The Writers’ Corner – Word Up Next

Word Up Next

Word Up Next is a listing of writers’ events in Salem and nearby towns.  All recurring writing meet-ups and Open Mics are listed at the bottom.  Want to add something to the calendar?  Email 


Sunday, May 5 2:00-3:30 pm
Sisters in Crime Author Panel: Pathways to Publication
Ipswich Public Library25 North Main Street, Ipswich

Pathways to Publication: Mystery authors today not only have to write a good book, they must help it get into the hands of readers. Today’s authors have multiple choices to bring their book to life. From getting an agent and a large press offer to deciding to go with a small press or to self-publish, hear how authors decided upon their unique publication path.

Sisters in Crime is a robust organization of mystery and thriller authors whose speakers span New York Times bestselling authors to emerging greats. Each engages and entertains while sharing their experiences in the fast-changing world of publishing. For More Info

Monday, May 6, 7-9 pm
Author Michael McGowan
Swampscott Library, 61 Burrill St, Swampscott

The explosive memoir of an FBI field operative who has worked more undercover cases than anyone in history.

FBI Special Agent Michael R. McGowan (Retired) is the co – author, along with New York Times bestseller author Ralph Pezzullo, of the fascinating memoir tilted Ghost – My Thirty Years as an FBI Undercover Agent , recapping his more than 30 years of dedicated service within the FBI, the majority of which was spent working undercover against some of the most dangerous, sophisticated, and notorious criminal organizations and individuals throughout the world, having participated in excess of 50 FBI Undercover Operations. In addition, the book’s film rights have now been optioned to Sylvester Stallone’s new production company, Balboa Productions, for development as a feature film.

Within FBI field operative circles, groups of people known as “Special” by their titles alone, Michael R. McGowan is an outlier. 10% of FBI Special Agents are trained and certified to work undercover. A quarter of those agents have worked more than one undercover assignment in their careers. And of those, less than 10% of them have been involved in more than five undercover cases. Over the course of his career, McGowan has worked more than 50 undercover cases.

In this extraordinary and unprecedented book, McGowan will take readers through some of his biggest cases, from international drug busts, to the Russian and Italian mobs, to biker gangs and contract killers, to corrupt unions and SWAT work. Ghost is an unparalleled view into how the FBI, through the courage of its undercover Special Agents, nails the bad guys. McGowan infiltrates groups at home and abroad, assembles teams to create the myths he lives, concocts fake businesses, coordinates the busts, and helps carry out the arrests. Along the way, we meet his partners and colleagues at the FBI, who pull together for everything from bank jobs to the Boston Marathon bombing case, mafia dons, and, perhaps most significantly, El Chapo himself and his Sinaloa Cartel. For More Info

Thursday, May 9 6-9 pm
Mary Ann Esposito at the Hawthorne Hotel
Hawthorne Hotel, 18 Washington Sq W, Salem

Meet Mary Ann Esposito, chef, cookbook author and host of the longest running cooking show on television, Ciao Italia.The Spirit of `76 Bookstore invites you to join us at the Hawthorne Hotel, in Salem, MA on Thursday, May 9th from 6-8pm for “Aperitivo with the Author”.

During the Aperitivo, enjoy a welcome glass of wine and a sample tasting of two appetizers prepared by the hotels chef using recipes from Esposito’s latest book, My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy! Mary Ann will give a brief talk on food, culture and her signature cooking style followed by a Q&A and book signing.

Purchase tickets online here. For More Info

Thursday, May 9 7:30-9 pm
Johnson Author Series: Gregory Maguire
Ballroom, Mansion at Hellenic Center, 117 County Rd Rt 1A, Ipswich

The Louise & Hugh Johnson Lecture series hosts well-known regional and national authors. The library is pleased to announce that the next author for this lecture series will be Gregory Maguire.
Mr. Maguire is the author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the WestConfessions of an Ugly Stepsister, and several dozen other novels for adults and children. Many of Maguire’s adult novels are inspired by classic children’s stories; Wicked transforms the Wicked Witch of the West from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its 1939 film adaptation into the misunderstood green-skinned Elphaba Thropp. The blockbuster Broadway musical Wicked, at its height running nine companies simultaneously around the world, was inspired by Maguire’s first grown-up novel. Born and raised in Albany, New York, he now lives in Massachusetts.

On May 9, 2019, Mr. Maguire will read from and discuss his novels. Copies of the books will be available for purchase.
Free. Registration required.  This event begins at 7:30 p.m.  Book sales and cash bar available starting at 6:30 p.m. (Bar will be cash only. No debit/credit cards will be accepted). For More Info

Saturday, May 11 2-3:30 pm
Sam Baltrusis Book Launch
Hawthorne Hotel,  18 Washington Square W, Salem

Join “Ghosts of Salem” author Sam Baltrusis as he unleashes his latest book, “Wicked Salem: Exploring Lingering Lore & Legends,” at the historic Hawthorne Hotel on Saturday, May 11 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Jack Kenna, featured on shows like “Haunted Case Files” and “Paranormal Survivor,” will also be at the book launch to discuss an incident featured in “Wicked Salem.” Sponsored by Wicked Good Books and Globe Pequot Press, the event will include a book signing and lecture. Guests unable to attend can pre-order a signed and personalized copy of the book from Wicked Good Books. After the event at the Hawthorne Hotel, author Sam Baltrusis is offering a Haunted Foot Steps ghost walk at the Salem Historical Tours at 8 p.m. For More Info

Tuesday, May 14 6:30 -9:30 pm
Streetside Poetry I
The Streetside Bar at The Cabot, 286 Cabot St, Beverly

Readings by January Gill O’Neil, David Daniel, Colleen Michaels, David Blair, and Chris O’Keefe. $5 suggested donation. For More Info

Sunday, May 19th 2 pm – 4 pm
“Poetry Salon”: The Poems of Elizabeth Bradfield, and Their Influence on Guest Poet Kali Lightfoot
Abbot Public Library, 235 Pleasant St, Marblehead

On May 19th, the Poetry Salon at the Abbot Public Library will culminate its year with Kali Lightfoot celebrating the influence of Elizabeth Bradfield on her poetry. Bradfield has worked as a naturalist and guide on ships both at home and in some of the globe’s most remote places. She is the author of the poetry collections Once RemovedApproaching IceInterpretive Work and the forthcoming mixed-genre Toward Antarctica. Kali worked as a teacher, wilderness ranger in Washington state, executive at Road Scholar, and most recently as founding Executive Director of the National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes. She lives in Salem, MA after she retired in 2014 and earned an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies, and has been nominated for Pushcart prizes by Lavender Review and Poetry South. Her first full-length collection of poems, Pelted by Flowers, will be published by Cavan Kerry Press in April, 2021. Bradfield lives on Cape Cod with her partner and is Associate Professor and co-Director of Creative Writing at Brandeis University. For more information on Kali, visit her website at For More Info

Tuesday, May 21, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Local Authors Jane Healey and Whitney Scharer Discuss Writing Historical Fiction
647 Main Street, Melrose

Follow Your Art Community Studios (FYACS) welcomes local authors Whitney Scharer and Jane Healey for a conversation about the writing process.

This is a special chance for local readers and writers to hear from two nationally acclaimed historical novelists about the challenges, joys and lessons learned from creating narratives about real people and events.

Inspired by the real-life Red Cross Clubmobile Girls during WWII, Healey’s second novel, “The Beantown Girls,” offers a glimpse of the “Greatest Generation” from a female perspective. Her book is a Washington Post and Amazon Charts Bestseller.

Scharer’s “The Age of Light,” tells the story of model-turned-renowned photographer and war correspondent Lee Miller and her search to forge a new identity as an artist after a life spent as Man Ray’s muse. Her novel is an IndieNext pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, and a Boston Globe bestseller.

The discussion will be moderated by Melrose Weekly News sports reporter and author Jennifer Gentile followed by audience Q&A and a networking reception with refreshments. Healey’s and Scharer’s books will be available for purchase on site.

Follow Your Art Community Studios (FYACS), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting creative endeavors for all ages.
Limited capacity. More Info & Purchase tix here.

Wednesday, May 22, 7-9 pm
Julie Dobrow: After Emily
Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St, Salem

When Emily Dickinson died in 1886, she was unknown outside the small circle of her family and friends. Her sister, Lavinia, promised she would burn all of Emily’s papers once she was gone. But Lavinia could not bring herself to destroy the remarkable cache of nearly 1,800 poems she discovered after Emily’s death. Instead she sought an editor, a person who knew and loved Emily, who could decipher the confusing manuscripts and put them into publishable form. Mabel Loomis Todd was that person. Though Emily and Mabel never met face-to-face, the friendship they had built through correspondence afforded Mabel the insight she would need as she and her daughter Millicent Todd Bingham built Emily’s literary legacy.

Julie Dobrow, a journalist and a professor at Tufts University and author of AFTER EMILY, a new biography that weaves together the stories of Emily, Mabel, and Millicent using hundreds of primary source materials, many of which have never before been quoted in published works. Dobrow pored over hidden diaries, long-lost letters, and rarely seen documents. Her work allows readers to hear the thoughts, hopes, and sorrows of these women in their own words—from the unforgettable feuds between Mabel and members of the Dickinson family, to Millicent’s struggles growing up steeped in her mother’s obsession with editing Dickinson’s works, to their own close but complicated connection. For more Info

Saturday, May 25 2-3:30 pm
Parker Bell & the Science of Friendship Book Launch
Spirit of ’76 Bookstore, 107 Pleasant St, Marblehead

Come celebrate the publication of Parker Bell & the Science of Friendship with a reading, book signing, and some bookish cupcakes!
For More Info

Recurring Meet-Ups & Open Mics

Below is a listing of writing groups and writing meet-ups happening in the area.  We do our best to keep this up-to-date but please click the link to confirm weekly meeting times with the group’s web page.   Want to add your group?  Email

Salem State Veteran Writers Workshop 
First Tuesday of the month
Location alternates monthly between Salem State and Salem VFW Post 1524

A monthly writing workshop that provides military veterans and civilians an open forum in which to explore writing among peers. Writing prompts will be given, followed by workshopping and conversation. Our location alternates monthly between Salem State and Salem VFW Post 1524.    For More Info

Ipswich Poetry Group
Dates/Times: 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 6:30 PM

Location: Ipswich Library, Collins Room, 25 N Main St, Ipswich

The Ipswich Poetry Group meets to share poems in progress and give and receive feedback. All are welcome! Email with questions or call Sarah at 617-584-7025.   For more info

North Shore Poets’ Forum Meetings
Dates/Times: 3rd Saturday of the month at 11 am – 1:30 pm
Location: Beverly Public Library, 32 Essex St, Beverly

Members are asked to bring a little bit of food or a beverage to share (cookies, little sandwiches, cheese, whatever). Each meeting will feature a presentation on a poet, movement or form that should be of general interest to members. After the program, members are encouraged to bring an original poem and six to 10 copies for members to offer gentle critique.   For More Info

Open Mic
Dates/Times: 1st Monday of the month, 7:30 – 9:30 PM
Gloucester Writer’s Center, 126 East Main St, Gloucester  

Read for five minutes. Bring your words. Get heard.   For More Info

Amesbury Library Writers’ Group
 Monthly on the 1st Wednesday at 6:30 pm
Location: Amesbury Public Library, 149 Main St, Amesbury

The Amesbury Library Writers’ Group is an open group of writers who are currently working on writing projects. The purpose of the group is to meet to read and critique the writings of each group member. Each member is to be actively and regularly engaged in submitting their own work in progress for review, regularly reading the submissions of other members of the group, and regularly meeting in person to discuss their writings and the writings of the other group members. Writers in all genres are welcome to attend.

The group will meet the first Wednesday of every month. This group is open to anyone who would like to participate and an individual must attend two consecutive meetings of the group to have their work critiqued. This group will be run and facilitated by volunteeers

The library hosts a monthly poetry series with an open mic. Each month there will be a featured poet followed by a discussion, an open mic and light refreshments. Stephen Wagner, Amesbury Poet Laureate, hosts this event. 
For More Info 

Powow River Poets Reading Series
Bimonthly, 2nd Saturday at 3 pm; next up Nov. 10
Newburyport Public Library, 94 State St, Newburyport

The bimonthly series, is free and open to the public, and includes an Open Mic. Poetry enthusiasts are urged to attend. The Open Mic is limited to ten poets, so come early to the library to sign up. The time limit is one poem or two minutes, whichever is shorter, so please time your reading when you rehearse.   For More Info

Readers & Writers Guild
Dates/Times: 3rd Friday of select months at 7:30 pm
Christ Church, 149 Asbury Street, South Hamilton

Our Readers & Writers Guild meets to hear a featured reader as well as share open mic time, peruse attendee’s books for sale, and enjoy pot luck refreshments.  Check website for upcoming dates. All are welcome!  For More Info

River Bards Fall Poetry Series & Open Mic
Dates/Times: First Friday of the month at 7 pm
Location: Battle Grounds Coffee Company, Haverhill

Creative Haverhill’s River Bards present Fall Poetry Series and Open Mic nights at Battle Grounds Coffee Company! Each event will begin with a featured poet, followed by the open mic portion of the evening. Participants should limit their readings to 3-5 minutes. Sign ups are first come, first served on the night of the event. Food and drink are available for purchase!  For More Info

Witch City Writers’ Workshop
Dates/Times: 3rd Monday of the month at 6:30 pm
Location: Varies between Beverly Library and the Cummings Center

Join our workshop! Please review submissions before you attend and be ready to offer feedback (written feedback is always welcome). Please also review the workshop guidelines in the drop-off folder. You are welcome to bring food/drink (no alcohol).  Please bring a $2 cash contribution to workshop meetings to participate. If you prefer, you can bring $30 cash for a full year of no-fee workshops.      For More Info

Writer’s Open Studio
Dates/Times:  Every Tuesday at 8:40 am – 11:30 am
Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St, Salem

Weekly Writing Studios at the Salem Athenaeum.  The building will be open from 9:45-12:00 every Tuesday (unless announced otherwise). Feel free to come by and write in a quiet peaceful setting. Come for as long as you’d like–for 20 minutes or all three hours.         For More Info 

Salem Writer’s Group
Date/Time:  1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7:30 pm
Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St, Salem

All are welcome to bring work-in-progress to share with the group for feedback. The group is facilitated by J.D. Scrimgeour, Professor of English, Salem State University.     For more info 

Winter Street Writer’s
Date/Time: Last Tuesday of the Month 9:30 – 11 am
Location: Beverly Public Library, 32 Essex St, Beverly

We are a Beverly-based writing group.
For inquiries, please contact

Poetry Open Mic
Date/Time: Last Tuesday of the Month 6-7 pm
Location: Amesbury Public Library, 149 Main St, Amesbury

The library hosts a monthly poetry series with an open mic. Each month there will be a featured poet followed by a discussion, an open mic and light refreshments. Stephen Wagner, Amesbury Poet Laureate, hosts this event.  Learn More