A Night of Literary Debutantes
Volunteer Andrea attends One Story’s Literary Debutante Ball.
Last week, the vast, converted factory building that contains Brooklyn’s Invisible Dog Art Center hosted a boisterous crowd of hundreds intent on celebrating One Story’s ten years of publication and their Literary Debutante Ball. Seven authors previously published in One Story had their debuts in book form this year. Ramona Ausubel, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Caitlin Horrocks, Katherine Karlin, Miroslav Penkov, Anna Solomon and Arlaina Tibensky were honored in red carpet fashion.
The One Story crowd also celebrated the work of Ann Patchett. One Story gave Patchett the Literary Fairy Godmother Award for her efforts to help others. Patchett is the author of six novels, two non-fiction works and numerous articles. Most recently, she and business partner Karen Hayes opened an independent bookstore, Parnassus Books, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Patchett was introduced by Patrick Ryan, a long-time friend. Ryan is also the author of the first issue of One Teen Story which debuted at the Ball. Ryan regaled the audience with stories from his shared literary past with Patchett who he said insisted that “You can’t make someone’s career. You can only give them a hand up.” Patchett had given Ryan a hand up some years before, and he seemed to be on the lookout for new ways to thank her. Patchett took the stage to speak about kindness to others and the importance of independent bookstores. She encouraged the audience to seek ways to give back and to be fairy godmothers.
The evening also included a silent auction of art inspired, created or donated by writers. One piece that caused a buzz was a photograph of One Story co-editor Hannah Tinti with a lampshade on her head. Sadly, I did not find out which Ball attendee won this avant-garde prize. Auctioned art supported One Story’s mission to celebrate the short story and promote the best new voices in contemporary literature.