Monday, January 12, 2015

"One Hundred Years Of Marriage" Launched at Upshur Street Books

Cover by Natalee Michelle Brown
The District of Columbia's new Upshur Street Books hosted the launch of Louise Farmer Smith's novel, One Hundred Years of Marriage, on January 8th. Enough listeners braved the arctic cold to occupy every seat with which Anna Thorn had filled her store. Smith drew her audience at full speed directly into knowledge of the Brady family secret that protagonist Patricia would die rather than reveal. Patricia's narration in the first chapter is a catapult into the  novel's poignant stream of secrets kept and revealed throughout the passage of four generations.

Louise Farmer Smith is a long-time resident of Capitol Hill. Both she and Upper Hand Press wanted her first reading to be at a District book store. We could not have found one more suitable and congenial than Upshur Street in the northwest neighborhood of Petworth.

If you find Upshur Street's Facebook page, you can follow their progress all the way back to their beginnings, not so long ago, in June 2014, when they arose from a $17,000 Kickstarter campaign.
From a June, 2014 Facebook post for Upshur Street Books

Barely six months old, they have already become Washington tastemakers. Earlier this month, Anna Thorn was the go-to person for books when the Washington Post needed expert predictions about 2015 trends. 

Louise Farmer Smith reads from One Hundred Years of Marriage
Upper Hand Press was delighted to partner with Upshur Street Books for the launch of One Hundred Years of Marriage because of the affinity we feel with a hard-working, positive young business. It takes a lot of vision and commitment to open an independent bookstore in the days of bookselling behemoths. It takes some nerve to open an independent publishing house. 2014 was the founding year for Upper Hand and Upshur Street both.

2014 was also the publication year for One Hundred Years of Marriage, and this was another big "first," for this is Louise Farmer Smith's first novel. Though she has published many short stories and earned two Pushcart nominations, Smith went through the legendary years of struggle and rejection by countless agents and publishing houses until Upper Hand Press leapt at the chance to bring this book out. We will celebrate her 75th birthday with a royalty check!

A new bookstore; a new press; a first novel. January 8th's reading was a celebration not only of Smith's remarkable novel, but of a dedicated author, a bookstore built on heart, and of this new press, which is happy to be joining hands with people persisting in doing what they dream of.

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