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35 Word Contest Reading TOMORROW NIGHT

Tomorrow night, it all draws to a close! We’ve had an outstanding turn out and we’re getting together for the finale. Whether you’re a finalist or just a fan, come join us as we hear our 35 finalists read their selected pieces, and then announce the winners! We’ve got some lovely prizes to give away.


Where: Nox Cocktail Lounge, 302 Goodman Street North

When: TOMORROW, 7pm


We’ll see you there!



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Scholarships Available for SummerWrite

SummerWrite provides week-long, full and half day creative and innovative camps for readers and writers ages 5-18. Writers & Books offers classes on all kinds of topics, from Improv to Percy Jackson to Fairytales to Wordplay to Fan Fiction, and more!


At Writers & Books, we are committed to making our programs available to all students, regardless of income level. This summer, Rochester City School District students automatically qualify for scholarships. 


For more information visit:


To download scholarship application:


Questions or comments?

Email or call Sarah Brown

(585) 473-2590 ext 110

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35 Word Story Contest!

In order to celebrate Writers & Books’ 35th anniversary, we are launching a very short story contest where the only rule is that you must use exactly 35 words! It’s that simple. Test your creative wits and see what potential lies in only 35 words. Submit one story or submit ten, write in prose or write poetry, whatever you choose–the only rule is that you have to use 35 words!

There are two really easy ways to submit your stories–electronically or in person. To submit electronically, simply email submissions to, including your name in the email, and that’s it! To submit in person, we have a submission box located inside Writers & Books and postcards with information about the contest to write your story on. Feel free to stop by and take a few, working on them as you choose, as long as you submit them before the deadline!

The deadline for submissions is May 6th, 2016. There will be a reading June 6th where anyone and everyone who submitted should come and read their 35 word masterpieces, and listen to others. We will officially announce the winners then!

Prizes will include being published in our catalog and a choice of some limited edition W&B 35th anniversary swag, including tote bags and pins!

Any questions can be emailed to, or call Sarah Brown at 473-2590 ext. 110

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The Importance of a Story

The following blog post was written by our Executive Director, Joe Flaherty.

We are, as the author Jonathan Gottschall, expostulates in his book of the same title, The Storytelling Animal, natural storytellers. Story, whether it be in oral or written form, is how we make sense of this world we find ourselves in, how we pass along knowledge and values to ourselves and future generations, how we learn about others, and how we try out other people’s lives and learn about other cultures. It is the way in which we can crawl inside the skin of others and see the world through their eyes. In story are expressed our individual and collective hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations… Stories help us understand and find our way in the world.

As countries, as religions, as families, and as individuals, we have our narratives, our myths, whether they are true or not. They tell us how our group is the best, the strongest, the most moral, the chosen ones. They tell us how we overcame suffering to get where we are today; they give us a sense of belonging and purpose.

The most literal, and at the same time, most metaphorical example I’ve ever heard about the power and importance of storytelling was related to me a number of years ago by the poet, Gary Snyder. He told me about how, during a trip to the Australian outback, he and a number of his fellow travelers had retained the services of an Aboriginal guide to lead them through the desert. The guide started reciting a story as soon as they started walking toward the Range Rover that would drive them to their eventual destination. After they had climbed in the vehicle, and the vehicle started to move forward, the guide began speaking much faster, but would slow down again if the vehicle ever slowed down. Snyder eventually figured out what was going on, he told me, and then had his speculations verified after the journey by Australians knowledgeable about this subject. It seemed that because there were so few visible markers to guide them through the deserts, the native inhabitants had developed and memorized stories, told in real time, that would guide them on their journies. When they got to a certain part of the story they might find some water, or some shade, within a near distance. Or, perhaps, at that part in the narrative theyhad to turn in a different direction. These travel directions were intended to be recited at the speed of walking, so that when the guide suddenly found himself in a moving vehicle, he had to greatly speed up his recitation if he was to have any hope of finding his, and their, way.

Story is crucial to us, we could not exist without it. As important to us as air, food, and water. And at certain moments in our lives, even more so….

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Neverwhere: A Book Review

The following blog was written by staff member Tate DeCaro.

Our Writers & Books Young Professionals book club, the Book Thieves, is currently in the midst of reading Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman, our 5th out of 6 books of the year. And I recently found out that the book is actually a companion novelization of a BBC television series from the late 90’s, also by Neil Gaiman. I watched a clip of the show and it was certainly very BBC 1990’s – i.e., low budget. (I know this because I traveled around England in 1997, and got hooked on a couple of very poor quality but completely addictive BBC shows while there!) Still, I’m interested enough to see the origins of the story that I may have to seek out the series and watch some of it online, if possible. In addition, in 2013 Benedict Cumberbatch and James McAvoy, amongst others, did a BBC Radio six-part adaptation of the novel, which I’d love to hear.

neverwhere1       9781471316487

For now, though, I’m listening to the Audible version, which is narrated by the author, a hauntingly good reader. I’ve read Neverwhere before many years ago, but don’t recall being quite as sucked in as while listening to Gaiman voice his own characters. Not all writers can also successfully weave the narrative in spoken word, but Gaiman is clearly an expert story-teller, on and off the page. (As a side note, this all makes me feel incredibly jealous of all the kids at Bard College, my alma mater, who get to attend his classes! He joined the Bard faculty in 2014 as a Professor in the Divisions of the Arts and of Languages and Literature.) Production-value wise I’m also enjoying the fact that at certain moments in the text when the main character, Richard Mayhew, is dreaming, they incorporate an echo-y quality to Gaiman’s voice that makes it sound like he’s a in a deep tunnel… which is perfectly appropriate, since the majority of the action takes place underneath London, in “London Below,” a magical and bizarre world that exists under the streets of “London Above.” This is sort of a more scary and dangerous version of Alice in Wonderland – a regular, basically boring person from the “ordinary” world falls down the rabbit hole, or, more likely in this case, the manhole, and enters into a fantastical world where nothing makes sense and everyone seems to know what’s going on but that poor, tiresomely normal person from above.

This is the Book Thieves’ YA read of the year, and I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on it next month. If you’re interested in joining us, we meet at 7pm on September 3 at Writers & Books. Thieves bring themed food and drink to the meetings… so I’m anticipating some British delicacies that hopefully have more to do with “London Above,” because “London Below” food seems to mostly mean roasted cat, and cottage cheese and lettuce sandwiches.

Next up for the Book Thieves is The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, which we’ll be reading in two parts and meeting on November 5 & December 3 for. For more information find us on Facebook (Book Thieves, social group).