A Socially Distanced Debut

  • By Cassie Osvatics
  • April 29, 2020

Furious Gravity celebrates its release and online launch!

A Socially Distanced Debut

As the literary community struggles in the wake of covid-19, the anthology series from DC Women Writers, “Grace and Gravity,” is powering through. The newest edition, Furious Gravity, is the collection’s ninth, and the second edited by Melissa Scholes Young, an author and American University professor.

With the book set to release on May 1st in the midst of a pandemic, Scholes Young has faced her fair share of complications in premiering the work. “It has required creativity and adaptability...We’ve had to think about where readers are and how to meet them there rather than expecting them to come to us,” she says.

“The book is ready, the community is ready, the writing is phenomenal. We’re featuring 50 DC women writers. I can’t wait to share it.”

Scholes Young’s Literary Editing and Publishing class at AU — which meets online because of the pandemic — saw its planned launch party for the book forced to go virtual. But while that’s created challenges, says Scholes Young, “a hybrid book-launch model makes sense going forward, especially if it expands the inclusivity of our community.”

To that end, Furious Gravity’s official debut starts with a P&P Live! Reading on Sunday, May 10, at 3 p.m., hosted by Politics and Prose Bookstore. “I think we'll have a bigger turnout because it's online and it's more accessible,” says Scholes Young. “Readers can join from the comfort of their homes and participate in the conversation.”

Jessica Sullivan, a student of Young’s, is not only an MFA candidate at AU, but also a bookseller at Politics and Prose. She lauds the swiftness of the store in adapting and continuing to support writers and readers. “Our events team is so great,” she says, “and I think it definitely helped that they had begun looking into trying to live-stream our in-store events.”

While booksellers like Sullivan aren’t currently involved in the online events, she has seen their attendance grow beyond the capacity of in-store events. “Most of our online events usually have 200 to 300 people…People are tuning in.”

With the launch just days away, Scholes Young has continued to push forward with optimism in the strength of her community. “The success of ‘Grace and Gravity’ is bringing together our literary community to say we matter and we have something important to say.”

Furious Gravity will be released this Friday. You can order a copy here.

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