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“Rochester Reads” 2017 Book Announcement

Writers & Books is proud to announce The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld, as our choice for the 2017 “Rochester Reads” program. Denfeld will be in residence doing readings, book signings and other appearances at local libraries, colleges and senior centers throughout Rochester and the surrounding region from March 29 through 31, 2017.

Visit Rene Denfeld’s website here.

Books available for purchase at the Writers & Books bookstore for $14.95

The Enchanted explores an unexpected enchanted world: a death row in an ancient stone prison. Through the eyes of an inmate who finds escape in books and in re-imagining the life around him is woven a fantastical tale of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Into his world come characters including a fallen priest and a death row investigator, who in her efforts to save inmates from execution, uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honesty and corruption—ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.

Copies of The Enchanted will be available for purchase at Writers & Books this week. 


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Rene Denfeld has written for several publications including the New York Times, the Oregonian, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Before publishing the novel The Enchanted, Denfeld published three non-fiction books: The New Victorians: A Young Woman’s Challenge to the Old Feminist Order; Kill The Body, The Head Will Fall: A Closer Look at Women, Violence, and Aggression; and All God’s Children: Inside the Dark and Violent World of Street Families. In addition to her writing career, Denfeld is a death penalty investigator who works with men and women facing execution. She is also the happy mother of three children adopted from state foster care.

For more information, visit




The Enchanted is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Its exquisitely constructed web is spun in that least exquisite locale, Death Row. The powerful central story arches over multiple, piercing sub-plots, and devastating fables that stare straight into the face of horror. But it is the opposite of depressing; it’s a jubilant celebration that explores human darkness with a profound lyric tenderness and not one jot of sentimentality. It’s probably mad to perceive and convey so much beauty in the midst of the vile, but this particular lunacy is contagious and seductive. The reader comes to see through Denfeld’s strange lens, and to savor the richness of the view long after the final page has turned.”
—Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love

“A striking one-of-a-kind prison novel [with] rich, haunting prose … A stunning first novel from an already accomplished writer.”
Publishers Weekly

The Enchanted wrapped its beautiful and terrible fingers around me from the first page and refused to let go after the last. A wondrous book that finds transcendence in the most unlikely of places, enshrouding horrible things in a gossamer veil of fantasy with a truly unforgettable narrator. So dark yet so exquisite.”
—Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus

The Enchanted is … a testament to the power of words, of language and symbols to reshape one’s reality, and it is an extraordinarily empathetic look at the sorrows and joys of even the worst aspects of human life.”
The Oregonian

“Read this magical book, and prepare to be spellbound.”
Library Journal (starred review)


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Writing Your Summer Adventure at Gell

This summer, consider sending your young writer out of the city and into the hills for camp.


Three upcoming SummerWrite workshops are being held at our second location, The Gell Center, located in Naples, NY. Each camp is slightly different, but at their cores are focused on writing and nature.


Outdoor Writer & Where’s Walden 

Explore with professional writers and naturalists Angie Cannon-Crothers & Edgar Brown, along the Finger Lakes Trail, and observe the natural environment of the area. Campers will try a variety of natural arts activities, both ancient and modern. Create field journals to sketch and write stories, dramatic monologues, and poems probing the past, present, and future of the landscape, plants, and animals. By the end of the week, campers will have created an all-camp anthology.


* The younger Where’s Walden group (ages 9 – 12) and the older Outdoor Writer (ages 13 – 16) group will function as separate classes, but some activities will overlap.

Get more information about Where’s Walden here.

Get more information about Outdoor Writer here.


Hunger Games

Stand TallBased on the popular series by Suzanne Collins, campers will head to the Gell Capitol District for the Hunger Games camp! Each morning, tributes will learn hands-on skills in tracking, shelter building, fire building, wild edibles, and finding food. Their afternoons will be spent engaging in readings, discussion, and activities on social, ethical, and environmental issues facing our present and futuristic world.

On Thursday contestants will begin their game, earning points based on learned skills and trying to snag valuable survival items while they work to protect their personal flag from capture! Under the careful watch of the Gamekeepers, the final event will last well into the evening out in the woods surrounding the Gell Center.

Get more information about the Hunger Games here.