It’s Lit: 10 Bookish Events to Check Out in November

From a new library for hometown hero Kurt Vonnegut to the Black Women’s Writing Society, here are 10 ways to celebrate literature this month in Indianapolis.

Indy is feeling extra literary this November, so we’ve rounded up the best of the bookish events around to feed your brain and your soul.

Celebrate the new Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

The highly-anticipated grand opening of the new space coincides with VonnegutFest, a day-long celebration of the author’s life and work. Starting with a ribbon cutting ceremony at noon, the party continues throughout the day and into the evening with author readings, a champagne reception, a performance by local jazz band The Groove 4tet, and more.

Noon – 10:00 p.m., November 9, Kurt Vonnegut Museum Library, 543 Indiana Ave., tickets available here

Immerse yourself in the writing life at the Indy Author Fair

Sharpen your own skills by participating in writing workshops led by the Indiana Writers Center (no advance sign-ups required), then mix and mingle with over 40 Indiana writers at the author networking event. Don’t leave before purchasing signed copies of your favorite local literature.

11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Nov. 9, Central Library, 40 E. St, Clair St., tickets available here.

Dig into a piece of Indy’s literary history with Terrance Hayes

Butler’s Visiting Writers Series always brings nationally-recognized writers to town, but this season’s lineup feels particularly special. Join National Book Award-winning poet Terrance Hayes for a unique iteration of the series, where Hayes will discuss the legacy of Indianapolis poet Etheridge Knight.

7:30 p.m., Nov. 11, Shelton Auditorium, 1000 W. 42nd St., more details here

Find community at the Black Women’s Writing Society

Every second Tuesday of the month poets, essayists, playwrights, and storytellers come together at the Center for Black Literature and Culture to share in their love of the written word. The group welcomes all cis and trans women and non-binary black writers and dedicates sessions to writing, sharing work, and learning together.

5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Nov. 12, Center for Black Literature and Culture, Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St., more details here

Discover the untold stories of World War II nurses

In honor of Veterans Day and the 60th anniversary of the UIndy School of Nursing, NYU professor Dr. Elizabeth Norman will discuss her book, Band of Angels: The Untold Stories of American Nurses Trapped on the Bataan by the Japanese. Norman’s work pieces together letters, diaries, and firsthand accounts to illustrate the transformation of these adventurous young women into honorable war heroes.

5:00 – 6:30 p.m., Nov. 13, University of Indianapolis, UIndy Hall, Schwitzer Student Center, 1400 E.Hanna Ave., tickets available here.

Do some late-night shopping at Indy Reads Books

Mass Ave stores will keep their doors open until midnight for this year’s Midnight Shopper: Sip & Stroll event. Pick up a book for everyone on your holiday shopping list at Indy Reads Books where your purchases will help further Indy Reads’ mission of improving adult literacy and language proficiency in the community. So go ahead, grab something new for your own shelf, too. 

5:00 p.m. – midnight, Nov. 15, 911 Massachusetts Ave, more details here

Drink beer and discuss books at Authors & Activists

Join Women4Change Indiana at their bi-monthly book club meeting that delves into hot topics in feminism, women’s issues, politics, and more. This month’s reading selection, Big Sister: Feminism, Conservatism, and Conspiracy in the Heartland by Erin Kemper, examines the way conspiracy theories affected second-wave feminism in the Midwest and specifically Indiana. 

6:30 – 8:00 p.m., Nov. 18, Upland College Ave. Tasting Room, 4842 N. College Ave., more details here

Get inspired to visit the library with Susan Orlean

In 1986, a devastating fire broke out inside the Los Angeles Public Library. Over 20 years later, we still don’t know who or what is responsible for the loss of 400,000 books. In her latest work, The Library Book, Orlean investigates the mystery and takes a close look at how libraries have shaped and continue to impact American life.

7:30 p.m., Nov. 21, Shelton Auditorium, 1000 W. 42nd St., details here

Try out your new material at That Peace Open Mic

Join local poets, vocalists, comedians, dancers, musicians, and MCs of all genres at this monthly open mic for a chance to perform, network, and soak up some good vibes. The event is produced by local singer and spoken word artist Mariah Ivey and a different artist is featured every month.

7:30 – 9:00 p.m., Nov. 21, Central Library, 40 E. Saint Claire St., more details here

Get feedback on your play at Open Scene Nights

Every week, local playwrights can sign up to have their work read aloud by actors and workshopped by the Indiana Playwrights Circle (IPC). There is no cost to attend but you’ll want to reserve your spot in advance (space is limited). IPC also hosts monthly table readings and bi-monthly networking events geared toward playwrights.

6:30 p.m., Every Wednesday, Broadway United Methodist Church, 609 E. 29th St., more details here.

Ally Denton is a freelance writer in Indianapolis who is currently reading Pride and Prejudice (and lots of books on dog training), but her all-time favorite book is The Great Gatsby.