Banned Books Week, which celebrates the freedom to read, wrapped up yesterday, but Eric Wirick, Reference Assistant at the Dayton Metro Library’s East Branch, says “acknowledging, discussing and celebrating the freedom to read is important year-round.”
Eric, 32, of Dayton, grew up in a neighborhood near the library branch where he now works, and explains that he wasn’t much of a reader until the fourth grade, when his teacher introduced him to Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Eric didn’t know that the novel was often banned; he just knew “it captured my imagination, and I devoured it. That novel turned me into a reader.”
Years later, Eric and a co-worker (Kevin Delecki, now Head Librarian at Greene County Public Library) conceived of a unique way to spread the word about Banned Books Week: setting up a ‘jail’ to enclose community members reading from banned books during all the branch’s open hours of the Banned Books Week.
“Our first event was in 2006,” explains Eric, who’s worked for Dayton Metro Library for twelve years. “We just hung green chicken wire from the ceiling that first year! But the next year, the Friends of the Library provided funding so we could build a wooden jail frame that folds for storage. We’ve reused it every year since then.”
Many area patrons, writers, literary lovers and luminaries (including Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell) read in the East Branch’s “jail” this past week. I had the honor of being one of the readers, and read from Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time.
Learn more about banned books at www.bannedbooksweek.org
Wright State University hosting conference and ball to Celebrate Pride and Prejudice Bicentennial
In 1813, Jane Austen’s novel of manners, “Pride and Prejudice,” was published… and largely overlooked. Some might say it was a quiet novel.
Since then, of course, “Pride and Prejudice” has become one of the world’s most beloved novels, read and celebrated by millions of readers and inspiring many modern-day novels and movies.
Wright State University will celebrate the bicentennial of Pride and Prejudice’s first publication on Oct. 10, 11 and 12 by hosting a conference featuring scholarly presentations, theatrical performances and an English tea party. Concluding the festivities is the Regency Ball, a formal event that will immerse attendees in the popular culture of Austen’s time.
All events are open to the public, though tickets are required. Tickets can be purchased on the event website: the Collaborative Education, Leadership & Innovation in the Arts (CELIA) website at http://www.wright.edu/celia/events/pride-prejudice-the-bicentennial.
“Guests can expect to be transported back to the year 1813,” said Crystal Lake, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and coordinator of the bicentennial celebration.
Lake conceived the idea to create Pride & Prejudice: The Bicentennial two summers ago when she was a visiting fellow at the Chawton House Library in England. Lake said the library was just down an English country road from the house Austen lived in while working on some of her most accomplished novels, including preparing “Pride and Prejudice.”
While in England, Lake spent much time with other researchers and Austen enthusiasts. According to Lake, hearing of her colleagues’ plans for their own bicentennial celebrations got the gears turning.
“When I came back to Wright State that fall and talked about my experiences at Chawton House with my students and colleagues, I quickly realized that there was a real love for Pride and Prejudice right here in Ohio,” Lake said. “I also realized that Wright State could join a global community, not only to celebrate Austen’s work but also to create an innovative educational experience that would benefit our students as well as others in the Dayton area.”
Oct. 10 and 11 will focus on scholarly events, including experts speaking on Austen and British literature, history and culture as well as displays of student research, discussion groups and opportunities for workshops will also be present. On Oct. 12, however, guests can let their hair down (or, perhaps, put it up under bonnets) at the Regency Ball, which is designed to transport guests back to 1813 to experience the period’s customs, music, foods, culture and elegance. (Costuming is optional, but elegant formal attire is expected for those attending.)
Learn more at the Collaborative Education, Leadership & Innovation in the Arts (CELIA) website at http://www.wright.edu/celia/events/pride-prejudice-the-bicentennial.
Upcoming Literary Life events:
• Monday, Sept. 30, 8:30 p.m., marks the deadline for the Dayton Metro Library 16th annual Poetry Contest. Entry forms with official contest rules are available at all Dayton Metro Library locations, on the website at www.daytonmetrolibrary.org or by calling the Community Relations Office at 496-8901.
• Tuesday, Oct. 1 is the application deadline for Antioch Writers’ Workshop’s 2nd Annual Fall Retreat, which will be held Nov. 1-3 at the Grailville Retreat Center in Loveland. Visit www.antiochwritersworkshop.com for retreat details and application instructions.
• Wednesday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene — Jennifer CHiaverini introduces her new book, “The Spymistress.”
• Thursday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene — Brandon Sanderson introduces his new young adult fiction, “Steelheart.”
• Thursday, Oct. 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Dayton Public Library, Main Library — I will lead a session on “Creating a Writing Life,” demystifying the steps to get started and keep going.
• Saturday, Oct. 5, 2-4 p.m., Family Christian Store (Prestige Plaza, near Chuck-E-Cheese and the Dayton Mall), Miamisburg — Local author LaTonya Braham will introduce her inspirational book, “The Academic Prayer: An Inspirational Guide for College Success.” LaTonya is the co-founder of the Dayton Book Expo, a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul, and author of other books; learn more at www.LaTonyaBraham.com
• Monday, Oct. 7, Dayton Public Library, Wilmington Stroop Branch — local author Martha Moody (best-selling author of “Sharp and Dangerous Virtues,” “Best Friends,” and other novels) will lead a session on “Characters That Live and Breathe,” providing practical writing exercises to help your characters take on lives of their own.