The Hippo


Mar 21, 2018








Hatbox Readings No. 3

Where: Hatbox Theatre, Steeplegate Mall complex, 270 Loudon Road, Concord
When: Sunday, March 12, from 6 to 8 p.m.; the next is Sunday, May 14, at 6 p.m.
Tickets: $5
Contact:, 715-2315
Writers’ Day
Where: Southern New Hampshire University, 2500 N. River Road, Hooksett
When: Saturday, April 1, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Admission: $230 if registered by Thursday, March 30; $250 if walk-in by Saturday, April 1

Literature lovers 2017
Writers move away from desks for readings, Writers’ Day

By Kelly Sennott

 The New Hampshire Writers’ Project’s upcoming programs are all about experiencing writing aloud, from its new Hatbox Readings series to its biggest event of the year, Writers’ Day, on April 1.

Hatbox Readings
The organization’s next Hatbox Readings night is Sunday, March 12, at the Hatbox Theatre and features three pieces — Nails: A Tale of Japan by Ian Rogers, But I Already Said Goodbye by Wendy Jensen and A House Divided by Ed Jacobs. 
NHWP Vice Chair Masheri Chappelle said via phone that the series idea started with NHWP member Gary Devore, who came to her last summer with the concept of performing readings by local writers at the new theater, which is home to diverse programming like comedy nights, plays, magic shows and storytelling events. Actors would read 10- to 20-minute selections of work by local novelists or short story writers, polished and entertaining but still in progress. Audience members would offer critiques, with the goal of strengthening the next draft. The first event was July 17 and featured snippets of work by Chappelle, Devore and Jeff Deck. The second was Dec. 11 and included writing by Karen Goltz, Josh Bresslin and Mary Downes. 
“It’s something that allows me as a writer to see how people perceive my work — if it’s too far out there for them, or if it’s something that opens a door to something they didn’t know existed, and that they want to come through,” said Chappelle, whose The Oracle Files is being published by Black Rose Writing this May thanks to the feedback. “[Audiences] have been asking some great questions, getting authors to think about what they’ve written.”
Over the course of the readings, now occurring quarterly, organizers have fine-tuned the process of curating a balanced evening of stories. The waiting list of writers wanting to participate is full, though priority goes to those who attend readings.
“It’s really taking off now; I couldn’t even make it to intermission without authors approaching me, asking me to have their work be done,” Chappelle said.
New Hampshire Writers’ Day
The 29th New Hampshire Writers’ Day happens Saturday, April 1, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Southern New Hampshire University. It’s a day of workshops, readings and panel discussions, this year with a “spring training” theme. 
Keynote speaker is Ann Hood, who has written 15 books and holds the record for publishing the most essays in the New York Times Modern Love column. Her most recent project is an anthology, Knitting Pearls: Writers Writing About Knitting. Also speaking is New London writer and illustrator Tomie dePaola.
The day is divided into four workshop periods, and during each attendees can pick from a wide selection of topics, both new and old to the event, ranging from writing (beginnings, characters, short stories, poetry, memoir) to business (query letters, promotion, book proposals and book launches). 
This year’s Writers’ Day is very active, said Kathy Gillett, chair of Writers’ Day, via phone — for example, the “Literature Out Loud” session features professional actors reading work by New Hampshire students, submitted by teachers (due by March 15; email Lots of sessions contain read-aloud or panel elements, and two are free of charge for New Hampshire teachers, aimed at making writing more fun for students (space is limited for those; email to register). 
“The goal is to give teachers the tools to help their students understand that literature is meant to be read, and that stories are meant to be heard,” Gillett said.
At the end of the day is a Red Sox pep rally, with readings by Bill Littlefield (author of Take Me Out) and Glenn Stout (author of The Selling of The Babe), who will then be interviewed by NHPR’s Virginia Prescott. Gillett said the organization is readying for its 30th birthday, with the next big-name keynote speaker to be announced April 1. Planning begins April 2.
“We’re an all-volunteer board doing what used to be done by staff. We want to keep the cost down and make this as accessible as possible to every writer in New Hampshire,” Gillett said. 

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