Writing is a lonely activity. Reading is solitary pursuit. That is why Littsburgh is hosting an inaugural happy hour next week to bring those who share those two isolated passions together.
The website is a hub for booksellers, authors, media outlets, and nonprofit organizations who share a love for books. Littsburgh hosts a calendar of author readings, book signings, and posts sample chapters of new books.
“We love Pittsburgh and we know the scene is awesome,” Said Rachel Ekstrom, Littsburgh co-founder. “But we want the world to know, we want people to think of Pittsburgh as a literary destination. This site is a big tool for that.“
Pittsburgh is a social city and one of the top 10 literary cities in America (according to one of those random rakings).
Ever since the launch of the site earlier this year, eager readers have been asking when they’ll host an event. They answered with an email this week:
Citizens of Littsburgh, please join us at Spirit Lodge (242 51st Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 – http://www.spiritpgh.com/spiritlodge/; CASH ONLY) on Tuesday, November 10th from 5:30 to 8:00 pm for $3 drafts and $10 cheese pizza! Pin a limited edition Littsburgh button to your jacket, tell us if you’re reading or working on anything good, and — most importantly — join us in raising a frosty glass of I.C. Light to literary Pittsburgh!
Ekstrom and her Littsburgh co-founders Katie Kurtzman and Nick Courage each have backgrounds in publishing. All three re-located to Pittsburgh from New York City within the past year or so.
”What struck us is not just the wonderful writers and books that come out of Pittsburgh, but there’s publishing professionals. Katie is a book publicist, Nick is a book marketer and author. I’m a literary agent,” said Ekstrom.
She says there are book jacket designers, editors, literary magazines like Creative Nonfiction, wonderful non profits like City of Asylum. That’s on top of the numerous writers, MFA students and professors, independent bookstores, chain bookstores, university bookstores, comic bookstores, publishers, libraries, little free libraries, zines, university presses, poets, journalists, and author readings…the list goes on.
“As a literary agent I want a bird’s eye view of the whole scene here,” said Eckstrom.
She and co-founder Nick Courage conceived of the website. Courage put it together and operates it. He says Pittsburgh always felt like a literary town and that the overwhelming positive response to the website proves it
“It was gratifying. It was something that was already in the air, “said Courage, who is constantly updating the site with people submitting book events and links to book related organizations.
Just this week there are 12 events on the calendar, and 30 book-related events in the area so far for the month of November.
“There are pillars, like the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures series to living room readings,” said Kurtzman. “Hopefully people who only go to small things will start going to the big stuff and there will be cross pollination.”
The three of them plan to use their connections with New York publishing scene to bring more attention to Pittsburgh in the form of author tours and big-name author signings.
They say perhaps down the road it can grow into something bigger.
“If this leads to, perhaps, a wonderful world-class book festival that’s set in Pittsburgh. If other opportunities arise for the literary scene, we would love to be a part of that and make that happen,” said Ekstrom
For now, the site is a labor of love and runs no paid advertisements. They told City Paper in September they’d consider ads that were literary-related.
“We know Pittsburgh has great football, and great technology, we have this cool food scene emerging,” said Ekstrom. “A lot of people know Annie Dillard or Michael Chabon, August Wilson, and David McCullough, but there’s so much beyond that too.”
Littsburgh is a great place to start exploring the literary scene, big and small, blossoming across Pittsburgh.
- Littsburgh is a new online hub of local literary resources (pghcitypaper.com)