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The Connecticut Authors Reading Series celebrates the approach of spring with newly published work by area writers.
The next program in the ongoing series curated by Newtown author Sophfronia Scott, who created the series in late 2015 to introduce readers and writers to the work of authors who live in the Nutmeg State, will be Sunday, March 18. It will run from 2 to 4 pm in the lower meeting room of C.H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street.
This month’s guests — Steven Parlato, Ciaran Berry, and Ms Scott — will read from published works with time in between each reading for discussion and Q&A with the audience about the craft of writing. Refreshments will be served and books available for purchase.
Mr Parlato, of Waterbury, will share his second novel, The Precious Dreadful, released in February, and poet Ciaran Berry, of Hartford, will read poems that have recently appeared in prominent literary journals.
“I heard Ciaran read in Hartford last year. He has such a beautiful, lyrical way of reading and a lovely Irish accent,” said Ms Scott. “I never forgot it and knew I wanted to bring him to the library.”
Mr Berry’s work spans a colorful yet powerful range of topics. His book The Dead Zoo touches on Nero’s circus, the thoughts of St Augustine, the pathologist who kept Einstein’s brain, Darwin’s expeditions and discoveries, a Japanese ghost ship adrift after a tsunami, and the Beltway sniper attacks of 2002. The poems straddle the ages and the ocean between the author’s home place in Ireland and a new home in America.
Mr Berry is also the author of The Sphere of Birds, winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition, the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, and the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize. The Dead Zoo is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
He grew up in Connemara and Donegal in the West of Ireland, and currently he teaches at Trinity College. His newer work has been featured recently in AGNI, The Irish Times, Poetry, Ecotone, and The Southern Review.
Novelist and poet Steven Parlato is an associate professor of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he serves as faculty advisor to award-winning student newspaper, The Tamarack. He has played roles ranging from the Scarecrow to Macbeth, and his poetry appears in journals including Freshwater, Margie, Borderlands, CT River Review, Pirene’s Fountain, and Peregrine.
His first fiction manuscript won the 2011 Connecticut Shoreline Arts Alliance Tassy Walden Award. Upon the 2013 publication of The Namesake, Publishers Weekly called Mr Parlato “a name to watch.”
He has led writing workshops for teens and adults at several Connecticut libraries and bookstores. His second novel was released by Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in February. Also an illustrator, Mr Parlato is husband to Janet and proud father of “two amazing young people,” he said.
Ms Scott notes she is also looking forward to Mr Parlato’s new book, which combines romance and humor with elements of the paranormal. It’s about a teenage girl’s decision to redefine her life in the wake of supernatural events.
The girl joins a library writing group but the writing leads to disturbing memories of a lost childhood friend. She begins to question everything about her life, especially when a mysterious ghost-girl emerges from the park pool one night
“How can you resist a title like The Precious Dreadful? It’s so great,” she said. “And the story involves a library writing group for teenagers. Booth Library offers similar groups, so I thought this would resonate for its young writers.”
Ms Scott herself will be the third writer of the day, reading from her new memoir essay collection Love’s Long Line. The essays ruminate on faith, motherhood, race, and the search for meaningful connection in an increasingly disconnected world.
“I gleaned the title from Annie Dillard’s book Holy the Firm,” said Ms Scott. “She wrote that we all ‘reel out love’s long line alone … like a live wire loosed in space to longing and grief everlasting.’ I wanted to show that in addition to grief and longing there is an abundance of joy and forgiveness and grace to be had as well.”
Ms Scott grew up in Lorain, Ohio, a hometown she shares with author Toni Morrison. She earned a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She began her career as an award-winning journalist for Time and People magazines.
When her first novel, All I Need to Get By, was published by St Martin’s Press in 2004, Ms Scott was nominated for best new author at the African American Literary Awards, and hailed by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr, as “potentially one of the best writers of her generation.”
Her latest novel is Unforgivable Love (William Morrow). She is also the author of a memoir, This Child of Faith: Raising a Spiritual Child in a Secular World, co-written with her son Tain, from Paraclete Press.
Her essays, short stories, and articles have appeared in Killens Review of Arts & Letters, Saranac Review, Numéro Cinq, Ruminate, Barnstorm Literary Journal, Sleet Magazine, newyorktimes.com, More, and O, The Oprah Magazine.
Ms Scott teaches at Regis University’s Mile High MFA and Bay Path University’s MFA in creative nonfiction. She lives in Sandy Hook.
For additional information call 203-426-4533 or visit chboothlibrary.org.
Sophfronia Scott (left), curator of the Connecticut Authors Reading Series, will welcome Ciaran Berry (center) and Steven Parlato for the next program presentation at C.H. Booth Library. Ms Scott will also share some of her latest releases during the March 18 event.