Manayunk bookstore hosts inaugural ‘Authors Brunch’ at Pretzel Park

Just after 11 a.m. Saturday, Jenn McCreary stood before the Pretzel Park microphone and began reading from her latest collection, “& Now My Feet Are Maps,” to nearly 30 people gathered to hear or participate in the inaugural Authors Brunch event.

The brunch, organized by The Spiral Bookcase owner Ann Tetreault in conjunction with Philly Maker Week, grew from a single author to include 10 writers from across the Philadelphia literary scene.

“I was trying to get a signing together with Robin Black [and] Philly Maker Week was also happening,” she explained. “I thought it would be a great idea to bring in multiple authors from all over the city for a group reading.”

How it came to be

When Tetreault introduced Black, who writes fiction, another layer of the origin of Saturday’s event emerged.

“Robin Black had a group of authors over to her apartment for dinner,” she said. “I thought it was such a brilliant idea to bring together a group of writers with many different voices to share their work and experience with each other.”

For Tetreault, events like the brunch are about “reaching more people, making more connections between the Philadelphia reading and writing communities.”

The readers

Authors who read at the brunch included McCreary, Black, Hilary Plum, Kevin Grauke, Annie Liontas, Sarah Etter, Nathaniel Popkin, Wint Huskey, Jamie Fountaine and Josh Isard.

Popkin addressed the oft-expressed worry that the local culture of books and literature is too fragmented and diffuse.

“The Philadelphia literary world is much larger and richer than most people realize,” he said, “and events like this one can bring a lot of different strands together.”

Plum moved to Philadelphia one and a half years ago, and met Tetreault at an event for the journal “Asymptote.”

“The Philadelphia literary scene is very welcoming,” she said. “After showing up at a few events, I was asked to attend another and then another.”

Cross-promotion

Sarah Holmes is one of the organizers of Philly Maker Week, a five-day event that invited “makers” throughout the city’s tech, craft, arts, artisan and manufacturing worlds to host individual events showcasing the Philadelphia scene.

She was also at Pretzel Park on Saturday.

“There are a lot of people in Philadelphia making things that are really great, but making can be a solitary activity and the culture of making is often very disjointed as a result,” she said. “Philly Maker Week is a way for people to come together and get to know each other, make connections, collaborate and appreciate all the creativity this city fosters.”

Holmes initiated Philly Maker Week along with Angie Hilem of NextFab Studio and Cory Donovan of Project Liberty Digital Incubator.

For its first year, organizers focused on reaching out to owners of brick-and-mortar operations for hosting events.

In the future, Philly Maker Week will offer a full week of events culminating in a city-wide maker fair.

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