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Event Details

Starts Here: Reading Series

The Ivy Bookshop

Featured writers include A. G. Harmon (Some Bore Gifts), Garinè B. Isassi (Start with the Backbeat: A Novel), Karen Smythe (This Side of Sad) and Betsy Boyd.

A.G. Harmon’s Some Bore Gifts is an eclectic collection of stories spanning the traditional to the satirical, with a kaleidoscope of viewpoints and characters that includes tree cutters, department store pianists, museum guides, physicians, florists, actresses, bank managers, junk salesmen, personal trainers, and English professors. Harmon is as spellbinding in his depiction of the disenfranchised as of the socially poised, with vivid scenes of both the quotidian and the aberrant and startling. This captivating book challenges and entertains from start to finish.  Harmon’s fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in Triquarterly, the Antioch Review, Shenandoah and the Bellingham Review, among others. His fiction won the 2001 Peter Taylor Prize (A House All Stilled) and was the runner-up for the 2007 William Faulkner Prize for the Novel. His academic work, Eternal Bonds, True Contracts: Law and Nature in Shakespeare’s Problem Plays was published by SUNY Press. He grew up on horse-and-cattle farms in Mississippi and Tennessee. Currently, he teaches at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Full of original lyrics and wit, Start with the Backbeat―set in New York City in the spring of 1989―is Garinè B. Isassi’s compelling examination of the nuances of class, race, and culture in America―which are sometimes ridiculously serious. It was a Silver Medal Winner in Contemporary Fiction at the Independent Publisher Books Awards (IPPY) and a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the USA Best Book Awards. Isassi grew up with one foot in Texas and the other in New Jersey. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, she is a lover of music, chocolate, and altruistic sarcasm; a talented singer/songwriter; a writer of post-punk humor; and the illustrious founder of Helicopter Moms Anonymous. She is proud of her Armenian-American heritage, but tired of explaining it. She currently lives in Maryland, where she works full time in marketing communications, sings in a gospel choir, is the Workshops Chair for the Gaithersburg Book Festival, writes when everyone else is asleep, and lives with her husband, three kids, a cat, a dog, and a gecko.

A gifted storyteller reminiscent of Alice Munro or Joan Didion, Karen Smythe finds poetic complexity in the seeming trivialities of the ordinary. Meditative, philosophical, and confessional, This Side of Sad is a provocative and piercing novel that explores the disintegration of a marriage; the enduring colloquy between the living and the dead; and the meaning we find within the random architecture of despair and joy.

Karen Smythe is the author of a short-story collection, Stubborn Bones, and Figuring Grief, a groundbreaking analysis of the depiction of mourning in fiction by Mavis Gallant, Alice Munro, Virginia Woolf, Edna O'Brien, and others. Her stories have also appeared in Grain, the Fiddlehead, the Antigonish Review and the Gaspereau Review. She lives in Guelph, Ontario.

Betsy Boyd is a fiction writer and journalist. She teaches creative writing at the University of Baltimore and serves as literary editor of BaltimoreFishbowl.com and as senior editor at Baltimore Style. A regular contributor to Daily Variety from 2001-2011, Betsy also edited PaperDoll, Baltimore's first shopping magazine. Her story “Scarecrow” received a Pushcart Prize, and she is the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council award, an Elliot Coleman Writing Fellowship and a James A. Michener Fellowship.







Event Details

Saturday, October 21, 2017 - 7:30pm


Bird In Hand
11 E 33rd Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

by Dr. Radut