Boston Narrative Arts Center

Boston’s literary heritage runs deep, as Grub Street points out:

Boston has been a city of writers, readers, thinkers and innovators since our earliest days. In the 19th century, as the saying went, you couldn’t throw a stone without hitting a writer. We’re a city that built one of the country’s first public libraries, where Maria Stewart, a black abolitionist, gave the first public talk by a woman on politics and women’s rights; where the Old Corner Bookstore – an early literary center – published the likes of Stowe, Thoreau, Emerson and Longfellow; where such storied writers as Phillis Wheatley, Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Bishop, and Robert Lowell lived and worked, and where the computer and internet revolutions were born at our great universities, and at the Route 128 technology companies.

Which makes it a surprise that the city’s institutions seem to have passed by the art of narrative storytelling. But Grub Street has a plan:

In a city bursting at the seams with ideas and talent, we propose to build a 21st century narrative arts/storytelling center: a democratic, accessible, active space for people of all ages, race, ethnicities, and backgrounds to connect and to learn from the crafted words of the most famous writers and thinkers of our day, as well as from each other. The partners in creating this dynamic center are GrubStreet, the nation’s largest and most inclusive creative writing center, currently based in downtown Boston; Harvard Book Store, one of the country’s most venerable and successful bookstores; and Mass Poetry, which organizes major festivals and ensures poetry is part of the daily fabric of the city.

Today, I signed a petition asking the City of Boston to go forward with developing the Boston Narrative Arts Center, at 50 Liberty in the Seaport District. I’m particularly excited about the Writer’s Stage event space and the podcast studio. There’s a $2 million grant on the line, contingent on the city’s acceptance of the proposal. Let’s make it happen.

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