Summer Reading: Literary Events in NYC for Bloomsday and Beyond

By Alison Durkee

On June 16 fans of Ulysses will be marking the arrival of Bloomsday, and beyond it there are plenty of other literature-centric events taking place this summer. Put down your paperback and head out to one of these upcoming literary events in NYC, running from James Joyce to Joyce Carol Oates.

To mark the arrival of Bloomsday, make your way to Symphony Space for their annual Bloomsday on Broadway celebration (June 16), an evening of readings from Ulysses’ more contentious passages by actors, authors, and other Joyce lovers. Joyceans can also mark the holiday with a pre-Bloomsday conversation at the American Irish Historical Society (June 13), or join novelist and screenwriter Robert J. Seidman for a discussion on Ulysses on June 18. Those wanting to delve into one of Joyce’s other challenging works, meanwhile, can join the Prospect Heights Brainery for an exploration of Finnegan’s Wake (June 16), perhaps the most difficult novel ever written.

Joyce isn’t the only historical author whose life and work is worth revisiting this month. Get a new perspective on 20th century horror writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft by taking a walking tour on his ties to Brooklyn (June 10), or learn more about Ernest Hemingway at the launch of Mary Dearborn’s new biography (June 22). Two other events will also reveal two late novelists’ musings from beyond the grave: The launch of 1944 Diary brings out a long-lost diary from novelist Hans Keilson (June 12), and a June 14 event will reveal lost lectures on language and literature from Invisible Cities author Italo Calvino.

There are also plenty of chances to hear from today’s literary scribes, including Roxane Gay, who will be appearing at BAM on June 13, and Joyce Carol Oates, who will appear at the Mysterious Bookshop on June 14 in conjunction with her new work, Dis Mem Ber. Literary lovers hoping to find something new for their reading lists can also head to conversations with Priestdaddy author Patricia Lockwood (June 12), Turf: Stories author Elizabeth Crane (June 20), Moving Kings author Joshua Cohen (July 12), and Bed-Stuy is Burning author Brian Platzer (July 11). Those who’d rather discover literature from beyond the U.S. can head to events on Kenyan novel Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (June 13) or the Scandinavian crime novel What My Body Remembers by Agnes Friis, which will be discussed with Danish crime writer Sara Blædel at a book club event on June 12.

Fans of crime novels and suspenseful fiction can get a deeper look at the genre at If Books Could Kill, a panel discussion with several top suspense writers (July 13). Another panel discussion will take place at the New York Public Library with Periodically Speaking: Immigrant Voices (June 13), a discussion with writers, editors, and teachers on immigration and literature in 2017. For panel discussions, writing workshops, readings, and more, head over to Riverside Park for this year’s AmpLit Fest on June 10, a one-day literary event set along the banks of the Hudson.

Of course, today’s novels can be traced back to the ancient texts and folk tales that have been around for centuries. Explore the Arabian Nightsand the secret authors and cross-cultural collaborations that brought these famed tales to lifeat an illustrated lecture with NYU professor Paulo Lemos Horta on June 19. For a look at a lesser-known ancient text, delve into the Tibetan Book of the Dead and compare it to modern ruminations on mortality on June 28. To see how modern-day authors are bringing a classic folk tale back to life, join famed musical theatre lyricist Sheldon Harnick and family members Margery and Matt Harnick for the launch of Koi: A Modern Folktale (July 11), the Harnicks’ interpretation of the legends behind the Japanese fish.

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