Author reading series begins
For 30 years, the Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, sponsored by Inprint, Houston’s only non-profit literary organization, has cultivated and inspired readers and writers by offering live on-stage readings from popular authors, and the series only has room to grow.
“It feels fantastic and humbling to know that the series is celebrating its 30th anniversary season,” said Inprint’s marketing and outreach director Krupa Parikh.
“Inprint is very proud of this achievement and is committed to maintaining the Series’ quality and accessibility.”
The Margaret Root Brown reading series is presented in a downtown theater with on-stage interviews and book signings following the show. Tickets for a single reading are only $5.
Despite new technology like Amazon’s Kindle, which makes literature available through e-books, Parikh says that the series has remained popular because it continues to hold a mystique that literary audiences are not used to.
“Attending a reading is a social and intellectually stimulating experience. The act of reading, whether it be via an actual book or via an e-book is a private, individual experience. But attending a reading makes the act of reading public and collective,” Parikh said. “The live experience of hearing an author read from his or her own work puts a different light on the text.”
Founded in 1983, the program was originally named the Houston Reading series run by the UH creative writing program.
The organization still supports the University through fellowships offered to students, and arranges for some of the visiting writers to spend time with UH students.
Nearly thirty years ago, the organization focused strictly on inspiring graduate students; now the series is known for offering readings with a variety of authors
“These are authors that people don’t have immediate access to, so it attracts people to the readings,” said executive director for Inprint Rich Levy.
“There was a great reading by Anne Enright a few years ago when she read a short story from her collection ‘Yesterday’s Weather.’ She was not a household name, but she gave the most captivating reading. There was a pin-drop silence in the audience.”
Over the years, the series has presented over 300 of the world’s greatest writers, including winners of five Nobel Prizes, 49 Pulitzer Prizes, 45 National Book Awards and seven Booker Prizes, as well as 13 U.S. Poet Laureates.
“Houston has an enthusiastic book reading audience and it is gratifying and exciting to cultivate it,” Levy said.
Readings from Carlos Fuentes, Salman Rushdie, Peter Carey, Major Jackson and Alicia Ostriker, Chitra Divakaruni and Gish Jen, and Kay Ryan will fill out the season, which lasts until April 2011. Carey, Jen, Jackson and Ryan will visit the UH campus.