Literature

Two Colorado Authors Team Up at Tattered Cover Tonight

Cynthia Newberry Martin (left) and Wendy J Fox will be at Tattered Cover McGregor Square on November 14.
Cynthia Newberry Martin (left) and Wendy J Fox will be at Tattered Cover McGregor Square on November 14. Cynthia Newberry Martin/Bethan Brome
What’s better than an author talking about books at Tattered Cover?

Two authors, both talking not only about their new books, but about their lives as working writers.

Denver’s award-winning Wendy J. Fox, who recently won her second Colorado Book Award for the short story collection What If We Were Somewhere Else, will join Cynthia Newberry Martin, whose Tidal Flats is now out in paperback, at Tattered Cover McGregor Square on Monday, November 14. “I’ll probably never do an event by myself again,” says Martin. “It’s so awesome and much more fun to do with another writer.”

And so was born Martin’s fifty-state literary strategy: to travel to every American state, joining up in each one with another writer for an event at a local independent bookstore. “It’s a crazy idea, but it came to me when I learned that I had not one, but two books coming out, plus the paperback," Martin recalls. "It was once-in-a-lifetime, so I thought I’d go big. I wanted to celebrate my books, but also give back in some way.”
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Bonhomie Press/Santa Fe Writer's Project Press
For her Denver appearance, Martin chose to pair up with Fox, who'd mentioned Tidal Flats in an article she wrote for Buzzfeed on great small-press books that deserved reader attention. “I saw her books coming out, also from small presses,” Martin says, “and I just fell in love with them. Especially her most recent. So immediately, when I thought of who I wanted to read with in Colorado, I thought of Wendy. Immediately.”

Fox, too, says that she’ll probably never do a solo reading again. “Even for authors who are from major houses, it’s the right idea to pull on the literary community at large to tap that considerable support there," she explains. "It’s wonderful when you have a book and someone invites you to share it with them, with their work. Not only is it recognition from your peers, but the literary landscape has changed so much that writers have to also be marketers.”

Events like this pairing at Tattered Cover are also a way to “breathe new life into worthwhile titles," Fox adds. "A book is always new to a new reader, even when it's not new to the industry. So one thing that I thought was really cool about this event is the conversation. We can talk about one another’s books. It’s more interesting for the writers, and for the audience. It’s not just you and your book up there sweating behind a podium.”

According to Martin, she and Fox have a plan for evoking that conversational sense. “I’m going to select a page from Wendy’s book to read,” she says, “and then I’m going to say why I chose it. It goes to reinforce the idea that we as writers are readers first. It invites the audience into the process.”

Both authors are champions of small presses, which have always been important to the literary landscape. That's where marginalized voices first find an audience, where experimentation is not only welcomed, but celebrated. “It’s really quite an honor to be chosen by a small press,” Martin asserts. “They’re choosing the books they publish because they love those books.”

Fox, whose Buzzfeed column focuses solely on the small press publishing industry and the books that are produced by it, agrees wholeheartedly. “There’s an interest in that specific market from readers,” Fox says. “They sometimes have distribution challenges, and they tend to not have marketing muscle. But ultimately what you want for any book and any writer is for that title to do well. For that title to be healthy. And sometimes the smaller, independent presses are exactly the right place for that to happen.”

In the end, both Martin and Fox agree that what they're most looking forward to at their combined event is engagement. “It’s more about the literature and the community,” Fox says. “It’s not sheer promotion. It’s not ‘Show up and buy my book.’ It’s more ‘Come out for the evening, and let’s chat.’”

Cynthia Newberry Martin (Tidal Flats) and Wendy J. Fox (What If We Were Somewhere Else) bring their books and authorial perspectives to Tattered Cover McGregor Square, 1901 Wazee Street, at 6 p.m. Monday, November 14. The event is free; books from both authors will be available for purchase and signing.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen

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