Tomorrow night at 7, two young literary agents will test their recipe for what they hope will be a popular new series: Take a high profile writer (in this case, the brilliant but humble Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Paul Harding), add a few unknown talents (MFA students in Boston who come highly recommended), and put them together in the sleek surroundings of the Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge.
“You’ve been storied,” is what Katherine Flynn and Caroline Zimmerman of the Kneerim & Williams Agency are calling the series, though they might hold a contest to select a new name. Whatever it’s called, the series will be a work in progress, one they want the audience to have a hand in shaping.
Flynn and Zimmerman hope for a crowd as enthusiastic as the standing-room-only audience the hip Four Stories series attracted before it went on hiatus this year. Zimmerman asked senior faculty in MFA programs to recommend a few of their best students. “We combed through the submissions, chatted about them with each other, and selected pieces based on the quality of the writing, appropriate length, and our feelings that they would translate well to being read aloud,” is how Flynn explains their process.
The two agents say finding writers they might want to represent was not the impetus for the series, though they won’t fight it if great writers fall into their laps. Mainly they see “You’ve been storied” as a way to connect young writers with established ones and do their part to keep the local literary scene a lively one.
Her essay appears in the anthology “20Under40: Re-Inventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century” (AuthorHouse). Editor Edward P. Clapp, an arts consultant and doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, invited arts leaders under age 40 to write about tackling the challenges facing the arts today. Twenty essays were selected from 300 submissions.
In “Handprint Turkeys and the Cotton Ball Snowman: Is There Hope for an Artful America?”, Matros writes about young children who, when asked to suggest an alternative use for an egg carton, “struggle to imagine. This, to me, is astounding, and gravely problematic.” She points a finger at adults who teach children that art should conform to a narrow set of rules. Among the top 10 anti-art comments Matros and her colleagues most frequently hear adults make are:
1. “No, not like that. Like this.”
2. “Draw Mommy a flower.”
3. “Stop playing around and make something good.”
■ “Between Expectations: Lessons From a Pediatric Residency” by Meghan MacLean Weir (Simon & Schuster)
■ “Game Frame: Using Games as a Strategy for Success” by Aaron Dignan (Free Press)
Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.