If you haven’t done speed dating with authors yet, you’ve been missing out on a fun time! This year’s event at the Massachusetts Library Association’s annual conference last week featured eight authors who paired up and went from table to table to converse with us about their books and their writing – sharing stories and giving us a glimpse of the person behind the book – before the timer went off and they had to move on to the next table of readers.
Organized and hosted by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, the Speed Dating with Mass. Authors event was a chance to meet and talk with some of the local authors whose books are in the running for a Massachusetts Book Award and are likely to be named Massachusetts Must-Read titles this year in June. The authors and their books were briefly introduced by Sharon Shaloo, executive director of the Massachusetts Center for the Book, which administers the Massachusetts Book Awards, Letters About Literature (State House ceremony coming up on May 18th with speaker Jane Yolen!) and other literary programs throughout the year.
Driving Backward, first-time author Jessica Lander‘s narrative nonfiction book about the people and their stories from the small town of Gilmanton, New Hampshire. Growing up, she spent her summers there in the home that inspired the author of the scandalous novel Peyton Place.
Charles Coe is a Boston poet, but Spin Cycles is a short work of fiction intended especially for adult ESOL or reluctant teen readers. This story of a young homeless man in Boston is told in the voice of the unnamed protagonist, revealing “the repetitive simple nature of his days,” the author explained when he arrived at our table.
The Orphans of Race Point was my favorite book of 2014, so I was happy to see author Patry Francis at the speed dating event. She said the novel developed out of an image that came to her of a boy hiding in a closet from a traumatic event. Set mainly in Provincetown and New Bedford, Massachusetts, this is a story of love, family, tragedy, faith, and betrayal that will tear your heart out.