Shortlist Book Club
Jul
16
6:00 PM18:00

Shortlist Book Club

This July: the 2015 Man Booker Prize

A book club discussion of Anne Tyler’s 2015 novel A Spool of Blue Thread, shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize.

At the Shortlist Book Club, attendees read a book shortlisted for a significant literary prize. Does the judges’ decision stand up to the test of time? And what can the book (and it’s second-place status) tell us about the year that the prize was issued?

A Spool of Blue Thread begins the day Abby Whitshank fell in love with Red in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate an indefinable kind of specialness, but like all families, their stories reveal only part of the picture: Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. From Red’s parents, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to the grandchildren carrying the Whitshank legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn house that has always been their anchor.

Attendees are expected to have read the novel (or most of it) in advance of the book club discussion. Paperback copies of A Spool of Blue Thread are available at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. Registration is not required.

View Event →
Bourbon Book Club
Aug
1
6:00 PM18:00

Bourbon Book Club

A book discussion paired with whiskey

In August, Bourbon Book Club attendees will discuss The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks.

In The Sweet Hereafter, Russell Banks tells a story that begins with a school bus accident. Using four different narrators, Banks creates a small-town morality play that addresses one of life's most agonizing questions: when the worst thing happens, who do you blame?

The Book Club discussion will be complemented by a bourbon selected and provided by The Whiskey Attic. Attendees are expected to have read the book in advance. 

Copies of The Sweet Hereafter can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. No registration for the Club is required. 

View Event →
Amanda Skenandore
Aug
3
6:00 PM18:00

Amanda Skenandore

A reading and signing with Amanda Skenandore, in support of her new novel, The Undertaker’s Assistant

Effie Jones, a former slave who escaped to the Union side as a child, is taken in by an army surgeon and his wife. During the War, she learned to read and write, to tolerate the sight of blood and broken bodies—and to forget what is too painful to bear. Now a young freedwoman, she has returned south to New Orleans and earns her living as an embalmer, her steady hand and skillful incisions compensating for her white employer’s shortcomings. Two encounters—with a charismatic state legislator named Samson Greene, and a beautiful young Creole, Adeline—introduce her to new worlds of protests and activism, of soirees and social ambition. Effie decides to seek out the past she has blocked from her memory and try to trace her kin. As her hopes are tested by betrayal, and New Orleans grapples with violence and growing racial turmoil, Effie faces loss and heartache, but also a chance to finally find her place…

Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. Her first novel, Between Earth and Sky, won the American Library Association’s Reading List Award for Best Historical Fiction. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This event is free and open to the public.

View Event →

Poets Laureate Reading
Jun
1
6:00 PM18:00

Poets Laureate Reading

A reading featuring outgoing Clark County poet laureate Vogue Robinson and incoming laureate Heather Lang-Cassera.

Clark County’s new poet laureate, Heather Lang-Cassera, will celebrate the first day of her two-year term Saturday, June 1st with the outgoing poet laureate, Vogue Robinson, in a dual reading.

The Clark County Poet Laureate’s mission is to promote poetry as an art form and a medium for inspirational public commentary. The two-year position was established by the Clark County Commission.

Heather Lang-Cassera holds a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry with a Graduate Certificate in Literary Translation. In 2017, she was named Las Vegas’s “Best Local Writer or Poet” by the readers of KNPR's Desert Companion. Lang-Cassera’s poems have been published by The Normal School, North American Review, Pleiades, Red Rock Review, South Dakota Review, and many other local and internationally renowned journals and have been on exhibit in the Nevada Humanities Program Gallery, the Left of Center Art Gallery, and elsewhere. Her recent publication, I was the girl with a moon-shaped face, is available through Zeitgeist-Press. In addition, Lang-Cassera curated Legs of Tumbleweeds, Wings of Lace, an anthology of literature by Nevada women who give back to their local communities, funded by the Nevada Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts. At Nevada State College, she teaches Composition, Creative Writing, World Literature, and more and serves as a founding member of the NSC Arts & Culture Council. She serves as World Literature Editor for The Literary Review, Faculty Advisor for 300 Days of Sun, and Editor-in-Chief for Tolsun Books, all of which have championed exceptional work by Clark County poets among other emerging and established writers.

Vogue Robinson was named Clark County’s second poet laureate in 2017. She serves as executive director of Poetry Promise, a nonprofit that develops community-based programs to promote poetry in Clark County, Nevada. Her work has been published in Clark, Red Rock Review, and Legs of Tumbleweeds, Wings of Lace: An Anthology of Literature by Nevada Women.

View Event →
Poetry Promise Reading Series: Jericho Brown
May
17
7:00 PM19:00

Poetry Promise Reading Series: Jericho Brown

A reading featuring poet Jericho Brown, presented by the Clark County Poet Laureate.

Please join us for the first of two free events with poet Jericho Brown, in support of his acclaimed new collection, The Tradition.

Jericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please (2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets. His latest collection, The Tradition, was released this April. Brown’s poems have appeared in Buzzfeed, The Nation, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Time, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry anthologies. He is an associate professor and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta, and is the Poetry Editor of The Believer magazine.

On Saturday (May 18th) at 2pm, Brown will be leading a free Poetry Writing Workshop at the Dondero Cultural Center (3130 McLeod Dr. Las Vegas).

This is event is presented by Poetry Promise, a 501c3 organization advocating for the arts and poetic expression in the Las Vegas Valley. Donations accepted at http://poetrypromise.org/giving/. This event is sponsored by NV Energy, the Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries, Clark County, NV, and the Nevada State College Office of Arts and Culture (Diamond Community Partner).

View Event →
Lesley Nneka Arimah
May
6
7:00 PM19:00

Lesley Nneka Arimah

A reading and discussion with Lesley Nneka Arimah, author of What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky.

This event is scheduled for our new location—519 S. 6th Street, at the corner of Bonneville Avenue.

Named one of the most anticipated books of 2017 by Time Magazine, Elle, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, The Millions, and winner of the 2017 Kirkus Prize and the 2017 NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award, What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky is a dazzlingly accomplished debut collection exploring the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home. Anne Stevens, chair of UNLV’s Department of Interdisciplinary, Gender, & Ethnic Studies, will lead a moderated discussion with Arimah following a brief reading.

Lesley Nneka Arimah, a spring 2019 Shearing Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute, was born in the UK and grew up in Nigeria and wherever else her father was stationed for work. She has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, a National Magazine Award, and won the African Commonwealth Short Story Prize and an O. Henry Award. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, GRANTA and has received support from The Elizabeth George Foundation and MacDowell, among others. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 and her debut collection What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky won the 2017 Kirkus Prize and the 2017 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. She lives in Minneapolis and is working on a novel about you.

This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required via Eventbrite at the following link.

View Event →
Richard Wiley
Apr
11
7:00 PM19:00

Richard Wiley

A reading and signing with Richard Wiley, in support of his new collection of short fiction, Tacoma Stories

This event is scheduled for our new location—519 S. 6th Street, at the corner of Bonneville Avenue.

On St. Patrick’s Day in 1968, sixteen people sit in Pat’s Tavern, drink green beer, flirt, rib each other, and eventually go home in (mostly) different directions. In the stories that follow, which span 1958 to the present, Richard Wiley pops back into the lives of this colorful cast of characters—sometimes into their pasts, sometimes into their futures—and explores the ways in which their individual narratives indelibly weave together. At the heart of it all lies Tacoma, Washington, a town full of eccentricities and citizens as unique as they are universal. The Tacoma of Tacoma Stories might be harboring paranoid former CIA operatives and wax replicas of dead husbands, but it is also a place with all the joys and pains one could find in any town, anytime and anywhere.

Richard Wiley is the author of Tacoma Stories and eight novels including Bob Stevenson; Soldiers in Hiding, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Washington State Book Award; and Ahmed’s Revenge, winner of the Maria Thomas Fiction Award. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he divides his time between Los Angeles, California, and Tacoma, Washington.

View Event →
Mixtape: Lyrics with Hanif Abdurraqib
Apr
8
7:00 PM19:00

Mixtape: Lyrics with Hanif Abdurraqib

An evening of poetry and live music with Hanif Abdurraqib—featuring a house band of local musicians.

This event is scheduled for our new location—519 S. 6th Street, at the corner of Bonneville Avenue.

Poet, writer, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib explores the significance of musical acts—from Carly Rae Jepsen and My Chemical Romance to Nina Simone and A Tribe Called Quest—with distinct voice and deep investment. Take part in a lively experience presenting Black Mountain Institute Shearing Fellow Hanif Abdurraqib with his own house band (made up of local musicians) for an evening of poetry and music.

Hanif Abdurraqib, a spring 2019 Shearing Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute, is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His first collection of poems The Crown Ain't Worth Much was released by Button Poetry in 2016, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. His first collection of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released to critical acclaim in November 2017 by Two Dollar Radio. His latest book-length work of music criticism, Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest, has become a runaway bestseller.

This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required via Eventbrite at the following link.

View Event →
T Kira Madden
Apr
4
7:00 PM19:00

T Kira Madden

A reading and signing with T Kira Madden, author of the memoir Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls.

This event is scheduled for our new location—519 S. 6th Street, at the corner of Bonneville Avenue.

Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden’s raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hide in plain sight.

As a child, Madden lived a life of extravagance, from her exclusive private school to her equestrian trophies and designer shoe-brand name. But under the surface was a wild instability. The only child of parents continually battling drug and alcohol addictions, Madden confronted her environment alone. Facing a culture of assault and objectification, she found lifelines in the desperately loving friendships of fatherless girls.

With unflinching honesty and lyrical prose, spanning from 1960s Hawaii to the present-day struggle of a young woman mourning the loss of a father while unearthing truths that reframe her reality, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is equal parts eulogy and love letter. It’s a story about trauma and forgiveness, about families of blood and affinity, both lost and found, unmade and rebuilt, crooked and beautiful.

T Kira Madden is an APIA writer, photographer, and amateur magician. She is the founding editor-in-chief of No Tokens, and facilitates writing workshops for homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals. A 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in nonfiction literature, she has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Tin House, DISQUIET, Summer Literary Seminars, and Yaddo, where she was selected for the 2017 Linda Collins Endowed Residency Award. She lives in New York City.

View Event →
Las Vegas Writes Project
Mar
21
7:00 PM19:00

Las Vegas Writes Project

A reading featuring contributors to the 2018 Las Vegas Writes Project, an annual anthology featuring creative fiction and nonfiction from Vegas-based writers.

This event is scheduled for our new location—519 S. 6th Street, at the corner of Bonneville Avenue.

For the 9th annual Las Vegas Writes project, editors Geoff Schumacher and Scott Dickensheets solicited work on the theme of “unnatural disasters.” The resulting anthology, Live Through This, features a range of short stories and essays about how haywire Vegas can get—through disasters both intentional and unintentional, personal and global.

Las Vegas was built on billions of intimate unnatural disasters—bad turns of the cards, unfortunate rolls of the dice. In both fiction and essays, this wide-ranging anthology extends the dynamic of unnatural disasters beyond the gaming parlors and into the streets, homes, and other eccentric spaces of Las Vegas.

Among the nonfiction, you’ll descend into a decades-old atomic bunker, given new relevance as international relations tense; meet a man tinkering with his own brain chemicals in hopes of improving his chess game; follow a foster mother as she negotiates the fraught relations with the drug-addicted biological mother of the children in her care; gauge the meaning of post-shooting #VegasStrong through the lens of the popular video game Fallout: New Vegas.

The fiction is equally eclectic, taking in the Las Vegas of the past (Bugsy Siegel and Veronica Lake on the eve of the Flamingo’s opening), the present (a down-and-out journalist drifts into danger as he investigates what appeared to be an accidental disaster), and the future (an Oceans’ 11-style sci-fi romp). Together, these writings show some of the many ways that life in Las Vegas is shaped by things going haywire―and, sometimes, by how we overcome disaster.

View Event →
Amber Royer
Mar
15
7:00 PM19:00

Amber Royer

A reading and signing with Amber Royer, author of the sci-fi novels Free Chocolate and Pure Chocolate.

This event is scheduled for our new location—519 S. 6th Street, at the corner of Bonneville Avenue.

Featuring Latina culinary arts student Bo Benitez, the Chocoverse novels are one-part soap opera, one-part space opera—with a confectionary twist. Set in the far future, they take place in a galaxy in which chocolate—Earth’s only unique commodity—is literally, dangerously addictive.

Pure Chocolate, publishing this March, has Bo Bonitez touring Zant, home of the murderous, shark-toothed aliens who recently tried to eat her. In the midst of her stint as Galactic paparazzi princess, she discovers that Earth has been exporting tainted chocolate to the galaxy, and getting aliens hooked on cocoa. Bo must choose whether to go public, or just smile for the cameras and make it home alive. She's already struggling with her withdrawal from the Invincible Heart, and her love life has a life of its own, but when insidious mind worms intervene, things start to get complicated!

Amber Royer is the author of the high-energy comedic space opera Chocoverse series (Free Chocolate, Pure Chocolate coming March 2019). She teaches enrichment and continuing education creative writing classes for teens and adults through both the University of Texas at Arlington and Writing Workshops Dallas. She is the discussion leader for the Saturday Night Write writing craft group. She spent five years as a youth librarian, where she organized teen writers’ groups and teen writing contests. In addition to two cookbooks co-authored with her husband, Amber has published a number of articles on gardening, crafting and cooking for print and on-line publications.

View Event →
The Believer Presents: Mitchell S. Jackson
Mar
13
7:00 PM19:00

The Believer Presents: Mitchell S. Jackson

A conversation between writer Mitchell Jackson and Believer interviews editor Niela Orr, in support of Jackson’s new nonfiction book, Survival Math.

This event is scheduled for our new location—519 S. 6th Street, at the corner of Bonneville Avenue.

The Black Mountain Institute, The Writer’s Block, and The Believer are proud to present Whiting Award-winning writer, renowned speaker, and criminal justice reform advocate Mitchell S. Jackson—in support of his upcoming nonfiction book, Survival Math. Jackson will discuss his work with interview wizard, Believer editor, and BMI Eleanor Kagi Foundation writer-in-residence Niela Orr.

Mitchell S. Jackson’s honors include fellowships from TED, the Lannan Foundation, the BreadLoaf Conference, and the Center for Fiction. His writing has appeared in publications including The New York Times Book Review, Salon, and Tin House. Jackson is currently a Clinical Associate Professor of Writing in the Liberal Studies Program of New York University.

Niela Orr, a writer from Philadelphia, is the Eleanor Kagi Foundation Writer-in-Residence at the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute.  She is an interviews editor of The Believer, a columnist for The Baffler, and a contributing editor of The Organist podcast. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Elle, BuzzFeed, and McSweeney's Quarterly.

Copies of Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family, as well as Jackon’s novel, The Residue Years, will both be available for purchase at the event. This event is free, but it helps us greatly if you RSVP at the following link.

View Event →
A.D. Hopkins
Mar
7
6:30 PM18:30

A.D. Hopkins

A reading and signing with A.D. Hopkins, to kick off the national book tour for The Boys Who Woke Up Early

This event is scheduled for our new location—519 S. 6th Street, at the corner of Bonneville Avenue.

The gravy train hasn’t stopped in the hollers of western Virginia for more than thirty years when Stony Shelor starts his junior year at Jubal Early High. Class divides and racism are still the hardened norms as the Eisenhower years draw to a close. Violence lies coiled under the calm surface, ready to strike at any time.

On the high school front, the cool boys are taking their wardrobe and music cues from hip TV private dick Peter Gunn, and Dobie Gillis is teaching them how to hit on pretty girls. There’s no help for Stony on the horizon, though. Mary Lou Martin is the girl of his dreams, and she hardly knows Stony exists. In addition, Stony can’t seem to stay out of juvenile court and just may end up in reform school. A long, difficult year stretches out in front of him when a new boy arrives in town. Likeable bullshit artist Jack Newcomb dresses like Peter Gunn, uses moves like Dobie Gillis, and plays pretty good jazz clarinet.

Jack draws Stony into his fantasy of being a private detective, and the two boys start hanging around the county sheriff’s office. Accepted as sources of amusement and free labor, the aspiring gumshoes land their first case after the district attorney’s house is burglarized. Later, the boys hatch an ingenious scheme to help the deputies raid an illegal speakeasy and brothel. All the intrigue feels like fun and games to Jack and Stony until a gunfight with a hillbilly boy almost gets them killed. The stakes rise even higher when the boys find themselves facing off against the Ku Klux Klan.

A.D. Hopkins has worked for newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina, and Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was inducted into the Nevada Press Association's Newspaper Hall of Fame. He is the author of The First 100: Portraits of the Men and Women Who Shaped Las Vegas, and is an authority on early Nevada gunslingers. The Boys Who Woke Up Early is his first novel.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Preorders for The Boys Who Woke Up Early are suggested, and available here.

View Event →
The Believer Presents: Elizabeth McCracken
Jan
31
7:00 PM19:00

The Believer Presents: Elizabeth McCracken

Due to construction delays, this event will occur at our original location: 1020 Fremont Street, between 10th and 11th Streets.

The Black Mountain Institute, The Writer’s Block, and The Believer are proud to kick off our spring season with Elizabeth McCracken, winner of the Story Prize and National Book Award finalist. McCracken will discuss her latest book, Bowlaway, with fiction writer and BMI PhD Fellow Wendy Wimmer. Bowlaway tells the story of Bertha Truitt, a woman found unconscious in a New England cemetery with nothing but a bowling ball, a candlepin, and fifteen pounds of gold on her person.

Elizabeth McCracken is also the author of Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry, The Giant’s House, Niagara Falls All Over Again, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, and Thunderstruck & Other Stories—a finalist for the National Book Award. She has received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She holds the James A. Michener Chair in Fiction at the University of Texas, Austin, and boy are her arms tired. You can find her rather often, entirely too often, really, on Twitter @elizmccracken.

Wendy Wimmer is a BMI PhD Fellow and the Associate Fiction Editor for Witness Magazine. She is the founder of UntitledTown book and author festival in Wisconsin, which hosts 4000 attendees annually. Her work has been published in Barrelhouse, Blackbird, Per Contra, ANMLY, Drunken Boat, Paper Darts, Non-Binary Review, Salt & Syntax and more, and has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes. In 2018, she won a flash fiction award from Salt and Syntax and was named a semi-finalist in the Black Lawrence Review Hudson Prize 2018. She was a featured reader at the 2018 Believer Festival. Follow her on Twitter @wendywimmer or her very infrequently-updated website www.wendywimmer.com.

Copies of Bowlaway and Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry: Stories will both be available for purchase, ahead of their February 5th release dates. This event is free, but it helps us greatly if you RSVP at the following link.

View Event →
Derek Palacio & Claire Vaye Watkins
Dec
4
7:00 PM19:00

Derek Palacio & Claire Vaye Watkins

An evening with fiction writers Derek Palacio and Claire Vaye Watkins, in support of their Fall 2018 Shearing Fellowships at Black Mountain Institute.

Fall 2018 Black Mountain Institute Shearing Fellows Derek Palacio and Claire Vaye Watkins co-direct the Mojave School, a free creative-writing workshop for teens based in Pahrump, Nevada. A Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame, Watkins has embedded herself as a regional literary luminary. Palacio, an O. Henry Prize winner, has contributed to the literary landscape of the Cuban-American experience. Together, Watkins and Palacio will mark the end of their stay at Black Mountain Institute with a reading and discussion in their favorite Vegas indie bookstore. 

Derek Palacio is the author of the novella How to Shake the Other Man and the novel The Mortifications. He is the co-director, with Claire Vaye Watkins, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.

Claire Vaye Watkins grew up in the Mojave Desert, in Tecopa, California and across the state line in Pahrump, Nevada. A Guggenheim Fellow, she is the author of the novel Gold Fame Citrus and the story collection Battleborn, which won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, Tin House, Freeman’s, The Paris Review, Story Quarterly, New American Stories, Best of the West, The New Republic, The New York Times, and many others. A recipient of fellowships from the Sewanee and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences, Claire was also one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.”

Signing and reception to follow. This event is free and open to the public but a reservation is required, here.

View Event →
The Believer Presents: Natasha Trethewey with Vogue Robinson
Nov
29
7:00 PM19:00

The Believer Presents: Natasha Trethewey with Vogue Robinson

A conversation between poets Natasha Trethewey and Vogue Robinson, in support of Trethewey’s latest collection, Monument: New & Selected Poems.

Pulitzer Prize winner and two-term U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey discusses her new book, Monument: New & Selected Poems, with Clark County Poet Laureate Vogue Robinson for the final Believer Presents event of the fall season.

Natasha Trethewey, two term U.S. Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner, and 2017 Heinz Award Recipient, has written four collections of poetry and one book of nonfiction. An American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow, she is currently Board of Trustees professor of English at Northwestern University. She lives in Evanston, Illinois. 

Vogue Robinson was named Clark County’s second-ever Poet Laureate and she serves as Executive Director of Poetry Promise (poetrypromise.org), a non-profit which develops community-based programs to promote poetry. She moved to Nevada with a Bachelor’s Degree in English from SDSU in 2013. Since then, Vogue has represented Vegas at four national poetry competitions. Her work has been published in Vogue 3:16 Selected Poems, Clark, Red Rock Review, and Legs of Tumbleweeds, Wings of Lace: An Anthology of Literature by Nevada Women. Robinson’s poetry is largely narrative and conversational; she writes primarily to find clarity and to tell her family’s story. 

Signing and reception to follow. This event is free and open to the public but a reservation is required, here.

View Event →
We’ve Got Issues: The Best of the Believer Archive
Nov
26
7:00 PM19:00

We’ve Got Issues: The Best of the Believer Archive

A reading celebrating more than 15 years of The Believer magazine, featuring Camille Bromley, Susana Ferreira, Daniel Gumbiner, and more.

For more than 15 years, The Believer magazine has published an array of emerging and established voices. Join features editor Camille Bromley, managing editor Daniel Gumbiner, Believer contributors, and staff as they read select highlights from the magazine’s archive of essays, comics, humor, poems, and interviews. The evening will also offer an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming December/January Issue.

Camille Bromley is a features editor at The Believer and social media editor for the Out of Eden Walk, a National Geographic project. She is a former associate editor of Harper's Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn.

Susana Ferreira is a Portuguese-Canadian freelance reporter, producer, and longform writer for magazines and film. As a correspondent and stringer, she has filed from throughout the world for major dailies, wires, television news networks and radio. She speaks five languages—six, if you count “Toronto English.”

Daniel Gumbiner was born and raised in Northern California. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 and now lives in Southern Nevada. The Boatbuilder is his first book.

This event is free and open to the public but a reservation is required, here.

View Event →
The Believer Presents: Lucas Mann with Sarah Marshall
Oct
16
7:00 PM19:00

The Believer Presents: Lucas Mann with Sarah Marshall

A conversation between essayist Lucas Mann and journalist Sarah Marshall, in support of Mann’s nonfiction book, Captive Audience: On Love and Reality TV.

Award-winning essayist Lucas Mann joins Believer contributor Sarah Marshall in a conversation about reality television, longform nonfiction, and storytelling surrounding the occasion of Mann’s third book, Captive Audience: On Love and Reality TV.

Lucas Mann was born in New York City and received his MFA from the University of Iowa, where he was the Provost’s Visiting Writer in Nonfiction. His latest book is Captive Audience: On Love and Reality Television (Vintage, 2018). He is also the author of Lord Fear: A Memoir, which was named one of the best books of 2015 by The Miami Herald, Kirkus Reviews, Paper Magazine, Largehearted Boy, and Oprah.com, and Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere, which earned a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and was named one of the best books of 2013 by The San Francisco Chronicle. His essays have appeared in Guernica, BuzzFeed, Slate, Barrelhouse, TriQuarterly, and The Kenyon Review, among others. He has received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, the United States Artists Foundation, The Wesleyan Writers Conference, and The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He teaches creative writing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and lives in Providence, Rhode Island with his wife.

Sarah Marshall grew up in Oregon and Hawaii and earned an MFA in fiction at Portland State University. Her writing has appeared in The New Republic, BuzzFeed, and The Believer, among other publications, and she co-hosts You're Wrong About, a podcast about misremembered history. A former future academic, she is now a traveling house sitter, babysitter, sled-dog handler, and journalist.

Signing and reception to follow. This event is free and open to the public but a reservation is required, here.

View Event →
Breakout Fiction Writer: Joseph Cassara
Oct
4
7:00 PM19:00

Breakout Fiction Writer: Joseph Cassara

A reading and book signing with Joseph Cassara, in support of his novel, The House of Impossible Beauties.

Joseph Cassara’s debut novel, The House of Impossible Beauties, follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids as they struggle to find their place in the world. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Columbia University, Cassara is a skilled craftsman with the ability to write profound, complex, and tragic prose.

Joseph Cassara was born and raised in New Jersey. He holds degrees from Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He was a 2016-17 writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. His debut novel, The House of Impossible Beauties, was chosen by Barnes & Noble as a Discover Great New Writers selection. He is an assistant professor of creative writing at California State, Fresno. 

This event is free and open to the public but a reservation is required, here.

This event is presented by The Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute, and made possible with support from Nevada Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

View Event →
The Believer Presents: R.O. Kwon with Derek Palacio
Sep
17
7:00 PM19:00

The Believer Presents: R.O. Kwon with Derek Palacio

A conversation between novelists R.O. Kwon and Derek Palacio, in support of Kwon’s highly-anticipated debut, The Incendiaries.

The Black Mountain Institute, The Believer magazine, and The Writer’s Block announce a new event series featuring critically-acclaimed authors in conversation. Our inaugural event brings R.O. Kwon into conversation with novelist Derek Palacio, in support of Kwon’s highly-anticipated debut, The Incendiaries. 

R.O. Kwon’s first novel, The Incendiaries, was published in early August by Riverhead Books. She is a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Vice, BuzzFeed, Noon, Time, Electric Literature, Playboy, San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, Omi International, and the Norman Mailer Writers' Colony. Born in South Korea, she’s mostly lived in the United States.

Derek Palacio is the author of the novella How to Shake the Other Man and the novel The Mortifications. He is the co-director, with Claire Vaye Watkins, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.

Signing and reception to follow. This event is free and open to the public but a reservation is required, here.

View Event →
Summer Book Clubs on Ice: The Left Hand of Darkness
Aug
31
6:00 PM18:00

Summer Book Clubs on Ice: The Left Hand of Darkness

The last of a trio of winter-themed book clubs, for readers looking to cool their imaginations over the long, hot summer.

Join us on Friday, August 31st at 6pm for a discussion of Ursula K. Le Guin’s sci-fi novel, The Left Hand of Darkness.

A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary’s mission to Winter, an unknown alien world whose inhabitants can choose—and change—their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter’s inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of science fiction.

Paperback copies of The Left Hand of Darkness are available at the Book Shop. Attendees are expected to have to have read the book (or most of it) in advance. Light snacks and refreshments will be served during the book club. No RSVP is necessary.

View Event →
Summer Book Clubs on Ice: Smilla’s Sense of Snow
Aug
17
6:00 PM18:00

Summer Book Clubs on Ice: Smilla’s Sense of Snow

The second of a trio of winter-themed book clubs, for readers looking to cool their imaginations over the long, hot summer.

Join us on Friday, August 17th at 6pm for a discussion of Peter Høeg’s suspenseful novel, Smilla’s Sense of Snow.

She thinks more highly of snow and ice than she does of love. She lives in a world of numbers, science and memories—a dark, exotic stranger in a strange land. And now Smilla Jaspersen is convinced she has uncovered a shattering crime. It happened in the Copenhagen snow. A six-year-old boy, a Greenlander like Smilla, fell to his death from the top of his apartment building. The police pronounce his death an accident. But Smilla knows her young neighbor didn’t fall from the roof on his own. Soon she is following a path of clues as clear to her as footsteps in the snow. For her dead neighbor, and for herself, she must embark on a harrowing journey of lies, revelation and violence that will take her back to the world of ice and snow from which she comes.

Paperback copies of Smilla’s Sense of Snow are available at the Book Shop. Attendees are expected to have to have read the book (or most of it) in advance. Light snacks and refreshments will be served during the book club. No RSVP is necessary.

 

View Event →
Summer Book Clubs on Ice: Ethan Frome
Jul
27
6:00 PM18:00

Summer Book Clubs on Ice: Ethan Frome

The first of a trio of winter-themed book clubs, for readers looking to cool their imaginations over the long, hot summer.

Join us on Friday, July 27th at 6pm for a discussion of Edith Wharton’s novella, Ethan Frome.

Edith Wharton’s most widely read work is a tightly constructed and almost unbearably heartbreaking story of forbidden love in a snowbound New England village. This brilliantly wrought, tragic novella explores the repressed emotions and destructive passions of working-class people far removed from the elevated social milieu usually inhabited by Wharton’s characters. Ethan Frome is a poor farmer, trapped in a marriage to a demanding and controlling wife, Zeena. When Zeena’s young cousin Mattie enters their household she opens a window of hope in Ethan’s bleak life, but his wife’s reaction prompts a desperate attempt to escape fate that goes horribly wrong.

Paperback copies of Ethan Frome are available at the Book Shop. Attendees are expected to have to have read the book (or most of it) in advance. Light snacks and refreshments will be served during the book club. No RSVP is necessary.

View Event →
Bourbon Book Club
Jun
7
6:00 PM18:00

Bourbon Book Club

A BOOK DISCUSSION PAIRED WITH WHISKEY

In June, Bourbon Book Club attendees will discuss Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

Kafka on the Shore is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. As their paths converge, and the reasons for that convergence become clear, Haruki Murakami enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder. Kafka on the Shore displays one of the world’s great storytellers at the peak of his powers.

The Book Club discussion will be complemented by a bourbon selected and provided by The Whiskey Attic. Attendees are expected to have read the book in advance. 

Copies of Kafka on the Shore can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. No registration for the Club is required. 

View Event →
Genre Book Club
May
29
6:00 PM18:00

Genre Book Club

THIS MONTH: MYSTERY & SUSPENSE

The Genre Book Club meets on alternating months to discuss a novel from one of a number of literary genres. On May 29th, the Club will discuss Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry—a debut thriller set in the U.K.

When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder. Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets she unravels, she is under the harrow—distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.

The discussion will be complemented by light snacks and refreshments. Attendees are expected to have read the book in advance. Copies of Under the Harrow can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. Registration for the Club is not required.

View Event →
Daniel Gumbiner
May
22
7:00 PM19:00

Daniel Gumbiner

A reading, moderated Q&A, and signing with Daniel Gumbiner, in support of his debut novel, The Boatbuilder.

At 28 years old, Eli “Berg” Koenigsberg has never encountered a challenge he couldn't push through, until a head injury leaves him with lingering headaches and a weakness for opiates. Berg moves to a remote Northern California town, seeking space and time to recover, but soon finds himself breaking into homes in search of pills. Addled by addiction and chronic pain, Berg meets Alejandro, a reclusive, master boatbuilder, and begins to see a path forward. Alejandro offers Berg honest labor, but more than this, he offers him a new approach to his suffering, a template for survival amid intense pain. Nurtured by his friendship with Alejandro and aided, too, by the comradeship of many in Talinas, Berg begins to return to himself. Written in gleaming prose, this is a story about resilience, community, and what it takes to win back your soul.

Daniel Gumbiner was born and raised in Northern California. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 and now lives in Las Vegas, where he is the managing editor of The Believer magazine. The Boatbuilder is his first novel.

View Event →
Shortlist Book Club
May
21
6:00 PM18:00

Shortlist Book Club

THIS SEASON: THE 2007 MAN BOOKER PRIZE

May 21st at 6pm: The Gathering by Anne Enright
(Previously, on Tuesday, March 20th at 6pm: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid)

At the Shortlist Book Club, attendees read two books nominated for the same literary award: the winner, and one runner-up. Does the judges’ decision stand up to the test of time? And what can the two books tell us about the year that the prize was issued?

The Gathering, by Irish author Anne Enright, is a moving, evocative portrait of a large Irish family and a shot of fresh blood into the Irish literary tradition, combining the lyricism of the old with the shock of the new. The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him—something that happened in their grandmother's house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations, her distinctive intelligence twists the world a fraction and gives it back to us in a new and unforgettable light. 

Attendees are expected to have read the novel (or most of it) in advance of the book club discussion. Paperback copies of The Gathering are available at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. Registration is not required.

View Event →
Joe Donnelly
May
19
7:00 PM19:00

Joe Donnelly

A reading and signing with Joe Donnelly, in support of his collection of Los Angeles profiles, L.A. Man

With special guests Scott Dickensheets, Greg Miller, and Eric Gladstone.

During his many years writing for publications such as LA Weekly, the Los Angeles TimesSlakeSurfer's Journal and more, Joe Donnelly has driven to Texas with Wes Anderson, shot pool with Sean Penn, surfed with Chris Malloy, sparred (verbally) with Christian Bale, gone on a date with Carmen Electra, and listened to tall tales told by Werner Herzog. These profiles, which also include encounters with Drew Barrymore, Lou Reed, Craig Stecyk, the wolf OR7, the Z-boys and others who have indelibly stamped the cultural landscape, drill through the facade of fame to get at the core humanity behind the myth-making. This collection manages to show Los Angeles' biggest export in a light in which it is rarely seen.

View Event →
Rick Quinn
May
11
6:30 PM18:30

Rick Quinn

A presentation and signing with Rick Quinn, author of RoadTrip America Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips 

Author Rick Quinn and Scott Dickensheets, Deputy Editor of Desert Companion, will discuss great southwestern road trip routes and favorite roadside discoveries. Discover 25 scenic alternatives to Interstate highways that take only a few extra hours to enjoy.  Stunning photography, detailed maps, and easy-to-follow narrative guide the way through breathtaking landscapes and iconic western towns in Arizona and New Mexico. 

Rick Quinn was born and raised in Arizona, earned a degree in anthropology, then hit the road, indulging an admittedly peculiar whim by hitch-hiking to Tierra del Fuego. In one way or another, he’s been on the road ever since, living in a dozen diverse locales, from Paris to Peru, San Francisco to Washington D.C., working as a photographer, a coffee farmer, a magazine writer, a postman, a novelist, and, until his recent retirement, a financial systems expert with the Postal Service. Rick is a veteran road tripper who has driven both the Alaska Highway and the Pan American. Additional information about Rick, including monthly articles for exploring the southwest is available at https://arizona-newmexico.scenicsidetrips.com/.

View Event →
Donald Revell
May
4
7:00 PM19:00

Donald Revell

A reading and signing with Donald Revell, in support of his new poetry collection, The English Boat

The English Boat, Donald Revell’s fifteenth poetry collection, creates a boisterous, magical world built upon Ancient Greek landscapes and Shakespearian tragedies and mixes it with modern-age life. These lively poems sweep readers into journeys of reflection, passion, and imagination as it explores human emotion along with the never-ending, dark mysteries of the mind.

Donald Revell is a poet, essayist, translator, and professor. Revell has won numerous honors and awards for his work, beginning with his first book, From the Abandoned Cities, which was a National Poetry Series winner. He lives in Las Vegas with his wife, poet Claudia Keelan, and their children. In addition to his writing, translating, and teaching, Revell was Editor of Denver Quarterly from 1988–94, and has been a poetry editor of Colorado Review since 1996

View Event →
Amanda Skenandore
Apr
28
5:00 PM17:00

Amanda Skenandore

A reading and book signing celebrating the launch of Amanda Skenandore’s debut novel, Between Earth and Sky

On a quiet Philadelphia morning in 1906, a newspaper headline catapults Alma Mitchell back to her past. A federal agent is dead, and the murder suspect is Alma’s childhood friend, Harry Muskrat. Harry—or Asku, as Alma knew him—was the most promising student at the “savage-taming” boarding school run by her father, where Alma was the only white pupil. Created in the wake of the Indian Wars, the Stover School was intended to assimilate the children of neighboring reservations. Instead, it robbed them of everything they’d known—language, customs, even their names—and left a heartbreaking legacy in its wake.

The bright, courageous boy Alma knew could never have murdered anyone. But she barely recognizes the man Asku has become, cold and embittered at being an outcast in the white world and a ghost in his own. Her lawyer husband, Stewart, reluctantly agrees to help defend Asku for Alma’s sake. To do so, Alma must revisit the painful secrets she has kept hidden from everyone—especially Stewart.

Told in compelling narratives that alternate between Alma’s childhood and her present life, Between Earth and Sky is a haunting and complex story of love and loss, as a quest for justice becomes a journey toward understanding and, ultimately, atonement.

Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. In writing Between Earth and Sky, she has drawn on the experiences of a close relative, a member of the Ojibwe Tribe, who survived an Indian mission school in the 1950s. Between Earth and Sky is Amanda’s first novel. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Readers can visit her website at www.amandaskenandore.com.

View Event →
Better Half Book Club
Apr
19
6:00 PM18:00

Better Half Book Club

A BOOK CLUB FEATURING LITERATURE BY WOMEN

Join us for the Better Half Book Club, where we’ll discuss Lydia Millet’s novel, Sweet Lamb of Heaven.

Lydia Millet’s chilling novel is the first-person account of a young mother, Anna, escaping her cold and unfaithful husband, a businessman who’s just launched his first campaign for political office. When Ned chases Anna and their six-year-old daughter from Alaska to Maine, the two go into hiding in a run-down motel on the coast. But the longer they stay, the less the guests in the dingy motel look like typical tourists—and the less Ned resembles a typical candidate. As his pursuit of Anna and their child moves from threatening to criminal, Ned begins to alter his wife’s world in ways she never could have imagined.

A double-edged and satisfying story with a strong female protagonist, a thrilling plot, and a creeping sense of the apocalyptic, Sweet Lamb of Heaven builds to a shattering ending with profound implications for its characters—and for all of us.

An hour-long discussion will be accompanied by light snacks and refreshments. Men, women, and those who identify as neither are all welcome at the Better Half Book Club. Copies of Sweet Lamb of Heaven can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. Registration is not required.

View Event →
Textual Orientation
Apr
10
6:00 PM18:00

Textual Orientation

AN LGBTQ BOOK CLUB

Textual Orientation is book club featuring fiction, history, and creative nonfiction titles that focus on LGBTQ people and their lives. Anyone is welcome to participate.

In April, Club attendees will discuss Bill Hayes’s memoir Insomniac City: New York, Oliver Sacks, and Me. Bill Hayes came to New York City in 2009 with a one-way ticket and only the vaguest idea of how he would get by. But, at forty-eight years old, having spent decades in San Francisco, he craved change. Grieving over the death of his partner, he quickly discovered the profound consolations of the city’s incessant rhythms, the sight of the Empire State Building against the night sky, and New Yorkers themselves, kindred souls that Hayes, a lifelong insomniac, encountered on late-night strolls with his camera. 

And he unexpectedly fell in love again, with his friend and neighbor, the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, whose exuberance—“I don’t so much fear death as I do wasting life,” he tells Hayes early on—is captured in funny and touching vignettes throughout. What emerges is a portrait of Sacks at his most personal and endearing, from falling in love for the first time at age seventy-five to facing illness and death (Sacks died of cancer in August 2015). Insomniac City is both a meditation on grief and a celebration of life. Filled with Hayes’s distinctive street photos of everyday New Yorkers, the book is a love song to the city and to all who have felt the particular magic and solace it offers.

Attendees are expected to have read the book in advance. Copies of Insomniac City can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. No registration for the Club is required. 

View Event →