By Gina Malone
It’s a brand-new year of captivating words at Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café with a calendar chock full of readings, signing and events.
On Monday, January 8, at 6 p.m., author Cary Gray will participate in a story time, demo and book signing for Luno!, a children’s book about his 20,000-mile unicycle trip through South America. If that’s not impressive enough, he illustrated the book with his feet!
Gray originally intended to backpack through South America when the idea came to him to tour on a unicycle instead. “I had no idea what I was getting into,” he says. “But it quickly became clear that this would be an ever-expanding opportunity for problem-solving, setting and meeting personal goals and bucking convention.” When he sat down to write the book, foot-drawings that had been just for fun until then seemed the natural way to illustrate his adventures. He realized, Gray says, “that this could be used as a vehicle for promoting the idea that anyone has the ability to reach outside of the normal range of experience and try something that seems wild or impossible.”
The book was written for children ages five to eight. “I want kids to laugh and wonder and be reminded of how wild and weird life experiences can be,” Gray says. “I want kids to know in their bones that when you pour your heart into something new and unknown and seemingly impossible, that it is possible.”
Asheville’s Bryan Robinson, author of Daily Writing Resilience: 365 Meditations and Inspirations for Writers, will appear at Malaprop’s with author Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants) on Friday, January 12, at 6 p.m. “This book,” Robinson says, “grounds you through the ups and downs of the writer’s life and frees you from the clutches of writing woes: a lousy review, an impossible deadline, a heartbreaking rejection, impassable writer’s block and the seismic rumble of your own self-doubt.”
On Tuesday, January 30, at 6 p.m., local publisher Orison Books will hold a dual launch of The Long Weeping: Portrait Essays by Jessie van Eerden and Echolalia in Script: A Collection of Asemic Writing by Sam Roxas-Chua.
A starred review by Foreword Reviews describes van Eerden’s essays as being “as much encounters as they are likenesses, as much being seen as seeing.” Van Eerden directs the low-residency MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She is the author of two novels: Glorybound and My Radio Radio.
Roxas-Chua is an Oregon poet and visual artist who owns The Poetry Loft, an organization that promotes poets and writers and offers community writing workshops. He is the author of two books of poetry: Fawn Language and Saying Your Name Three Times Underwater.
Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café is located at 55 Haywood Street in downtown Asheville. To see the full schedule of events for the month or to purchase tickets for special events, visit malaprops.com.