Last night I went to the pub party/reading for Grace and Gravity, an anthology that collects fiction by women writers from the Washigton, D.C. area.
Hosted by the D.C. Chapter of the Women's National Book Association, the event was held at the Sewell House, a historic house owned and run by the National Women's Party. The actual reading took place in a garden area behind the house. I swallowed my shyness at a couple points and said hello to a couple people I didn't know, and I also ran into a couple people from grad school classes.
The format for the reading was interesting. There were about 15 readers there, so they were asked to keep things to a few sentences. It worked real well for some, and not as much for others. Although I didn't buy a copy, there seemed to be quite a range. Pieces ranged from typical family writings to sex scenes with the Pink Panther and pontifications on homosexual life on the Andy Griffith Show. It confirmd a lot of my ideas of readings. Unless your stuff just kicks ass or you have a great voice its best to go with something funny. If you don't have funny, go with a strong visual or physical section.
The actual reading was followed up by a Q&A session moderated by author and anthology contributor C.M. Mayo. Editor Richard Peabody answered questions on how the book came together. Essentially, he's been keeping track of the D.C. lit scene since the late 70's with the intention of a historical book, but lost much of his material in a recent flood in his basement. He thought about putting a website together, but chose to do this instead when he realized so many of his favorite D.C. writers are women. When asked about future projects, he stated to have another volume of Gravity in the works and has no interest in doing an anthology for men.
Authors were asked questions like writing non-political stories in the political city of D.C., motivation to write, balancing writing with family, and more. All in all, a nice event, even for a worknight.