Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

The Cage-maker, with Nicole Seitz, Tues., Aug. 15, 5 pm

Join us Tues., Aug. 15, 5 pm as Nicole Seitz discusses and signs her new novel The Cage-maker (Story River Books, hb., 248 pp., $28).

Bringing the New Orleans of the late 1800s and early 1900s vividly to life, Nicole’s novel unfolds as a series of letters, journal entries, and newspaper articles discovered in the secret compartment of an enormous and exquisitely detailed birdcage that Trish, a twenty-first-century blogger, has inherited from a heretofore unknown relative. As she peruses the documents, Trish finds herself irresistibly drawn into the history of her family―a tale that is, as one letter puts it, “part love story and part horror and madness.”

The Cage-maker is based on stories Nicole unearthed while researching her own family’s history in New Orleans. Featuring illustrations by the author, this engrossing epistolary novel offers fresh twists on the Southern Gothic genre. It reveals much about criminal justice, about early-twentieth-century notions of care for the mentally ill, and, most important, about the many ways in which the weight of history hangs over the present from one generation to the next.

Nicole Seitz is the author of six previous novels, including, most recently, Beyond Molasses Creek and The Inheritance of Beauty. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.F.A. in illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She lives in Charleston, where she teaches art and summer workshops for creative writing and illustration.

Author Luncheon with Kate Fagan, What Made Maddy Run, Fri., Aug. 18, 12 pm

Join us Fri., Aug. 18, 12 pm for lunch at High Cotton (199 East Bay St.), as Kate Fagan discusses her new book What Made Maddy Run (Little, Brown, 320 pp., $27). Kate will be in conversation with well-known health writer and yoga teacher Kathryn Budig. Tickets are $31 for the three-course luncheon and talk, or $58 including a signed copy of the book.

Tickets on sale here.

From noted on-air commentator and sports journalist Kate Fagan comes the heartbreaking and vital story of college athlete Maddy Holleran, whose suicide rocked the University of Pennsylvania campus and whose life reveals the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness today.

What Made Maddy Run began as a piece that Kate wrote for espnW. What started as a profile of a successful young athlete whose life ended in suicide became so much larger as Kate heard from other college athletes also grappling with mental illness. This is the story of Maddy Holleran and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressure young people, and college athletes in particular, face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.

Kate Fagan is a columnist and feature writer for espnW, and ESPN The Magazine. She is a regular panelist on Around the Horn and can also be seen on Outside the LinesFirst Take and His & Hers. She is the author of a memoir, The Reappearing Act, and co-host of the espnW podcast, Free Cookies.  A former varsity basketball player at the University of Colorado, she gave the 2017 commencement address at her alma mater. Kate lives in Brooklyn with her girlfriend Kathryn Budig, and their two dogs.


Kathryn Budig is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher and author known for her accessibility, humor, and ability to empower her students through her message, “aim true.” She is a warrior for self-acceptance, honesty, and helping her students and readers find true balance. The Kansas native graduated from the University of Virginia with a double degree in English and Drama before moving to Los Angeles, where she trained under the tutelage of Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller. She now lives in Brooklyn, with Kate.


Gumbo Love with Lucy Buffett, Thurs., July 20, 5 pm

Join us Thurs., July 20, 5 pm as Lucy Buffett tells the stories behind the recipes in her new cookbook Gumbo Love (Grand Central, hb., 336 pp., $30).

Since she was a young girl, Lucy has believed in the power of gumbo–the stirring, the transformation of the roux, the simple ingredients cooking up into something much better than just the sum of its parts. It’s only fitting that she signs her name with “Gumbo Love.” Her new cookbook is a labor of love that includes recipes from all over the Gulf Coast. The dishes incorporate Caribbean, Cajun, Cuban, Mexican, Old Florida, and Creole influences. Through her collection of recipes Lucy proves that the Gulf Coast has its own distinct flavors and traditions that make it a treasured culinary destination in its own right.
Incorporating stories from Lucy’s childhood growing up in Mobile, Alabama, adventures traveling the seas as a cook, time spent working as a chef in New Orleans, and her philosophy of relaxation, gratitude, and seizing the day, this cookbook entertains and inspires as it serves up recipe after recipe, each tastier than the last.

The Lowcountry Coloring Book, with Melissa Conroy, Thurs., July 27, 5 pm

Join us Thurs., July 27, 5 pm as Melissa Conroy will talk about and sign copies of The Lowcountry Coloring Book (Algonquin, pb., 96 pp., $12).

Melissa Conroy immerses readers in the graceful, haunting beauty of the South, from the stately mansions and intricate gardens of Charleston and Savannah to spots farther off the beaten path, such as the forest where the ruins of Old Sheldon Church stand, ancient and crumbling among the greenery; and the seashore, where shrimp boats find anchorage and the vanishing islands are home to sharks, alligators, monkeys, and egrets, but also to houses on stilts, half torn away by the tides and time. She also introduces local history and folklore, whether it’s in the Haint Blue Houses, painted a bright shade to keep away bad spirits, or the Waving Girl of Savannah statue, a tribute to the child who waved to all of the ships that sailed from the harbor.

As an added bonus, Melissa has created a technique wherein the drawings can be placed in a four-square pattern to create one larger piece of art. So, four 8-inch-by-8-inch drawings can be removed from the book and framed together to form a larger artwork measuring 16 inches by 16 inches.

Melissa Conroy grew up in the South Carolina Lowcountry, and every summer she returns with sketchbook in hand. She has MAs from the University of Georgia and Philadelphia University, in painting and textile design, and a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. Currently she lives in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and son. She is a part-time faculty member in the Textile Design Department at Philadelphia University.

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Author Luncheon with Patti Callahan Henry, The Bookshop at Waters End, Thurs., July 13, 12 pm

Join us Thurs., July 13, 12 pm for lunch at High Cotton (199 East Bay St.), as Patti Callahan Henry discusses and signs her new book The Bookshop at Water’s End (Berkley, pb., 288 pp., $16). Tickets are $31 for the three-course luncheon and talk, or $45 including a signed copy of the book.

Get tickets here.

About the book: Bonny Blankenship’s most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey’s mother disappeared.

Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.

About the author: Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels include The Idea of Love, The Stories We Tell, And Then I Found You, Coming Up for Air, The Perfect Love Song, Driftwood Summer, The Art of Keeping Secrets, Between the Tides, When Light Breaks, Where the River Runs and Losing the Moon. Short-listed for the Townsend Prize for Fiction, and nominated multiple times for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Book Award for Fiction, Patti is a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs and women’s groups.

Voices of Civil Rights Lawyers with Armand Derfner, Thurs., June 29, 6 pm

Join us Thurs., June 29, 6 pm as local lawyer Armand Derfner will talk about his pivotal role in the American Civil Rights Movement. Beginning with his work representing disenfranchised voters in Greenwood, Mississippi, in 1968, Armand was among the first lawyers to argue cases involving the Voting Rights Act. An essay based on these experiences has been included in a new book called Voices of Civil Rights Lawyers: Reflections from the Deep South 1964-1980 (University of Florida Press, hb., 440 pp., $45).

Voices of Civil Rights Lawyers offers eyewitness accounts of some of the most dramatic moments in civil rights history–the 1965 Selma March, the first civil judgment against the Ku Klux Klan, the creation of ballot access for African Americans in Alabama, and the 1968 Democratic Convention. The narratives depict attorney-client relationships extraordinary in their mutual trust and commitment to risk-taking. White and black, male and female, northern and southern, these recruits in the battle for freedom helped shape a critical chapter of American history.

Armand shaped the Voting Rights Act through his Supreme Court arguments in several of the earliest cases, including Allen v. State Board of Elections (1969) and Perkins v. Matthews (1971). He has testified before the Judiciary Committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives about extensions of the Voting Rights Act, as well as other pro bono legislation. With his late wife, Mary Frances Derfner, he assisted in passage of the Civil Rights Attorneys’ Fees Awards Act of 1976, as well as the Equal Access to Justice Act of 1980. For more than 20 years, he has represented litigants in two long-running suits to desegregate and end racial inequality in the higher education systems of Alabama (Knight v. Alabama) and Mississippi (Ayers v. Fordice). He is now a founding partner at Derfner and Altman, here in Charleston.

Piccolo Fiction – Charleston Music Hall – Sat., June 3, 5 pm

Piccolo Fiction presented by Blue Bicycle Books, Sat., June 3, 5 pm, Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. Free and open to the public.

The festival’s longest-running event exclusively devoted to fiction, Piccolo Fiction invites local authors to write and share original  short stories. This year’s reading will be in the historic Charleston Music Hall, and, following recent tradition, each story will begin with the words “I ducked into the alley…”

Since 2000, Piccolo Fiction has featured dozens of S.C. writers, with stories broadcast by S.C. Public Radio and published in the Charleston City Paper.

Featured authors:

Julia Elliott’s writing has appeared on, in Tin House, The Georgia Review, Conjunctions, The New York Times, and other publications. She has won a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and her stories have been anthologized in Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses and Best American Short Stories. Her debut story collec­tion, The Wilds, was chosen by Kirkus, BuzzFeed, Book Riot, and Electric Literature as one of the Best Books of 2014 and was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her first novel, The New and Improved Romie Futch, arrived in October 2015.

Cinelle Barnes writes memoirs and personal essays on trauma, growing up in Manila, Philippines, and being a mother and immigrant in America. In 2014, she was nominated for the AWP Journal Intro Award for Creative Non-Fiction. She has an MFA from Converse College and teaches writing workshops throughout the year, including Poses and Prose, a yoga + writing workshop. Her debut memoir, Monsoon Mansion, will be released by Little A publishing in Spring 2018.

Benjamin Brandenburg is a former Columbia University graduate student and current bookstore clerk living in Charleston. His stories are sometimes published online, most recently at Hobart and Monkeybicycle.

Born in Raleigh, N.C., Aaron Wood and his wife moved to Charleston in 2013 to escape the winters of Appalachia. His fiction has been published in Charleston City Paper. A sous chef for a local caterer, when he’s not working on a collection of short stories, he spends time with his wife and dog or fishing the local waters.

Zak Pelaccio, Project 258, Cooking Demo at Siematic, Thurs., June 8, 5 pm

Join us Thurs., June 8, 5 pm at Siematic (444 King St.), as James Beard Award winner Zak Pelaccio will be in town to prepare a dish from his new cookbook Project 258: Making Dinner at Fish and Game (University of Texas Press, hb., 348 pp., $50).

Fish & Game restaurant in Hudson, New York, is a leader in the local foods movement. Its core approach—engaging intimately with nature both wild and domestic, building relationships with farmers, and exploring the joys of fermentation—is one of interest to anyone who yearns to cook and eat better food.

Project 258: Making Dinner at Fish & Game presents an enticing selection of seasonal recipes, profiles of key producers who supply the restaurant, and a fascinating, beautifully illustrated look at the processes—both intellectual and culinary—behind the food at Fish & Game. Taking no shortcuts, Pelaccio and his staff handcraft many staple ingredients, including fish sauce, vinegars, maple syrup, and prosciutto.

Pelaccio and his wife Jori Jayne are famed for building Brooklyn’s first gastro-pub, pioneering NYC’s nose-to-tail culinary movement, urban foraging and bringing Malaysian inspired food to the national mainstream. They now live in Upstate New York.

Out of Line author Barbara Lynch in conversation Hi, Anxiety author Kat Kinsman, Sat., June 10, 5 pm

Join us Sat., June 10, 5 pm as celebrated food writer Kat Kinsman and James Beard Award winner Barbara Lynch discuss their new books Out of Line (Atria Books, hb., 240 pp., $26) and Hi, Anxiety (Dey Street Books, hb., 240 pp., $26).  Angel Postell of Home Team PR will also be joining them.

Out of Line describes Lynch’s remarkable process of self-invention, including her encounters with colorful characters of the food world, and vividly evokes the magic of creation in the kitchen. Through her story, Lynch explores how the past—both what we strive to escape from and what we remain true to—can strengthen and expand who we are.

In Hi, Anxiety, beloved food writer, editor, and commentator Kat Kinsman expands on the high profile pieces she wrote for about depression, and its wicked cousin, anxiety. As Kat found when she started to write about her struggles, she is not alone in feeling like the simple act of leaving the house can be crippling. And though periodic medication, counseling, a successful career and a happy marriage have brought her relief, the illness remains.

Barbara Lynch has won multiple James Beard Awards, including Outstanding Restaurateur (only the second woman to win), an Amelia Earhart award for success as a woman in a male-dominated field, and the Relais & Château designation of Grand Chef (one of only six in North America). She is the owner of Barbara Lynch Gruppo, which encompasses seven celebrated restaurants, including No. 9 Park, B&G Oysters, Drink, Sportello, and Menton. In 2017, she was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Kat Kinsman is senior food and drinks editor at Time Inc.’s Extra Crispy and former editor at large and editor in chief of Tasting Table. She is a frequent public speaker on the topics of food and mental health, and addresses their connection on her website Chefs with Issues. She is a former writer and editor for, where she was nominated for the James Beard Broadcast Award in the TV Segment category and won the 2011 EPPY Best Food Website for CNN’s Eatocracy. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and various animals.


Author Luncheon with Cate Lineberry, Be Free or Die, Fri., June 23, 12 pm

Join us Fri., June 23, 12 pm for lunch at High Cotton (199 East Bay St.), as Cate Lineberry discusses and signs her new book Be Free or Die (St. Martin’s, hb., 288 pp., $26). Cate will be in conversation with Michael Boulware Moore, who is the great, great grandson of Robert Smalls and the CEO of the International African American Museum.

Tickets are $31 for the three-course luncheon and talk, or $57 including a signed copy of the book. Get tickets here.

Be Free or Die is a compelling narrative that illuminates Robert Smalls’ amazing journey from slave to Union hero and ultimately United States Congressman. This captivating tale of a valuable figure in American history gives fascinating insight into the country’s first efforts to help newly freed slaves while also illustrating the many struggles and achievements of African Americans during the Civil War.

Be Free or Die is Cate’s second book. She is also the author of The Secret Rescue, a #1 Wall Street Journal e-book bestseller and a finalist for the Edgar and Anthony Awards. She was previously a staff writer and editor for National Geographic Magazine and the web editor for Smithsonian Magazine. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times.