Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

A Curious Matter of Men With Wings Book Launch Party with F. Rutledge Hammes, Sat., Sept. 29, 5 pm

Join us Sat., Sept. 29, 5 pm to celebrate the release of F. Rutledge Hammes’s debut novel A Curious Matter of Men with Wings.

A Curious Matter of Men With Wings tells the story of the Walpole family who fled their sorted past and escaped to one of the nearly 2,000 uninhabited Sea Islands off the Carolina coast. The novel opens with the two Walpole boys taking their little sister out on their johnboat for the first time to pirate the waterways for beer and loose change. In the process, their little sister goes overboard and appears to have drowned, until two men with gigantic wings swoop down and carry her body away into the sky. The news of her disappearance hits the family particularly hard, and the mother goes so far as to fashion herself wings and tries to fly. The Walpole boys set off in search of their little sister and, in the process, discover the truth behind the centuries-old Gullah tale of the Flying Men as well as numerous other mysteries native to the South Carolina Sea Islands.

Hammes himself was born here in the Lowcountry, where he fell in love with the waterways, the people and the folklore that inhabit the Sea Islands. His whole life, he has been writing about the Charleston area and Sea Island culture, and for the past decade, he has been teaching those young writers who will keep our lush storytelling tradition alive. He earned his MFA in fiction from Old Dominion University, has had numerous short stories, essays and poems published in various journals and magazines around the country, and is a contributing writer in several books. He is also the 2019 South Carolina Arts Commission Prose Fellow and is presently Director of the Creative Writing program at Charleston County School of the Arts, the most awarded middle- and high-school writing program in the nation.

Author Luncheon for the Release of Our Prince of Scribes: Authors Remember Pat Conroy, Fri. Sept. 21, 12 pm

Join us Fri., Sept. 21, 12 pm for lunch at Halls Signature Events (5 Faber St.), as we celebrate the release of Our Prince of Scribes (UGA Press, hb., 320 pp., $30), a new anthology of essays on Pat Conroy.

Tickets are $64 for the three-course luncheon and book.

Get tickets here.

Conroy’s was a messy fellowship of people from all walks of life. His relationships were complicated, and people and places he thought he’d left behind often circled back to him at crucial moments. The book’s contributors include Pulitzer Prize winners Rick Bragg and Kathleen Parker; Grammy winners Barbra Streisand and Janis Ian; Lillian Smith Award winners Anthony Grooms and Mary Hood; National Book Award winner Nikky Finney; James Beard Foundation Award winners Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart; a corps of best-selling authors like Ron Rash, Sandra Brown, and Mary Alice Monroe; Conroy biographers Katherine Clark and Catherine Seltzer; longtime Conroy friends Bernie Schein, Cliff Graubart, John Warley, and Walter Edgar; Pat’s students Sallie Ann Robinson and Valerie Sayers; members of the Conroy family; and many more.

Each author in this collection offers a slightly different view of Conroy. Through their voices, a vibrant, multifaceted portrait comes to life and sheds new light on the writer and the man.


Local Book Launch Party for Archive: South Carolina Poetry Since 2005, Sat., Sept. 22, 5 pm

Join us Sat., Sept. 22, 5 pm to celebrate the release of a new poetry anthology called Archive: South Carolina Poetry Since 2005.

Edited by Furman faculty members Gil Allen, Jeffrey Makala and Bill Rogers, Archive: South Carolina Poetry Since 2005 anthologizes the writings of 46 contemporary South Carolina poets. The anthology’s contents were previously published in national poetry journals, chapbooks or single-authored works. As such, the anthology is the best survey and summary of the writings of South Carolina poets since the previously-published 2005 Ninety-Six Press poetry anthology.

Many of the poets selected will be here to promote the book, including: Gil Allen, Mike Bassett, Emily Davis-Fletcher, Linda Ferguson, Vera Gómez, Ann Herlong-Bodman, Ellen Hyatt, Jacquelyn Markham, Rick Mulkey, Frances Pearce, Emily Rosko, and Marjory Wentworth.

For more information about the book, or about the South Carolina poetry archives, contact Kathleen Hamlin at 864-294-2191 and [email protected]

A Bright and Pleading Dagger Book Launch with Nicole Rivas, Sat., Sept. 8, 8 pm

Join us Sat., Sept. 8, 8 pm as Nicole Rivas will be here to read from her debut chapbook of short stories called A Bright and Pleading Dagger (Rose Metal Press, pb., 44 pp., $12).

A dazzling and incisive collection of twelve flash fictions illuminating the varied lives of women and girls, A Bright and Pleading Dagger immerses readers in its subjects’ complex experiences with desire, selfhood, and omnipresent danger. A pizza shop worker goes on a series of visceral dates with her gynecologist; a slighted lover coughs up a forgotten childhood toy; an artist unknowingly becomes the subject of an intrusive admirer’s lust; a woman has a heated staring contest with the world’s oldest man. Powerful and precise, Rivas’ stories highlight the unreality within the real, simultaneously evoking humor, outrage, and awe.

Nicole Rivas is from Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. A Bright and Pleading Dagger is her first chapbook. Her fiction has appeared in Passages NorthThe JournalThe Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. She teaches writing at Georgia Southern University in Savannah. More information can be found at 

Living Waters Book Launch Party with Ed Waldrop, Sat., Sept. 1, 5 pm

Join us Sat., Sept. 1, 5 pm as local photographer and first-time author Ed Waldrop will be here to discuss his debut Living Waters.

Living Waters is the story of AJ McClellan, born in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. He was raised and nurtured along her creeks and waterways. Tragic events in AJ’s young life tested him deeply, but it was the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City that moved him to action. Determined to serve in his country’s defense, AJ joined the Army right out of high school, eventually doing two combat tours in Iraq. He would later leave the Army a broken man, emotionally and spiritually. He lived a vacant life in central Texas until an unexpected death in the family brought him home and began a redemptive journey for him of new life, new love, and new hope.

Ed Waldrop was raised in Charleston, SC, the son of a Navy veteran. Waldrop is an enlisted Air Force veteran himself. He later completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees and became an ordained minister. He served as a VA chaplain from 2003 to 2015, specializing in palliative care and mental health. During that time, he also pursued work toward a doctorate in pastoral care and counseling. Waldrop has worked extensively with combat veterans and their families, as well as with thousands of non-combat veterans suffering in many other ways.

Slow with Brooke McAlary, Wed., Aug. 15, 6 pm

Join us Wed., Aug. 15, 6 pm, as Brooke McAlary will discuss her book Slow (Sourcebooks, hb., 288 pp., $26), hosted by the Ready Club and Jessica Murnane, author of One Part Plant.

Once upon a time, it became clear to Brooke McAlary that the key to happiness was discovering a simpler, more fulfilling existence. She put the brakes on her stressful path, and reorganized her life to live outside the status-quo, emphasizing depth, connection and meaningful experiences. Alongside Brooke’s affirming personal stories of breaking down and rising up, Slow provides practical advice and fascinating insights into the benefits and challenges of the slow life, such as:

―Decluttering to de-owning
―Messiness to mindfulness
―Asking why, to asking where to now?

Slow is an inspirational guide on creating a life filled with the things that really matter, and is meant for anyone seeking peace, meaning, and joy in their otherwise rapid lives. Slowly―of course.

Brooke McAlary is a slow-travelling, gutsy shiraz-appreciating writer who, after being diagnosed with severe post-natal depression in 2011, embarked on a one-woman mission to cut out the excess in her life and reconnect with what was really important. She is now immersed in the Slow Living philosophy, and makes it her mission to help others define and achieve their slow living goals.

She writes the blog Slow Your Home, and hosts and produces the podcast, The Slow Home Podcast. She is currently slow-travelling her way around North America with her family.

Race to Hawaii with Jason Ryan, Sun., Aug. 26, 5 pm

Join us Sun., Aug. 26, 5 pm as local author Jason Ryan will be here to discuss his new book Race to Hawaii (Chicago Review Press, hb., 320 pp., $27).

Today, a trip to Hawaii is a simple six-hour flight from the West Coast, but almost a century ago, it was a nerve-wracking and twenty-six-hour journey across 2,400 miles of the open Pacific. Race to Hawaii chronicles the thrilling first flights during the Golden Age of Aviation, a time when new airplanes traveled farther and faster but were also unreliable, fragile, and hampered by primitive air navigation equipment.

The US Navy tried first, sending flying boats winging toward the islands. Next came Army Air Corps aviators and a civilian pilot, who informally raced each other to Hawaii in the weeks after Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic to land the Spirit of St. Louis in Paris. Finally came the Dole Derby, an unprecedented 1927 air race in which eight planes set off at once across the Pacific, all eager to claim a cash prize offered by Pineapple King, James Dole. Military men, barnstormers, a schoolteacher, a Wall Street bond salesman, a Hollywood stunt flyer, and veteran World War aces all encountered every type of hazard during their perilous flights, from fuel shortages to failed engines, forced sea landings and severe fatigue to navigational errors. With so many pilots taking aim at the far-flung islands in so many different types of planes, everyone wondered who would reach Hawaii first, or at all.

Jason Ryan is the author of Jackpot: High Times, High Seas, and the Sting That Launched the War on Drugs and Hell-Bent: One Man’s Crusade to Crush the Hawaiian Mob. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and lives in Charleston.

Author Luncheon with Issac J. Bailey, My Brother Moochie, Fri., Aug. 24, 12 pm

Join us Fri., Aug. 24, 12 pm for lunch at Halls Signature Events (5 Faber St.), as Issac J. Bailey discusses his new book My Brother Moochie (Other Press, hb., 304 pp., $26).

Tickets are $32 for the three-course luncheon, or $60 to add a signed copy of the book.

Get tickets here.

At the age of nine, Issac J. Bailey saw his hero, his eldest brother, taken away in handcuffs, not to return from prison for thirty-two years. Bailey tells the story of their relationship and of his experience living in a family suffering from guilt and shame. Drawing on sociological research as well as his expertise as a journalist, he seeks to answer the crucial question of why Moochie and many other young black men—including half of the ten boys in his own family—end up in the criminal justice system. What role do poverty, race, and faith play? What effect does living in the South, in the Bible Belt, have? And why is their experience understood as an acceptable trope for black men, while white people who commit crimes are never seen in this generalized way?

My Brother Moochie provides a wide-ranging yet intensely intimate view of crime and incarceration in the United States, and the devastating effects on the incarcerated, their loved ones, their victims, and society as a whole.

Issac J. Bailey was born in St. Stephen, South Carolina, and holds a degree in psychology from Davidson College in North Carolina. Having trained at the prestigious Poynter Institute for journalists in St. Petersburg, Florida, he has been a professional journalist for twenty years. He has taught applied ethics at Coastal Carolina University and, as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, has taught journalism at Harvard Summer School. He currently lives in Myrtle Beach with his wife and children.

That’s What She Said with Artist and Social Activist Kimothy Joy, Thurs., Aug. 23, 5 pm

Join us Thurs., Aug. 23, 5 pm as artist and social activist Kimothy Joy will be here to talk about her new illustrated book That’s What She Said: Wise Words from Influential Women (Harper Wave, hb., 128 pp., $22).

Distraught by the results of the 2016 election and the realization that the nation was not ready for its first female president, Kimothy Joy found herself poring over the biographies of brave women throughout history—those who persisted in the face of daunting circumstances—to learn from their experiences.

Turning to art, Joy channeled her feelings to the canvas, bringing these strong women to life in bold watercolor portraits surrounded by inspirational hand-lettered quotes. With each creation, Joy found catharsis and hope. She shared her watercolors with her online community and encouraged everyone to raise their own voices and recharge for the battles ahead.

Now, in this beautiful gift book, Joy has gathered her stunning illustrations and quotes and paired them with surprising, illuminating biographies of her subjects to inspire women of all ages, races, and backgrounds. That’s What She Said honors a powerful and diverse group of over fifty women—from Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, and Virginia Woolf to Sojourner Truth, Malala Yousafzai, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg—role models whose words and insights remind us that we must never give up the fight for a more just and equitable society.

Kimothy Joy is a Denver based artist whose work combines watercolor and pen with hand lettering. She has collaborated with the Women’s March on Washington, I AM THAT GIRL, Juniper Books, Gucci, Melinda Gates, author Jessica Bennett, and poets Nikita Gill and Cleo Wade. Her illustrations have also been featured in Glamour, Teen Vogue, O, Oprah Magazine, Refinery29, Washington Post and Huffington Post.



Mightier Than the Sword with Alana Harrison and Drew Callander Fri., Aug. 10, 5 pm

Join us Fri., Aug. 10, 5 pm as comedy writers Alana Harrison and Drew Callander will be here for an interactive children’s story event with their book Mightier Than the Sword (Penguin Workshop, hb, 320 pp., $13.99).

Wildly funny and inventive, Mightier Than the Sword pulls you, the reader, into the action. Yes, YOU! You wake up in the fictional land of Astorya, where stories from our world come to life. You’re a real human being (we assume), and in this fictional world, that makes you a superhero. Armed with your trusty pencil you have the power to create: what you write, draw, or scribble in the book becomes part of the story! Only you can rescue Prince S. from the evil Queen Rulette. Aided by the Couriers–a French stoat with dangerous dance moves, a giant dung beetle, a fire ninja, a Pegasus-centaur-cowgirl and a super-intelligent femalien chameleon–you must write, draw, and puzzle your way through a hilarious adventure that is unique to every reader! And most importantly, you must prove that the pencil is mightier than the sword.

Alana Harrison and Drew Callander have spent their lives telling stories and cracking jokes. Together they have created cartoons and short films with Jon Stewart, Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, and Kristen Schaal. Their work as writers and improv comedians has aired on Sirius XM Radio, NBC, and Comedy Central. They live with their baby daughter and exquisitely talented cat (neither of whom help with the dishes).