Literary Event: First Draft Book Club| Patricia Engel’s “Infinite Country”

Join the First Draft Book Club as they virtually welcome USA Today Books Editor, Barbara VanDenburgh to discuss May’s Changing Hands staff pick.

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel is a New York Times bestseller that follows Talia, a young girl being held in a Colombian correctional facility.

Against a ticking clock, Talia must devise a plan to meet up with her father, where their departure to the United States will bring renewed hope and safety for their family. Weaving Talia’s current story with the events of her parents Mauro and Elena’s lives, Infinite Country brings together various timelines against a backdrop of civil unrest and the reality of undocumented life.

Register for the First Draft Book Club here.


Location: Online

Date: Saturday, May 29th, 2021

Time: 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Price of Ticket: FREE

Literary Event: Write Here, Write Now | Lynn Melnick: “Writing Truth from Memory”

Independent Bookstore Day is April 30! What is a sufficient way to celebrate all the bookishly amazing qualities of the independent literary community? Besides visiting your local bookstore, you can attend Changing Hands Bookstore’s online writing workshop.

Changing Hands offers a monthly writing workshop online called “Write Here, Write Now” in partnership with Phoenix College and ASU’s Piper Center for Creative Writing.

This month’s session “Writing Truth from Memory” focuses on the use of our memory as a means to tell stories, how we can harness and change our memories in storytelling, and how memories ultimately contribute to our work. The session includes poetry readings from Shane McCrae, Danielle Pafunda, and Adrienne Su to demonstrate the role of memory within writing and how we can utilize it in telling the truth.

Additionally, the event includes a 30-minute crash course on creative writing—including a writing prompt and dedicated time to write and read your work to the group. 

Let’s celebrate Independent Bookstores Day in style by exploring our creative side and taking the role of author; to register, click here.


Location: Online

Date: Monday, April 26, 2021

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Price of Ticket: $5.00 (+$1.24 Fee)

Literary Event: Megan Whalen Turner in Conversation with Shannon Hale

Join Megan Whalen Turner, author of the New York Times bestselling Queen’s Thief series, and Shannon Hale, author of Kind of a Big Deal in conversation virtually on April 8th at 5:30pm.

Turner’s long-awaited Return of The Thief marks the conclusion of a twenty-years-in-the-making story of thief Eugenides. Hale has published over 30 books including the fantasy novels The Goose Girl and Book of a Thousand Days.

This event, hosted by Changing Hands Bookstore, has free admission tickets plus ticket and book bundles that are still available! For more information, and to register for this event, visit the Changing Hands Bookstore site here.


Location: Online

Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2021

Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Price of Ticket: Free (with optional book and ticket bundle available)

Literary Event: Laini Taylor in Conversation with Sabaa Tahir

Changing Hands Bookstore will be hosting a virtual conversation with acclaimed author Laini Taylor as she celebrates the tenth anniversary of her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. The National Book Award finalist will be in conversation with Sabaa Tahir, author of A Sky Beyond the Storm, the final book in the Ember in the Ashes quartet.

This event will take place next Thursday, January 28 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Attendance is free, and the first 50 people to purchase a book with their ticket will have their bookplates personalized by Ms. Taylor. For more information about this event, and to purchase tickets, click here.


Location: Online

Date: Thursday, January 28, 2021

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Price of Ticket: Free (optional VIP tickets available)

The 2021 Tucson Festival of Books


Have you been itching to find new books and connect with fellow book lovers and authors? If so, mark your calendar for Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7, 2021! On those days, the Tucson Festival of Books will take place. This year, the organizers of the event have adapted to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and are excited to offer a new, all-virtual experience for readers like you. 

The two-day event will take place completely online and will showcase live author events for adults and children from many categories. In addition, it will feature familiar venues, such as the Arizona Daily Star stage, the Pima County Public Library Nuestras Raíces stage, and the Western National Parks and Science stage. Most content will be provided live or with live Q&A, with select sessions on demand.

The event creators are very enthusiastic to provide a safe yet engaging experience in the midst of the cancellation of last year’s festival due to the pandemic. “We value the safety of the Tucson community and are excited to share this immersive, virtual experience with all book lovers and fans of the Tucson Festival of Books,” festival executive director Melanie Morgan said in a statement to thisistucson.com. 

When March arrives, don’t miss this amazing, one-of-a-kind festival! More information about the festival can be found here.


Location: Online
Date: Saturday, March 6, and Sunday, March 7

Literary Event: ASU Undergraduate Writers Showcase

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing will be hosting their fourth annual ASU Undergraduate Writers Showcase on November 19, 2020. Join fellow ASU faculty and students as they support emerging voices in the undergraduate writing community.

Six talented writers will be sharing their work at the live reading. You can view their bios and learn more about them here. This event is a great opportunity to show your support for ASU’s undergraduate writing community and discover impressive contemporary voices.

The event will take place over Zoom and is free to attend. The reading will be open to the public but “seats” are limited, so be sure to reserve a spot through the link provided below.

For more information, or to reserve your spot, click here. We look forward to seeing you there!


Location: Zoom
Date: November 19, 2020
Time: 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Fractured Fairy Tales: How to Fix Humpty Dumpty Even if You’re a King’s Horse with James Riley

Most of us grew up reading Fairy Tales. They are both bizarre and alluring and for many of us, they continue to interest us well into our adulthood. Best-selling author James Riley takes an in-depth look at fairy tales: why they are so strange, the logic within them, and why we are so fascinated by them.

Riley has written his own collection of fairy tales, which he will use to illustrate some of their most peculiar features. If you’re interested in learning more about fairy tales, this event might be perfect for you!


Date: September 23, 2020
Location: Zoom
Time: 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

To RSVP and for more information, click here!

Creative Justice Youth Symposium

If you are interested in creative writing and social justice, this event might be perfect for you! This symposium will center around using creative writing as a tool for community-building, as well as for resilience. It is for anyone between the ages of 13–24 and will include panels, workshops, and time for people from the community to share their experiences. Aliento and RE:Frame Youth Arts Center have partnered together to create this event.

Tuesday’s theme is “Words that Heal,” Wednesday’s is “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action,” and Thursday’s is “Undoing to Become: Uplifting the Body, Living the Word.” This is a free event, but you must RSVP in advance because space is limited. It will be a time of reflection, learning and growth. We hope to see you there!


Date(s): July 14–16, 2020
Location: Online
Time: 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

To RSVP and for more information, click here!

Literary Event: Online Writing Exercises from Author and Professor Matt Bell

Are you interested in investing some time in your writing now that you have some extra time at home on your hands? In the age of the internet, it can feel like an infinite amount of learning is at our fingertips—but something about the vastness of search engine results can make finding the right resource daunting. Luckily, ASU’s own Professor Matt Bell has a new feature on his website where he sends writing exercises right to your inbox. These exercises often make reference to a published piece of fiction and so far have ranged from writing suspense to character development.

To sign up for the writing exercises, and to check out the existing exercises, visit Matt Bell’s website here.  

Online Literature Resources for Staying at Home

So, we are in our homes. There’s no getting around that. While going outside in the sunshine is great, and I definitely enjoy a long, leisurely afternoon walk, a new free-time inspired exercise regime is unlikely to happen in my world. I much prefer to curl up in a cozy sweater on a soft bank of pillows with a cup of tea and a good book. I don’t often get a chance to do this, as many of us don’t. Our lives are busy, and reading for pleasure can become a luxury which falls by the wayside.

Right now, many of us are being given a moment of pause from the to and fro of our normal lives. While this can be scary and intimidating, it can also be a time for us to reconnect. We have a moment to rediscover those things about which we are passionate. For us bibliophiles and lovers of literature, that is books and anything to do with the books. With many bookstores and libraries closed, the normal venues where we get our fix seem out of reach. To remedy this situation, authors, publishers, and book lovers the world over are uniting to establish a strong online literary community.

Many bookstores are providing curbside and online shopping via web stores or social media. Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe and Phoenix will assemble a custom book care package tailored just for you or someone you love. This is just one of the many offerings being made by local bookstores—so be sure to check your local listings and see what’s available near you. Although live, in-person events have been canceled or postponed, book tours and public literary lectures are being moved to web-based platforms for home viewing. Libraries and online magazines are offering their archives for free. A simple web search will bring you hundreds of resources, at your fingertips, for your reading pleasure. Use this time of interlude and rekindle your fire for the written word! Here are a few links to get you started:

Literary Links

  1. https://www.quarantinebookclub.com/ – The Quarantine Book Club is a Zoom-based platform which hosts weekly author events. Their tag-line, “You’re stuck at home. Chat with an author,” pretty much sums up how it works. In the meetings, authors discuss their work and answer audience questions.
  2. http://www.gutenberg.org/ – Project Gutenberg is an online library with over 60,000 books in a wide-range of subjects. These books are free for download or online viewing.
  3. https://lithub.com/author/thevirtualbookchannel/ – Lit Hub’s Virtual Book Channel hosts live-stream author events, including interviews, literary festivals, and even book launches.
  4. https://electricliterature.com/ – Electric Literature is a nonprofit digital publisher whose website contains essays, criticism, and literary news. Along with this content, Electric Lit’s digital magazines, Recommended Reading and The Commuter offer short stories, novel excerpts, poetry, flash fiction, and graphic narrative.

For the Kids

  1. https://www.storylineonline.net/ – Storyline Online is a streaming platform which hosts celebrity actors reading children’s books aloud alongside colorful illustrations. Readers such as Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, James Earl Jones, and Betty White bring children’s stories to life. The site also offers supplemental educational curriculum developed by educators with each book.
  2. https://www.weareteachers.com/virtual-author-activities/ – We Are Teachers virtual community has gathered its “Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read-Alouds & Activities” here. Many of these events are available via social media, and accessible using your smartphone or other mobile device.