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True Tales About Libraries From 12 Celebrated Writers and Storytellers

Read 650 300x300Read650 kicks off National Library Week with “My Library,” a dozen five-minute true tales about libraries on Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m. at the Ossie Davis Theater in the New Rochelle Public Library, 1 Library Plaza, New Rochelle, NY.

Can you imagine a world without libraries?
Their destruction (think Alexandria, Egypt) has haunted civilization for eons. And their creation (hats off to Mr. Carnegie) has helped civilization progress past its many tragedies.

Libraries have made the world we live in possible. And on Sunday, April 7—at the New Rochelle Public Library, of course—a dozen esteemed and practiced children of libraries will pay homage to the places that have nurtured them as writers and as human beings.

The conduit for these brief-but-powerful readings (five minutes each, 650 words tops) is making its fifth appearance at the library: “My Library” is a showcase production of the popular spoken-word series Read650 that, for the past five years, has attracted top writers, playwrights, memoirists—Pulitzer Prize winners and first-timers—to read their works before standing-room-only audiences across the Metropolitan region.

“My Library” celebrates the invaluable role libraries play in transforming lives and communities in cities, towns, schools, and campuses—public spaces where people of all backgrounds can come together and connect. They are true stories of books, sheltering nooks, and furtive looks.

Edward McCann, founder of Read650, says he received a record number of submissions for this event. “The topic really resonated with people,” adds McCann, “and there was passion in those pages. Our editorial committee winnowed nearly a hundred essays to the dozen we’re presenting, and it’s a very strong lineup.”
“My Library” will be presented on Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m. in the Ossie Davis Theater in the New Rochelle Public Library, 1 Library Plaza, New Rochelle, NY. The program is made possible with support from the Friends of the New Rochelle Public Library, the New Rochelle Public Library Foundation, and the New Rochelle Council on the Arts. A minimum donation of $10 is suggested at the door, and a reception will follow the show.


• Read650 is a showcase for writers and a celebration of the spoken word. A non-profit literary forum launched in 2014, each spoken word event is organized around a single broad topic that invites a range of expression. Submissions are limited to 650 words and read aloud within five minutes. Performances are live-streamed and recorded for broadcasts and podcasts, and are added to a growing digital archive of writers reading their work aloud.

• Friends of the New Rochelle Public Library generates dollars through extraordinary hands-on efforts in “recycling” books and other materials—money that funds nearly five hundred public programs conducted at the main library each year.

• The New Rochelle Public Library Foundation raises funds and provides advocacy to keep the library vibrant, up-to-date, and able to serve the diverse needs of the New Rochelle community.

• The New Rochelle Council on the Arts stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts. Throughout the year, NRCA sponsors many exhibitions, theatrical productions, dance recitals, film screenings, lectures, and concert series.

The Cast

Krystia Basil has been a producer in the film and television industry since 2005. In 2015 she co-founded the company Poplewaca Productions through which she develops scripts and show concepts. She was inspired to write for children after having two of her own. Her first children's picture book will be released in the fall of this year. Originally from Chennai, India, she has been trying to figure out being a ”New Yorker’ for the last fifteen years.

Cindy Clement Carlson has lived in Sandy Hook, Connecticut for eighteen years. She was at work in the Sandy Hook School Library Media Center on the day of the December 2012 shooting. All three of her children attended SHS and her daughter was present on that day.

Lynn Edelson, a special educator and family trainer in the New York State Early Intervention Program, is the mother of two grown sons—a writer and a musician—and says she’s fairly certain neither one will ever buy her a beach house. In 2016 she was selected for the New York City cast of the Listen To Your Mother show, and studies memoir at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College.

Barbara Josselsohn is a freelance writer and novelist whose articles and essays appear in the New York Times, Parents magazine, American Baby magazine, Writer’s Digest, and Westchester magazine. Her novel is The Last Dreamer, and Barbara teaches novel writing at the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute and other venues.

David Masello began his career as a nonfiction book editor at Simon & Schuster and held senior editorial positions at many magazines, including Travel & Leisure, Art & Antiques, and Town & Country. He’s currently executive editor of Milieu, a magazine about design and architecture. He’s a widely published essayist and poet, with pieces appearing in the New York Times, Salon, Best American Essays, and numerous literary and art magazines.

Edward McCann is an award-winning writer/producer and the founder and editor of Read650, a literary forum that celebrates the spoken word with live events in New York City and elsewhere. A frequent contributor to Milieu magazine, Ed’s features and essays have been published in many literary journals, anthologies, and national magazines, including the Sun, Country Living, the Irish Echo, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping and others.

Jeffrey Podolsky, a graduate of Brown University, has worked as a reporter and editor at People magazine, George magazine, Tatler magazine in London as well as the Sunday Times Magazine of London. He was a founding editor of WSJ. magazine, has written about men's style at Barron's, and appeared as a commentator on He is a frequent contributor to W magazine, Vanity Fair, and T: the New York Times Style Magazine.

Andi Rosenthal is the author of the novel The Bookseller’s Sonnets, which was a Hadassah Brandeis Institute book club selection and a National Jewish Book Council “Book of Note.” Andi has published personal essays in Kveller, ScaryMommy, and Reform Judaism magazine. She most recently published a selection of poetry in The Westchester Review. In her professional life, Andi serves as a community mobilizer for UJA-Federation of New York and is also an accomplished musician.

Sandi Sonnenfeld writes fiction, personal essays, and narrative journalism. With the publication of her memoir, This Is How I Speak: The Diary of a Young Woman, Sandi was named a 2002 Celebration Author by the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, which recognizes writers whose work merits special notice. Her writing has appeared in more than thirty literary magazines and anthologies.

Derin Tanyol is a curator who lives in the Hudson Valley. She has a Ph.D. in Art History and has published on 19th- and 20th-century art in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Word & Image, and 19th-Century Art Worldwide, as well as a monograph on French Surrealist Georges Malkine. She received Fulbright, Kress, and Chateaubriand scholarships for two years of research in Paris, where she discovered pastry products of superior flakiness to their American counterparts—leading to a second career as a pastry chef.

Dwight Watson’s writing appears in journals including The Chronicle Review, Ars Medica: A Journal of Medicine, the Arts and Humanities., Still Point Arts Quarterly, The Dead Mule Society of Southern Literature, Review Americana, Poydras Review, and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. He is Professor of Theater Emeritus and Lafollette Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Wabash College.

Sarah Bracey White is a writer, teacher, and arts consultant. A graduate of Morgan State University and the University of Maryland, she’s a former Inaugural Fellow at The Purchase College Writers Center. Published work includes Primary Lessons: A Memoir; The Wanderlust: A South Carolina Folk Tale, and Feelings Brought to Surface, a poetry collection. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Baltimore Afro American and the Journal News.

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