooks
Susan Stinson

Forbes Writing Room Reading
Wed, June 4, 2014
7 pm
Coolidge Museum

Interested in joining us at the Writing Room? You're very welcome. For more:

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May 10th, 2014

11:25 am: Library as Incubator Project: Full Series
I just put links to the six part series I wrote for Library as Incubator Project on my website. The Library as Incubator Project is an innovative website -- and now a book, too! -- about libraries as places where art of kinds is created and nurtured. My series is about my life-changing experience of being Writer in Residence at Forbes Library in Northampton, MA.

Read my whole series here.

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December 23rd, 2013

12:08 pm: Library As Incubator Project series: Halfway
I'm halfway through a series of six posts I've been writing for the wonderful Library As Incubator Project website about being Writer in Residence at Forbes Library, the public library here in Northampton. . Here's a link to the first three posts.

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October 9th, 2013

07:57 pm: Spider in a Tree launch Oct 2 2013.  First Churches, Northampton.  Photo credit: Jeep Wheat.

The Spider in a Tree launch was amazing. 150 people came. My parents from Texas, my sister from Kansas, my friend Lynne from California. Rev. Todd Weir gave a welcome. Sally Bellerose introduced me. I read at First Churches, on the site where Jonathan Edwards preached in the eighteenth century, a scene set in the meeting house. It was tremendously moving. My mother, though, said the thing that almost made her cry was the sight of people buying books. Oh, me, too. The book is now officially out in the world. It's a beautiful thing.

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