My Events

(come on out and join the fun)




Shakespeare Events this Fall

He doesn't look at all like the Earl of OxfordNot only am I embracing Charles Dickens this Fall.  I’m also doing a lot of Shakespeare work.  I recently became president of the Oak Lane Shakespeare Club, founded in 1908 and dedicated to reading Shakespeare’s plays aloud.  We get together a couple times a month, divide up the parts  and read entire plays to each other.  It’s great fun and it is surprising how much resonance the plays have when you speak and hear them.  A great experience.  

And because reading the plays aloud with friends twice a month isn’t enough for me, I’m starting a Shakespeare Book Club at the Jenkintown Library that will meet monthly to discuss the plays.  Our first meeting is Thursday, Oct 13 at 7:30Pm.  We’ll be talking about Macbeth

However, I have also been growing very uneasy about the Shakespeare authorship controversy that just never seems to go away.  And now there’s a film coming out by Roland Emmerich (of Independence Day and Godzilla fame) calledEmmerich on the set of Anonymous Anonymous that tells the outrageous story of  how Shakespeare was just a drunken country bumpkin who fronted for the true author, Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford.  Now, I know films are fictional, no matter how true they claim to be, but misleading literary history always bothers me, especially when it does real damage to an author’s literary legacy (an issue I’ve been fighting for years regarding Edgar Allan Poe).  So, I’ve decided that enough is enough and along with many other Shakespeare scholars and professionals, I’m going to fight this nonsense as best I can.  So far, I’m giving two talks at local libraries, Jenkintown and Abington, and am trying to organize a debate/discussion event at the Free Library of Philadelphia, but I may have lost my debate partner who took great exception to my provocative style of press releases (I told him I was a literary provocateur).  More on this event as soon as I put it together.  

But my two local library talks are still a go.  Here’s the info.  Or you can check out the events pages on Facebook: Jenkintown Library on Sept 15 and Abington Library on Nov 1. 

Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare or “Shakespeare Was Too Dumb To Have Written All Those Plays” and other nonsensical claims of Shakespearean authorship. 

The evidence that William Shakespeare of Stratford was the author of the works that bear his name has always been so overwhelming that Shakespearean scholars have rarely bothered to engage those few, those very few, who have claimed that Francis Bacon or the Earl of Oxford or Christopher Marlowe or fill-in-the-blank were the true authors of the plays and poems. However, the fictional controversy persists. And now comes Anonymous, a big budget Hollywood movie directed by Roland Emmerich that will further disseminate the phony controversy that Shakespeare was just a dumb country bumpkin who could not have been a literary genius.

Well, enough is enough! Come hear literary historian Edward Pettit put an end to all this nonsense and detail the history of one of the strangest conspiracy theories of all time. 

To attend the event at the Jenkintown Library on Sept 15, please call 215-884-0593 to register. 

To attend the event at the Abington Library on Nov 1, please call 215-885-5180 to register.  


Ruth Abel Book and Film Discussion Group

Another Book Club season begins at the Abington Library.  I'll be leading the discussions again.  Our schedule this Fall:

Wed Sept 21: Winter's Bone (the film)

Wed Oct 19: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Wed Nov 30: The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

All events at 7PM.

Come join us for some lively talk.  To register please call the Abington Library at 215-885-5180, ext. 15 or email


Ruth Abel Book Discussion Group

The second half of the Ruth R Abel Memorial Book and Film Discussion Group is almost upon us.  For the past few years, I've had the privilege of leading this group and I'm excited for our next three meetings. 

Next week, March 23 at 7PM, we'll be discussing Charles Portis' True Grit (recently masterfully adapted into a film by the Cohen Brothers). 

Next month, April 27 at 7PM, we'll be talking about former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins' Sailing Alone around the Room

On May 25 at 7PM we'll wrap up the season with Peter Carey's Parrot and Olivier in America.

For more info check out the Abington Library

I would love to see some new faces.


Register for this FREE series

in the Library Office, Abington Free Library

1030 Old York Road, Abington, PA 19001

call 215-885-5180, ext. 15 or email Karen Burnham 


Chestnut Hill Book Festival

I'll be part of the Liars Club panel at the Chestnut Hill Book Festival on Sat July 10 at 6PM. 

More info and a schedule at the Liars Club site or at the Chestnut Hill site.

The Festival looks great this year.  I'm looking forward to more than just our event.  Some of the other Liars will be reading and discussing their work at their own panels:

Solomon Jones on Sat at 2PM

Gregory Frost on Sat at 2PM and 7PM and Sun at Noon, 1PM and 2PM (he's a busy guy this year)

Dennis Tafoya on Sat at 4PM

LA Banks on Sat at 7PM

plus lots of great authors.  See you there.


Poetry at Abington Library

My last event of April is this Wednesday, April 28, 7PM at the Abington Free Library.  For the last coupleElizabeth McFarland of years I've had the privilege of being the discussion leader for the Ruth R Abel Memorial Book and Film Discussion.  And of course, for April, we concentrate on poetry.  For this one, I've chosen a little known poet whose only collection was a posthumous publication by a small press.  Elizabeth McFarland's Over the Summer Water:

As the poetry editor of the Ladies Home Journal from 1948-1962, Elizabeth McFarland, "published some 900 poems by authors like Maxine Kumin, Randall Jarrell, W. H. Auden, John Updike, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and Marianne Moore," as an article in the New York Times  noted in  2005.

Her husband, Daniel Hoffman, is an accomplished poet in his own right (he was the US Poet Laureate in 1973-74) and I've gotten to know him a bit in my Poe adventures (we were on the same program at this Poe event).  I discovered McFarland's poetry a couple years ago at an event in her honor with Hoffman reading her works. 

So if you're free on Wed night, come on by to Abington Library and discover a wonderful poet.