The Language of Light: Gerald Shea
Nov 7 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

This event will be ASL interpreted.

Gerald Shea lives mostly in the realm of the hearing, but as a partially deaf person, his search for communicative grace and clarity is quartered in his understanding of the world of the Deaf, of which he feels he is a part. His new book, The Language of Light tells the story of the arduous struggles of the Deaf across centuries (joined by their hearing allies) to attain and preserve the right to be taught in their unspoken tongue—the only language that renders them complete, fully communicative beings.

Alison Fondo is also with the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Boston. Alison is profoundly deaf, having lost most of her hearing from ototoxic medicine when she was a few weeks old. She was left with some hearing in one ear, and was raised and educated orally, with the help of a hearing aid for that ear and lipreading. She began to learn ASL as a child, and received a cochlear implant at age 34. English is Alison’s first language, and she is fluent in ASL.

Kristin Johnson is the Director of Social Services at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Boston. She received her degree from Harvard University. Kristin is profoundly deaf and communicates with the help of lipreading and hearing aids.

Christine Majeskey has been a teacher of the Deaf at The Center for Children’s Communication/Beverly School for the Deaf for 34 years. Prior to coming to Beverly she taught the Deaf at schools in Washington, D.C. (Gallaudet’s Model Secondary School), in Boston, and elsewhere. She graduated from Boston University in 1979 with a degree in Special Education/Elementary Education and in 1984 received a degree, in School Counseling of the Deaf, from Gallaudet University. She loves working with middle and high school students, and has a passion for teaching American Sign Language (ASL).

Gerald Shea has lived most of his life in New York and in Paris, and practiced law in both cities for many years with Debevoise & Plimpton as a member of the New York and Paris bars. He is a graduate of Phillips Academy (Andover), Yale University, and Columbia Law School. He became partially deaf as a result of a childhood illness and uses hearing aids and other assistive listening devices. He is the author of Song Without Words (Perseus Books, 2013), published in French as La Vie Malentendue (Albin Michel 2015), and of The Language of Light (Yale University Press 2017). Gerry lived here in Salem for much of his young life.

Writing Workshop: Writing Young Protagonists
Nov 10 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Young Adult and New Adult fiction is everywhere right now, and for good reason: despite the name, these genres are beloved by readers of all ages. But writing authentic younger protagonists comes with a unique set of challenges, from finding an authentic voice to creating the right challenges for your lead characters.

Matthew Phillion, author of the Indestructibles YA superhero novel series, will offer tips, tricks, and ideas for finding the right tone of voice for your young characters, whether you’re a young writer, or just young at heart. All skill and experience levels welcome.

Reappraisal Reading Circle: May Sinclair
Nov 19 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

May Sinclair (1863-1946), a popular British writer who wrote about two dozen novels, short stories and poetry, was an active suffragist, and member of the Woman Writers’ Suffrage League. From 1896 Sinclair wrote professionally to support herself and her mother, who died in 1901. Her 1913 novel The Combined Maze, the story of a London clerk and the two women he loves, was highly praised by critics, including George Orwell, while Agatha Christie considered it one of the greatest English novels of its time.


Praise for May Sinclair

“England’s leading woman novelist between the death of George Eliot and the rise of Virginia Woolf.”  David Williams, Punch.

“A fascinating figure who was deeply immersed in the intellectual currents of her time, ” Anthony Domestico

“A modern Victorian,” Suzanne Raitt.

“This approachable innovator has been outrageously neglected.” The Guardian

One of the supernatural fiction writers that “one should make a point of seeking out.”
Jacques Barzun and Wikipedia

“Known for her innovations in the development of the psychological novel.” Encyclopedia Britannica

Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday
Nov 22 @ 1:00 pm – Nov 23 @ 5:00 pm

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’ll be open on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

Open Regular Hours
Nov 24 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Welcome back!

Poets in the Round
Nov 29 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Host: Dawn Paul

Join us for Poets in the Round: a spontaneous, rapid-fire mix of verse, where poems are chosen not by preference, but based on a word or image in the poem read prior. You’ve never seen a reading quite like this!

The readers will be Carla Panciera, Kali Lightfoot, Colleen Michaels, MP Carver, Danielle Jones, and Dawn Paul (as reader and moderator).

Welcome Winter: Open House
Dec 8 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Celebrate the fellowship of the coming winter. Refreshments, seasonal music, and plenty of good cheer included!


CSEM: Hopkinson Smith plays “Mad Dog”—Elizabethan Music
Dec 8 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Cambridge Society for Early Music presents lutenist Hopkinson Smith for a concert of inventive music, which traverses realms of melancholy, solace and merriment, with works of Dowland, Holborne, Johnson, and Byrd.

Hopkinson Smith is a world-renowned performer on early lutes and guitars. A Harvard graduate, he studied in Catalonia and Switzerland, and in 1974 he was a co-founder of the famous ensemble Hespèrion XX in Basel. He has focused on solo music since the mid-1980s. His splendid series of more than 25 CDs, including lute arrangements of Bach’s works for solo strings, have been showered with praise.

His recent CD, fancifully entitled “Mad Dog,” is devoted to the Golden Age of Elizabethan lute music. The BBC called it “mesmerizing,” and it won a Diapason d’Or award.

$30 | $25 seniors & Athenaeum members | students free
Information: | 617-489-2062

Winter Poetry and Book Drive
Dec 9 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Each holiday break, the Clothing Connection gifts a book to the children served during the winter season. These books, based on the students’ reading level and interests, are selected by the reading specialists at Carlton, Bates and Saltsonstall schools.

Please join the Clothing Connection for an afternoon of winter-themed poetry read by local writers at the Salem Athenaeum on Sunday, December 9 at 4 pm. Books will be available for “purchase” at the event. Alternatively, attendees can make a monetary donation to be put towards book costs.

Coffee and cocoa will be served.

Night Owls: Prophecies
Dec 14 @ 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm

On occasional first Fridays, the Night Owls will convene. Tonight’s theme is Prophecies, but we cannot tell what they are yet!

We invite you to bring games to share, a topic to discuss, or to just show up and join the fun. It’ll be a hoot!