The Secret Paintings of Elisabeth Stevens

BrickHouse Books author Elizabeth Stevens, Ride a Bright and Shining Pony, will be showcasing her work at the Stakenborg Fine Art gallery in Sarasota Florida. In addition to authoring 15 books of poetry, fiction, and drama, Stevens has exhibited in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York, Sarasota and throughout the country and is a member of the New York Society of Etchers and the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA).

April 19-30, 2013

Please come to the opening:
Friday, April 19, from 6 to 9 p.m


Nancy Norris-Kniffin review of Ride a Bright and Shining Pony

Elisabeth Steven’s latest novel, Ride a Bright and Shining Pony, is a tour de force on all levels—cultural,  psychological, and philosophical.  An accomplished artist and poet, Stevens enhances her book’s themes with original etchings and metaphoric language.

The plot revolves around the historical march in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963, when women and men of all colors joined together peacefully to advocate for jobs and justice.  The dream of brotherhood, however, was turned to nightmare in Stevens’ novel when individual blacks and whites shot each other, and a mob marched to the local police station, where two innocent blacks had been jailed.

In that mob was Cynthia, the white protagonist and first-person narrator, who came to Washington less for the march toward racial equality than her personal march toward marriage with her lover, Lester, a liberal Southerner reporting for a Washington newspaper.  His hypocrisy is exposed when he believes that his best (black) friend is flirting with Cynthia and his best (white) friend has been murdered by a black.

Cynthia’s movement toward maturity is measured in small steps as she tries to understand her prior marriage, current affair, and relationships in general between the races.  She comes to realize that even when—and however—love and trust are lost, there remains hope, embodied in the lullaby which Lester sang to her and which provides lines for the novel’s title.

The etchings that preface the novel and divide its two parts are rich with classical allusion, fairytale-like grotesquerie, and the complex psychology of anger terrified and depressed by its own force.

Steven’s novel portrays not only an historic moment in American history, but also the ancient conflict of good and evil, as expressed by Cynthia’s insight about moral challenges:  “The old patterns to be discarded were more than reactionary laws and narrow-mindedness.  They encompassed a cruel, murky malevolence, an obdurate stain infecting blacks and whites alike.”

Nancy Norris-Kniffin, director emerita of the Johns Hopkins University MLA Program, received her BA in English from Wellesley College and PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania.  Topics for her courses include the American short story, Faulkner’s fiction, evil in literature, Southern women writers, and modern Irish literature. She also teaches in two non-credit programs at Hopkins: Odyssey and the Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning (formerly Evergreen Society).

Kirkus Review of Ride a Bright and Shining Pony

Kirkus Reviews has recently praised Elisabeth Stevens’ Ride a Bright and Shining Pony: “In Stevens’ (Sirens’ Songs, 2011, etc.) intelligent novel, the civil-rights March on Washington ignites one woman’s journey to heartbreak and self-awareness….Stevens’ tightly structured tale is filled with compelling observations….” Read the full review here!

Martin Luther King Day Weekend Reading at BookStore 1

The year is 1963. The day August 28th, the day of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Now, in the 50th anniversary year of that historic March, a former WASHINGTON POST staff writer recreates the dramatic moment. Merging fact and fiction, Elisabeth Stevens has written the fast-moving story of two young lovers whose lives and destinies are irrevocably and tragically intertwined with the March — and history.

January 20th at 2 p.m. Elisabeth Stevens will read from, discuss, and sign her book Ride a Bright and Shining Pony, published by BrickHouse Booksat Bookstore 1.


1359 Main St.
Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 365-7900

Sirens’ Songs

Author-artist Elisabeth Stevens lived for several decades in Baltimore and now lives and works in Sarasota, FL.  Stevens is the author of six books of poery, six books of short fiction, and many articles and reviews about art, artists, and writers.  She is a graduatae of WEllesley College and Columbia University.

A former art and architecture critic for THE BALTIMORE SUN and a former art critic for THE WASHINGTON POST, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, and THE TRENTON TIMES, Stevens is instinctively a “word-picture” person.   She has designed and illustrated many of her books with original graphics.  This 2011 BrickHouse Books edition of SIRENS’ SONGS represents a paperback facsimile of the 2010 SIRENS’ SONGS, LIVRE D’ARTISTE published by Goss Press in a limited edition of 20 copies with original etchings in a clamshell box.