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Arts in New England

Henriette Lazaridis Power: A first-time novelist giving back

Henriette Lazaridis Power.

Joel Benjamin

Henriette Lazaridis Power.

IN 2006, eight years into writing her first novel, Henriette Lazaridis Power hoped to find someone to sell it. An agent at a literary conference that year was impressed by the opening chapters of Power’s book but wasn’t convinced they’d be a good match. Then she saw Power’s biceps.

Anyone with muscles that honed — in Power’s case, from years of daily workouts on the Charles River with Community Rowing — had to possess discipline, determination, and, well, power. The agent asked to see the whole book.

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Although Power eventually set the book aside, her perseverance paid off in the recent publication of her next novel, The Clover House, a recent selection of Target’s emerging authors program.

I first met Power in 2004, when she joined my master novel workshop at Grub Street, where she dazzled us with her dedication — a component as crucial to writing success as talent. Since that time, the 53-year-old Weston resident says, the community of writers she found “has become an enormous part of my life.”

To repay and enrich the writing community that supported her, Power in 2009 founded The Drum, a website she describes as “a literary magazine for your ears” ( Each week, The Drum posts a new piece read by its author. “I wanted to create a collaborative literary organization that provided exposure for new writers,” Power says.

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Today, The Drum partners with Grub Street, the Boston Book Festival, and Four Stories, a literary performance series. During October’s Boston Book Festival, reader-listeners will be able to download local writers’ stories and listen to them while strolling through the locales featured in the tales. And at Grub Street’s upcoming The Muse and the Marketplace conference, writers can visit The Drum’s sound booth to record 500-word stories; Power will publish the best three online.

Right now, however, Power has The Clover House to attend to. On April 2, Power launched the book herself — on the Charles. “As a rower, I couldn’t not launch the book literally,” she says. “So I put it in a plastic bag, set it in my boat, and shoved off for a little spin.” Then, true to form, she returned to work on The Drum and revising that next novel, Evanthia’s Legs, which she is determined to see published.

>Power reads from The Clover House at Newtonville Books in Newton Centre, May 14 at 7 p.m. 617-244-6619,

Jenna Blum is the New York Times best-selling author ofThose Who Save Usand The Stormchasers. Send comments to

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