Marisa de los Santos, Mary Norris & Charles Finch on tonight’s Literary New England Radio Show

Don’t miss the hour we’ll spend tonight at 8 pm with two New York Times best-selling novelists and a Common Queen. We’ll also give away the books we feature, as we talk with:

  • Marisa de los Santos. Her newly released novel The Precious One tells the story of half-sisters Taisy and Willow, told from their
    alternating points of view. Brought together by their father, it’s a
    book about family secrets, lost love and dangerous obsession.
  • Mary Norris. A copy editor at The New Yorker for more than 30 years, her warm and humorous memoir Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen is not so much about a need for perfect grammar, but about a love for words and language.
  • Charles Finch. His stand-alone novel The Last Enchantments
    came out in paperback earlier this month. In it, a Yale grad whose work
    in politics leads to disappointment finds himself caught in a whirlwind
    of unexpected friendships, and romantic entanglements, that threaten
    his safe plans.

Hosted by Cindy Wolfe Boynton. Visit the Literary New England blog
for more book giveaways, author talk, event information and to listen
to past episodes – book-tatstic updates posted regularly!

Save the date: 4/30 Tweet chat & book giveaways w/@ErikaRobuck & @SarahMMcCoy!


Save the date! We’ll be hosting a Tweet chat with Erika Robuck & Sarah McCoy from 8-9 pm EST Thursday, April 30, and giving away copies of their new novels, The House of Hawthorne and The Mapmaker’s Children! Plan to use the #LNEChat hashtag and join us!

The these two lovely authors will also be doing a joint reading and signing on Thursday, May 7, at 7 pm at Concord Books, 65 Main St., Concord, Mass. …. uber-Lit New England wonderfulness!

Young Skins author  Colin Barrett brings ‘singular voice in contemporary fiction’ to East Coast

Irish writer Colin Barrett, winner of the 2014 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, will be in Massachusetts and other East locations over the next two weeks for readings and signings to support his lyrical short story collection Young Skins:

  • 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, at Newtonville Books in Newton Centre, Mass., where he’ll appear with Single, Carefree, Mellow author Katherine Heiny
    7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan, where he’ll appear with novelist and short story writer Sam Lipsyte
  • 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 2, at the Tattooed Mom in Philadelphia, as part of the Tire Fire Reading Series with several other authors

Called “a stunning debut” written by a “singular voice in contemporary fiction,” Young Skins earned rave reviews in the United Kingdom and Ireland and is now earning similar praise in the US. It consists of six stories and a novella. Set in the small, fictional town of Glanbeigh, the stories bring to life the jilted Jimmy, whose best friend, Tug, is the town terror and Jimmy’s sole company in his search for the missing Clancy kid; Bat, a lovesick soul with a face like “a bowl of mashed-up spuds” even before Nubbin Tansey’s boot kicked it in; and Arm, a young and desperate criminal whose fate is shaped when he and his partner, Dympna, fail to carry out a job.

Also the winner of the 2014 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and 2014 Guardian First Book Award, Barrett–who worked for a Dublin-based mobile phone company before he went back to college to study creative writing–spoke about the influence his growing-up years played in his debut, among other topics:

Do aspects of your childhood in County Mayo appear in your writing?
The landscape, people and community influenced me. But above all, it’s a place to draw from in terms of language–the cadences, as well as the ingenuity and wryness and coded density of the vernacular. And the language of young people, which is a code within a code. But it took reading southern American writers like Faulkner, Hannah, and O’Connor, and the work of modern Irish writers like Kevin Barry, to realize what I had access to; that I was steeped in a language I could actually put on a page and call writing. Growing up, like most people, I thought literature was “fine writing,” and fine writing was something else to what was dropping out of me and my friends’ mouths.

What’s your reaction to Young Skins having received such significant acclaim?
I know I’m very, very lucky. Lots of books are published every year, and many very good books appear and disappear, as far as the market is concerned. I couldn’t possibly have anticipated the success of Young Skins; its ability to resonate with people. Completing it and getting it put out into the world–initially with my very small Irish publisher–was what everything hinged on for me for several years. I didn’t think beyond that.

The collection contains an ensemble of memorable characters. Do you have a process for creating characters?
I build them in images. Even if I never describe what they look like, I have to see them. And I get the characters interacting with their surroundings. I make them tactile creatures in a tactile environment. Just describing the way a character drinks a drink or drives a car does so much work for you. Actors talk about how much of acting is gestural, about bearing and comportment. A bad actor can’t sit in a chair in a credible way. Same with characters. They can say and do and think crazy things. But you have to be able to put them down into a chair in a credible way.

Many of your characters present themselves as being rough and even violent. Yet their interior voices show a real fragility. Do you think this kind of contradiction is an inherent part of being young?
I think it’s an utterly ubiquitous tension that everyone on the planet at almost all ages feels–that gap, or tension, between inner self and what it is you publicly present to the world. It is what being human is, existing in that interstice. If the gap between inner and outer self was somehow elided, we would all be angels in Eden, essentially, inhumanly connected. We would need not talk, and certainly not write. There is no place for art in a completed world.

Monday, 3/23 book giveaways and interviews with 3 fabulous authors: @OliverBooks, @sylviatrue & @the_carpentrix …


Three books, written by three women, that are as different and compelling as their authors. Tune to the Literary New England Radio Show at 8 pm this Monday, March 23, in for book giveaways and conversations with:

  • Lauren Oliver on Vanishing Girls. An edgy, compelling YA novel by this New York Times bestselling author about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident, and who are searching to find both themselves and each other.
  • Nina MacLaughlin on Hammer Head. A warm and inspiring memoir about Nina’s decision to quit her job sitting behind a desk at a Boston newspaper and apply for a job on Craigslist to become a carpenter’s assistant.
  • Sylvia True on The Wednesday Group. A captivating and moving debut novel about five women who share never-before-told secrets, and bond over painful truths, when they meet at a support group for partners of sex addicts.

Hosted by Cindy Wolfe Boynton.  Check back here regularly for book giveaways, author talk, event information, to listen to past Literary New England Radio Show episodes, and for other book-tatstic stuff!

I think I’m a little in love w/@AndreaLChapin, says @WriterCindyWB, and on 6/3 I can meet her at @PorterSqBooks!


This is Literary New England Radio Show host Cindy Wolfe Boynton writing, and it’s true. I’m smitten with author Andrea Chapin, because she’s crafted the smartest and cleverest and most brilliantly written book, and I’m in love with her The Tutor in every way!! I’m also jealous I’ve never written anything as good! But now, I believe, a literary die has been cast …

Super-excited to hear that Andrea will be coming to New England, I’ve also now circled Wednesday, June 3, in red on my calendar. At 7 pm 6/3, Andrea will read and sign at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass., and you don’t want to miss it!

Andrea, BTW, is an Amherst grad; her husband graduated from Hampshire College; and her mother and sisters are Mount Holyoke grads, so she’s connected to this lovely region in several ways.

In case you haven’t already guessed, I gave The Tutor 5 stars on Goodreads. You can also hear my interview with Andrea in the Literary New England Radio Show archives.

And now, after I post this, I’m going to pour myself a second cup of coffee and read a few of Shakespeare’s sonnets. So …

Adieu! I have too grieved a heart to take a tedious leave. (From Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice)

@annbauerwriter to appear at #MA’s @booksmithtweets 4/7, was reviewed by #LitNewEngland Radio Show host @WriterCindyWB, and so …


Author Anne Bauer – who was born in Boston, taught at Brown and has other New England connections – will appear at Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Mass., at 7 pm Tuesday, April 7. We’re going to do our best to have to have Anne on the show around the time of this visit. But if you want to get a sense of Anne’s latest novel Forgiveness 4 You right now, read this review in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, written by Literary New England Radio Show host Cindy Wolfe Boynton, who also writes and teaches writing.