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January 15, 2015

10 bookish events for Philadelphia's literati

Events Books
Central Branch Free Library of Philadelphia Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Central branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Dreary winter days are the perfect time to cuddle up by the fire (or your apartment radiator) and read a good book. Calm winter nights are the perfect time to get out of the house and journey to a poetry reading, an author appearance or a writing workshop. 

These upcoming Philadelphia book events run the gamut from release parties to art collaborations to movie screenings. Now, put down whatever you're reading (we know, it's hard) and go meet some fellow Philly bookworms!

Impossible Instructions

Philadelphia literary arts journal Gigantic Sequins and art studio Philadelphia Sculpture Gym have teamed up for a special art exhibit running this month. The show includes six different sculptures made by six different artists. The catch? They created the works by following instructions written for them - in poetry or prose, in whatever genre they chose  - by six writers. 

Through January 31
Tuesdays-Thursdays 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Fridays & Saturdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sundays 12-7 p.m.
Free admission
Philadelphia Sculpture Gym
1834 E. Frankford Ave.
(215) 901-1933 

Eric Foner, "Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad" 

American historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eric Foner will make an appearance at the Free Library. A scholar of Civil War, slavery, and Restoration history, Foner will lecture about his latest book, "Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad," which tells the stories of the heroes who participated in the Underground Railroad. 

Tuesday, January 20
7:30 p.m. | $15 general admission, $7 students
Central Library
1901 Vine St.
(215) 686-5322

Frankenstein by Josh L. Hitchens

Fans of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" will delight in this one-man show. Josh L. Hitchens, a Philly-based director, actor and playwright, will guide viewers through the Mütter Museum Gallery, the Mitchell Ballroom, and more as he performs the classic story. Museum Director Robert D. Hicks will also put on an electrifying scientific demonstration.

Wednesday, January 21
6 p.m. | $20
The Mütter Museum
19 S. 22nd St.
(215) 560-8564

Mind of Winter

Each January, the University of Pennsylvania's Kelly Writers House hosts a celebration of the season in its cozy front parlor. Inspired by Wallace Steven's poem "The Snow Man," the reading gathers members of the community around a warm fire to sip soup and read winter-themed favorites. Please RSVP to

Thursday, January 22
6 p.m. | Free admission
Kelly Writers House
3805 Locust Walk
(215) 746-7636

The A.V. Club with Claire Margheim

Go behind the scenes of one of Philadelphia's craft book publishers. The Head and the Hand -- which functions as a creative haven for writers, a co-working space, and a publishing house -- is beginning a series of workshops on their craft. This installment, hosted by Creative Director Claire Margheim, focuses on the technical side of books, like design, layouts and typefaces.

Thursday, January 22
6:30-8 p.m. | Free admission
The Head and the Hand Workshop
2012 Sepviva St.
(267) 702-6744

Jan Russell: The Train to Crystal City

Did you know that America ran a secret, president-approved internment camp for suspect families during World War II? Let author Jan Russell tell you all about it at this event supporting her latest work, "The Train to Crystal City."  The Texas Monthly writer is also the author of "Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson." 

Thursday, January 22
7 p.m. | Free admission
Barnes & Noble, Downtown
1805 Walnut St.
(215) 665-0716

One Book, One Philadelphia Kickoff

To begin the citywide One Book, One Philadelphia initiative, "Orphan Train" author Christina Baker Kline will discuss her inspiration for the book in an interview with WHYY’s Peter Crimmins. Then, TJ Cole of the Curtis Institute of Music will perform an original work inspired by the novel. Learn more about the many events One Book, One Philadelphia will hold this year here.

Thursday, January 22
7:30 p.m. | Free admission
Central Library
1901 Vine St.
(215) 686-5322 

Shaping Shakespeare

Take a sneak peek into the rare book collections of the Rosenbach Museum at this hands-on tour. You'll see some of Shakespeare's early printings and books that inspired him. Then you'll take a look at how the bard's work left its mark, and how society has changed it. You might even get to handle some special historic objects in the museum's collections!

Friday, January 23
3-4 p.m. | $5, plus the cost of general admission
The Rosenbach Museum
2008-2010 Delancey Place
(215) 732-1600
To register, email

"Inked" Book Release Party

Geekadelphia co-founder and author of "The Geek's Guide to Dating" (published by Philly's own Quirk Books) Eric Smith has written his first young adult novel. The release of "Inked," from digital imprint Bloomsbury Spark, will be celebrated with a party, complete with readings by Smith and other YA authors, free snacks, drink specials, and giveaways.

Friday, January 23
8-11 p.m. | Free admission
Tattooed Mom
530 South St.
(215) 238-9880

Midnight Madness: "The NeverEnding Story"

On Fridays at midnight The Ritz at the Bourse screens a previously released film. This time they'll show "The NeverEnding Story," German director Wolfgang Petersen's 1984 adaptation of the 1979 Michael Ende novel by the same name. Expect plenty of magic and throwback special effects as the main character, Bastian, literally gets lost in a good book. 

Friday, January 23
Midnight | $10
The Ritz at the Bourse
400 Ranstead St.
(215) 440-1181