Sorry I’ve taken a few weeks off from Literary Alchemy. There was so much going on all June, especially toward the end of the month, that I needed a breather.
But I’m back! The column is back! And I got a couple of humdingers to share with you! (This is what happens when I go on a break. I come back using words like humdinger. Smh.)
First, a little recap of the Antidote book release.
Simply put, it was a beautiful event. José Luís Peixoto read two stories from the collection, plus a poem that just destroyed everyone with its simplicity and beauty. Afterward, we stayed for hours as José signed books, talked with everyone who wanted to talk, and did an interview with RA. From start to finish, it was a warm and heartfelt evening filled with great writing and an audience that was moved by both his words and his humility. It’s good to work with good people.
We sold a good amount of books and managed to pretty much cover all our costs. Now, of course, we have to focus on a game plan to get this gorgeous book into as many hands as possible. We will be trying to connect with Portuguese language/literature departments of universities around the country.
But two days before the official book release, we invited a small and eclectic group of people to a salon at the home of Adam Leipzig (the publisher of Cultural Weekly, of course) and Lori Zimmerman. It was something we planned to maximize José’s short trip to LA. We hadn’t done an intimate event like this before, but we liked the idea of doing something that was very different in scope and vibe from the book release.
It turned out to be a great night of mingling, chatting, hearing José read and talking to him about everything from writing to suicides to the EU’s impact on Portuguese life and economy.
My favorite thing about the night might have been how José and Michael Manning, the artist we commissioned for the cover and interior artwork, hit it off. Not only do they look like they could be brothers, but the fact that the author felt the artist, without ever having met him, totally got to the heart of his book. It speaks volumes about Michael’s talent.
It was such a great night that we plan on doing a night like this with all of our future books, a night where the writer can engage intimately with an audience beyond just reading from pages and signing books. Sort of Writ Large Press Unplugged.
If you haven’t done so already, purchase Antidote here.
We feel like we have been hibernating for a couple of weeks. But because of the way we work, well, even in our rest something big happens.
So the second of the humdingers:
WE HAVE FOUND OUR VERY FIRST SPACE! Ladies and gentlemen, Writ Large Press will be opening its first store/lab/stage/experiment in about a month.
We will be moving into one of the old vaults inside The Last Bookstore, the beautiful bookstore in DTLA, upstairs in the Labyrinth.
I’ll share more information with you as it develops and let you in on the process of getting it ready, figuring out exactly what it is we want to do in this tiny space, and invite you all to our grand opening extravaganza.
But for now, I’ll share this with you. The first time I ever thought about Writ Large Press having its own space was a couple of years ago. Myself, Mike the Poet, and Billy who used to work at the bookstore were sitting upstairs and discussing plans for an indie press initiative. I remember I was looking around the space and thinking, “I’d love to be up here.”
Somehow, after all these months, here we are, about to move into the same space I dreamt about.