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Arts Word on the street

News and notes from the San Antonio Literary scene

The don’t-miss literary event of the winter months belongs to Gemini Ink, which is bringing Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward P. Jones to town in honor of Black History Month. Jones, author of The Known World, which garnered a National Book Critics Circle award as well as the Pulitzer for fiction, will give a free public reading, 7 p.m. Thursday, February 2, at the San Pedro Playhouse, 800 W. Ashby. Free parking available and no reservations required.

Don’t like free? For $50 you can attend Gemini’s lunchtime colloquium at noon, Friday, February 3, at the Bright Shawl Restaurant, 819 Augusta. Much-loved Trinity English professor Colleen Grissom will yield the inquisitor’s chair to Express-News columnist Cary Clack, who will interview Jones and moderate a Q&A with the audience. The lunch also includes Dramatic Readers Theater excerpts from local playwright Sterling Houston’s Black and Blue. All proceeds benefit Gemini Ink’s programs. For reservations, call 734-9673.

If you like to be on the business end of the writing utensil, it’s not too late to sign up for Craft and Conversation, a Gemini Ink Master Class with Jones, 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, February 1, at Gemini, 513 S. Presa. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience,” says Gemini Director Rosemary Catacalos. The Known World was Jones’ first full-length novel, penned after he was laid off from his full-time job, so the workshop is sure to be inspiring as well. For more info, call 734-9673 or visit geminiink.org.

If you like historical mysteries of the unwitting-gumshoe variety, you’re in luck as well. In our knapsack this month is The Night Journal, by Austin author Elizabeth Crook. Crook will be at The Twig, 5005 Broadway, February 8 to promote her new book, which goes on sale February 6.

It takes a while to warm up to Crook’s protagonist, Meg Mabry, a no-nonsense engineer who isn’t terribly interested in her family’s considerable historical and literary legacy — or, for that matter, in her wildly colorful grandmother, Bassie, who nonetheless intends to will Meg a home in South Austin. (I think we could all use a relative like Bassie.) But a trip out west to save some old dog bones from the bulldozer of progress finally drags Meg and us into the mystery of her great-grandfather’s disappearance and her great-grandmother’s journals, which are fascinating, if somewhat anachronistic because of that contemporary urge to give fictional heroes and heroines modern mores when it comes to sensitive topics such as racism. But if great-grandmother’s prose occasionally rings false and Meg’s flat personality fails to excite you, Crook’s entertaining narrative and Bassie’s iron-willed eccentricity do work some quiet magic. For more info on Crook’s appearance, call The Twig, 826-6411.

Elaine Wolff


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