Debut poetry and fiction doesn't have much visibility in the publishing world these days. Enter Paul Martone and Erin Hoover, a fiction writer and a poet who paired up to create Late Night Library, a literary nonprofit devoted to promoting writers who are starting their careers. Based in Portland and Brooklyn, Late Night Library is a website and monthly podcast that gives exposure to emerging writers.
Hoover and Martone met in Eugene, where both were pursuing their MFAs at the University of Oregon. Eight years later they live on opposite coasts: Martone writes and teaches high-school English in Portland while Hoover writes in Brooklyn. The podcasts at the core of Late Night Library started because they missed the conversations about books they had in graduate school, where manuscripts and book recommendations are furiously exchanged and discussed. Hoover says their project was designed to carry those conversations "into the ether."
In the year since its launch, Late Night Library has added a second podcast series on "cultural innovators" and incorporated as a nonprofit in Oregon. To celebrate, Hoover and Martone are planning an ambitious bicoastal event: a simultaneous, interactive reading hosted in Brooklyn and Portland. Each city offers up one hometown poet and one fiction writer—Farrah Field and Sarah Falkner in Brooklyn; Emily Kendal Frey and Alexis M. Smith in Portland—who will read for 10 minutes and then answer questions from audiences in both cities, via the magic of Skype.
That is, if all goes well. Martone sounds mostly confident as he confides that "we're relying on two Macbooks with internal cameras and Skype to pull this off." Even if the Skype link falters, though, they've succeeded in creating some buzz.