Boston to Become America’s First Official Literary Cultural District

November 1, 2013

The Adams Grant, a two-year $42,000 planning grant appointed by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, was given to a team of book-related organizations to refine its idea of re-creating Boston as a literary cultural district. The team, headed by Grub Street Nonprofit, includes the Boston Public Library, the Drum, the Boston Book Festival, and the Boston Athenaeum. Eve Bridburg, executive director of Grub Street, says the project’s ambition is to “make the literary visible.” The group’s conception includes literary-related street art, collaborations involving schoolchildren, interactive installations, walking tours, and call-outs for exhibits at the Athenaeum and Boston Public Library.

“I see it as a Broadway for writers. The way Broadway is a loosely defined geographic area of New York,” says Henriette Lazaridis Power, editor of the Drum. “This is a place where people who want to take in writing in the forms of events will go, and writers will find resources there.”

Boston, historically linked to literary figures such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott, is one of seventeen areas named cultural districts by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Among those chosen are Central Square and Fenway. Though a map of the future Literary District of Boston has not been solidified, it will include Beacon Street’s Athenaeum, Copley Square’s Boston Public Library, Washington Street, Beacon Hill, and the Public Garden. Given the city’s rich literary history, as well as its ongoing “literary renaissance,” Boston seems the perfect fit for the country’s first National Literary Cultural District.


Source: The Boston Globe

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