Provincetown Book Festival

Christopher Castellani, whose acclaimed fourth novel “Leading Men” (Viking) imagines the love between Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo, and Andre Dubus III, (“Townie,” “House of Sand and Fog,” and the recent novel “Gone So Long”) will be in conversation together as the headlining event of the fourth annual Provincetown Book Festival, taking place this weekend. The festival opens on Friday night with a reading and reception for the annual Rose Dorothea Award honoring an author who comes from or is influenced by the Outer Cape, this year going to Mark Doty. The weekend continues with readings and talks by Darnell L. Moore (“No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black & Free in America”); Jabari Asim (“We Can’t Breathe”); Whitney Scharer (“The Age of Light”), among others. Topics of panel discussions include “To Be Young, Gifted, Black — and Gay,” “In Search of Stonewall,” “Women Writers Explore, Women Explorers Write,” and “This Place Matters: Provincetown Fiction.” All events are free and open to the public. The festival runs from Friday-Sunday in Provincetown. For more information, visit provincetownbookfestival.org.


Drawing a blank

This spring, Mass Poetry began a blackout poetry project which invited poets, students, and community members to make erasure poems, a practice of blacking out certain words in historic documents to reveal new meaning in the words that remain. Participants made blackout poems from the Bill of Rights, the US Constitution, Malala Yousafzai’s speech to the United Nations, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The organization then selected six to be showcased on the T, but the MBTA rejected them all, citing its prohibition of “political issues or matters of public debate” in displays and advertising. So, Mass Poetry paired with Soofa, the woman-founded Cambridge startup that makes solar-powered signs and benches, and now the poems can be seen on digital kiosks in Dudley Square, Ashmont, Downtown Boston, the Seaport District, and Allston. The winning poets include Julia Toplyn, Catherine Fahey, Sarah Sousa, Renuka Raghavan, Julia Haney, and Wendy Drexler and Jodi Colella. The poems will be on display through September 14.


Spelling it out

Boston native Chana Ginelle Ewing has focused her career on intersectionality, equality, and empowerment. Her first book, “An ABC of Equality” (Frances Lincoln), out this week and illustrated by Paulina Morgan, introduces kids to concepts and ideas centering on social justice. K is for kindness; E is for equality; U is for understanding. Alongside each letter and its idea, Ewing offers a brief and simple definition – and she doesn’t steer away from more challenging concepts: P is for privilege, O is for oppression, X is for xenophobia. The book reminds us that when it comes to absorbing ideas about equality, justice, gender, and acceptance, one is never too young — or too old — to learn. Ewing will read and discuss the book on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at the Brookline Booksmith.

Coming Out

“Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers” by Jake Skeets (Milkweed)

“Out of Darkness, Shining Light” by Petina Gappah (Scribner)

“Animalia” by Jean-Baptiste Amo, translated from the French by Frank Wynne (Grove)

Pick of the Week

Betty Hillman at Bartleby’s Books in Wilmington, Vermont, recommends “The River” by Peter Heller (Knopf): “Adventure, mystery and beautiful ‘nature’ writing. Peter Heller is a master — the Poet in him comes out time and time again. Loved it!”


Nina MacLaughlin is the author of “Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter.” She can be reached at nmaclaughlin@gmail.com.