First, a disclaimer. I’m a writer and have a couple books on Richmond history out there. But, frankly, there are plenty of other writers who’ve written more than I have – including Richmond television icon Gene Cox — and close to 30 of them are gathering under the Chop Suey Books banner from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 14, at the Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.
The occasion is the first “Holiday Books and Beer Brew-Ho-Ho.”
What possessed Chop Suey’s Ward Tefft to attempt to congregate all these writers — and at a brewery?
“We were involved with a couple of great book events in October,” Tefft explains. One was the Teen ’14 at the Richmond Public Library, where authors of young adult literature gathered and people could come up and meet them. "It's not necessarily about book selling, but a celebration of Richmond writers and writing," he says. "Julie — who works with me here — we looked at each other and said, 'We should do this.' ” Tefft and company also created an event with six authors at the Page Bond Gallery. But due to the number of Richmond authors who’ve published this year and recently, Tefft decided to go big. “We started putting out our feelers about putting the event together, talked to Gigi Amateau and Meg Medina, and from there it just snowballed.”
There won’t be any readings, but jazz will be provided by a trio of musicians, including Samson Trinh. Goatocado, BoDillaz, and Bonbontruck will be around to serve hot food and nonalcoholic drinks The Richmond Young Writers are organizing writing-related activities for children and young adults. Tefft says, “We’re doing it so that you can bring your kids and hang out. It’s during the day. There’ll be a lot of kids' books there, as well.”
It’s your opportunity to see books by authors you might know, but didn’t know they had another one out. And you can't tell what’ll happen when you get all those writers in one place at the same time.
That li'l ole me is to be among such a constellation of talent is rather heady stuff. These are some big-time, award-winning-category types of writers.
The roster includes Amateau, who gives a great fictionalized version of events in the case of Gabriel's revolt in Come August, Come Freedom; photographers and artists Gordon Stettinius and Terry Brown with their Mangini Studio work, now in handy book form; Tom De Haven. of Freaks A'mour, the "Durby Dugan" fictional-documentary history of comics trilogy, It’s Superman! and the online Cafe Pinfold; Kevin Powers, whose powerful wartime novel The Yellow BIrds is getting adapted into a film and his poems, Letters Composed During a Lull in Fighting is out, Lee Graves — appropriately here, because of his new book on Richmond beer, Joshua Poteat, whose recent batches of poetry include For The Animal and The Scenery of Farewell (And Hello Again) and poet Allison Titus, who'll bring along her debut novel, the compelling The Arsonist's Song Has Nothing To Do With FIre, and the prolific Howard Owen, whose current crop of Willie Black mysteries will be available. Here, too, you'll find the lovely and talented Dale Brumfield, who is busily becoming a Doswell-based industry. (I'm just jealous). Dale conducted impressive journalistic excavation work in his chronicle Richmond Independent Press. And, well, yes, there will be Gene Cox with his memoir, The Burning Church: Confessions of a Really Rotten Preacher's Kid. You know you want that one.
The whole list of participants is online and on the poster.
A reminder that many of these books are soft covers and thus can be bent and curled to make snug fits in stockings hung with care. I'm just sayin'.