Where Pittsburgh Writers Can Meet Pittsburgh Readers
Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures’ “Made Local” series hosts writers with local ties for conversations with Pittsburgh’s ample supply of book lovers.
Pittsburgh has a lot of book lovers.
Maxwell King, co-author of “American Workman: The Life And Art of John Kane,” surprisingly learned that while working for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“When I was the editor of the Inquirer, we were doing research to support the fact that we wanted to continue our books section … on what the readership was like in Philadelphia,” King says. “We were amazed to learn that [for] book reading, there was a higher percentage of people in Pittsburgh who read books than in Philadelphia.
“Pittsburgh has this literary tradition and continues to be, for a variety of reasons, a center of literary work.”
King recently appeared as part of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures’ “Made Local” series, a perfect companion for a book-loving city. The series highlights authors and books with some sort of connection to Pittsburgh, whether they grew up here, currently live here, or are currently writing about a Pittsburgh-related topic.
Stephaine Flom, the executive director of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, says they wanted to showcase books with explicit Steel City ties. “We really wanted to have an opportunity and a platform for authors who live in Pittsburgh, or with the Pittsburgh connection to … celebrate their work.”
The next event in the series features editor, writer and former Chatham University president Alberta Arthurs, who co-edited a collection of essays, “Are the Arts Essential?,” that explores the role of the arts and artists in the COVID era. She’ll discuss the book at Carnegie Library Lecture Hall in Oakland Thursday night; the event will also be presented virtually. A conversation with City of Asylum artist-in-residence Tuhin Das is scheduled for next Wednesday, May 18, at the same venue.
Recent presentations have included Eliza Griswold and Deesha Philyaw. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many events have been held both virtually and in person.
“We are just one part of this ecosystem that is the wonderful literary community,” Flom says. “If you’re a Pittsburgh author, and you aren’t connected to literary Pittsburgh, pick up the calendars that are in all your favorite local media … and get to these events.”
This literary community will also get the chance to come together on May 14 for the Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books, of which Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures is a sponsor.
“There’s no reason for someone who is writing in Pittsburgh to feel lonely,” Flom says, “because the mechanisms are out there to connect to organizations and other writers.”