CityLit 2015: “Most important festival ever”

BrickHouse Books is proud to have been part of the twelfth annual CityLit Festival on May 2.  It took place at the Enoch Pratt Free Library and was the only event in the city that day not to have been canceled due to the rally at City Hall.

BhB had a table and our own Clarinda Harriss read a poem as part of the panel honoring Michael Salcman’s new anthology, POETRY IN MEDICINE.

Click here to listen to podcasts from the festival.

Upcoming Events to Check Out!

Suddenly found yourself with some time on your hands? Feel like exploring and attending events rich with culture? Check out these upcoming events. Hope to see you there!
1)  Wednesday, February 26, 2014  noon  – Howard Community College – Recital Hall
“Stories from the Struggle for Civil Rights Movement” – an oral history performance program with participants from the civil rights movement era sharing their stories.
Harriet Lynn, Director – Heritage Theatre Artists’ Consortium
Free and open to the public
2)  “O Say Can You Feel…”  Oral History Performance Project at Reginal F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture
Seeking individuals various ages, ethnic and racial backgrounds willing to participate in a special project that will be presented at the museum and at various sites in 2014. We ask that you share your story about your relationship to your flag.
This program is part of the exhibit “For Whom it Stands”  opening May 17, 2014 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.  A stipend is available to participants.
Harriet Lynn of the Heritage Theatre Artists Consortium is the director.
Contact Terry Taylor, Education Director at the Reginald F. Museum for information  at  for more information
Visit website for more information:
“This project and exhibition has been financed in part with State Funds from the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, an instrumentality of the State of Maryland. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission. Sheila Pree Bright’s residency is in collaboration with the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House.”
3)  JHU – Odyssey Spring Program 2014
In honor of Women’s History Month –  “Here Come the Ladies:  Legends of British Music Hall and Vaudeville Entertainment”
Harriet Lynn of Heritage Theatre Artists’ Consortium provides an entertaining and educational three-part series of three women who were legendary entertainers – including Baltimore’s own Ella Shields and British stars of yesteryear  Vesta Tilley and Marie Lloyd
Also, Harriet Lynn of Heritage Theatre Artists’ Consortium is interviewed for the February 2014 issue of the online museum publication, Plinth, focusing on museum theatre.
For more information contact:
Harriet Lynn

Check out the reopening of local historical landmark

250px-PoeHouse-BaltimoreEdgar Allan Poe fans will be pleased to hear that The Board of Directors of Poe Baltimore, Inc. are re-opening the Edgar Allan Poe House National Historic Landmark. The event will take place Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 11:00 AM at 203 N. Amity Street, Baltimore, Maryland. To RSVP email

For more information check out Poe Baltimore’s website and the flyer: PoeBaltimore Invitation 10.5.13

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Baltimore Book Festival is quickly approaching!

It’s that lovely time of the year again where book nerds (both writers and readers alike) can come together and be enthusiastic about the literature world. The Baltimore Book Festival, happening this weekend Sept. 27-29, will feature some great authors (our own BrickHouse Books Director!) and reading events. Check out the schedule here along with The Baltimore Book Festival’s website for more information. We hope to see you there!

Wearing Three Hats

Wearing three hats is uncomfortable.  Wearing more than three is unwieldy to the point of immobilizing you, which is probably just as well because you look ridiculous.  The hats I totter under are beret, mortarboard, schoolmarmish cloche, black prison uniform cap, fedora with press pass stuck in the brim, and flapper’s feathered whimsy.

There’s a chronology to this list—the hats represent poet and fiction writer since age 19 (when my first story was published in a magazine); college grad/grad school survivor (1956-62); newspaper columnist (80s through 90s); volunteer with The Writers’ Club at the Maryland House of Correction for Men (80s and 90s again); schoolteacher/professor (1961-2011); and publisher (1974 to present). I claim the flapper feather because the nonprofit literary press I have directed for more than 40 years, BrickHouse Books, Inc., was just named Baltimore’s 2013 Best by Baltimore Magazine, occasioning my feathered attendance at the magazine’s speakeasy-themed celebratory bash.  Over the 50+ years I’ve been piling those hats on, I rapidly doff and don them in varying orders (cf. the great hat-passing scene in Waiting For Godot).

Asked about “transitioning” from, say, teaching and/or writing to publishing, I have to reply that there have been no such seques. Starting almost from the moment I announced to my astonished (and probably rather disheartened) writer/editor/teacher/administrator parents that the things I would never grow up to do were writing, publishing,teaching and administering (oh, by the way, I chaired Towson University’s English Department for a decade), I began doing all those things.

The one activity conducted by both my parents which I did not rule out was parenting, and in retrospect I am convinced that the refuge of ordinariness, even (dare I say) emotional health which I gained by having my two lively, interesting, curious, smart, busy children around most of the time from my late twenties through my fifties is why wearing all those hats worked out pretty well. It made my schedule almost make sense: they were my constant while I was doing some writing either before everybody got up or after everybody went to bed; teaching at “Beltway University” (the adjunct thing, driving from, say, UMBC [University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus] toGoucher to Towson University) to teach a couple of courses at each place; driving a carpool; cooking dinner (what sensual pleasure we writers find in cooking!), and so on. I’m sure you all know the drill. My point is that virtually all my poems, stories, and articles came out of those activities more or less directly. It wasn’t exactly that I wrote about those activities. It was that they set off a noise in my brain, a hunger in my gut, providing words and images which hooked together in ways that surprised me.

I think being in a state of constant surprise is one of a writer’s most essential work-tools—that and, of course, obsession. A few years ago there was a PR campaign for some worthy literary enterprise which featured the question, “If you couldn’t write, would you die?”  A writer is supposed to answer yes, of course. For me the question got it backwards: in order to make me not write–not think in words and images, whether or not they ever got down on paper, you would have to kill me.  Knock on wood—Irish style, fist to skull: I’m still alive–and sporting hats.


-Clarinda Harris

10th annual CityLit Festival schedule posted

Every April, CityLit Project and Pratt Library have presented world famous writers; critically acclaimed poets; Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners; the region’s very best literary artists; and hundreds of journals, organizations, and self-published authors in the Literary Marketplace.

The CityLit project serves to enhance support and enthusiasm among diverse audiences as well as young people for the literary arts in the Baltimore area. Through public events, collaboration, publishing, and workshops CityLit opens opportunities as well as discussion.

This year’s special guest is fiction author George Saunders, and other headliners include Dick Allen and Stanley Plumly for poetry as well as Jamal Joseph for nonfiction.

10th Annual CityLit Festival

Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
April 13, 2013
10am – 5pm

Questions: or 410.274.5691