Edgar Allan Poe will turn 200 on January 19th, but his spirit lives on in more ways than one, appropriately enough. Poe’s writings have become ingrained in our culture, even when we don’t realize it. Few people can think of slightly archaic term “Nevermore” without conjuring the image of a raven, or consider tasting a particular fortified wine called amontillado without hearing it spoken by Boris Karloff in their mind’s ear. To celebrate Poe’s birth, The New York Review of Science Fiction Readings will present a star-studded lineup of writers and performance that will get your tell-tale heart a-beating. There will be a brief perspective on the history and impact of Poe and American gothic writing, a performance of “A Cask of Amontillado,” and a book launch party for a new Poe-inspired anthology celebrating the occasion, featuring some of the top writers today.

January 6, 2009 (doors open at 6:30 pm, program begins at 7:00), The South Street Seaport Museum’s Melville Gallery (213 Water Street, New York, NY) will host this celebration of Edgar Allan Poe’s 200th birthday. Admission is free, but $5 donations are encouraged to offset costs and buy dinner for the readers.

Readings will be done by Veronica Schanoes is an assistant professor of English at Queens College; Simon Loekle, producer/host of As I Please (WBAI 99.5 FM, NYC), a weekly radio program that often presents literary readings; and Ellen Datlow has been editing short science fiction, fantasy, and horror for over twenty-five years. Her latest release is Poe: 19 Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe (Solaris). There will also be four contributors from the Poe anthology doing readings: Gregory Frost, a writer of fantasy, horror and science fiction who has been publishing steadily for more than two decades; John Langan, the author of several stories, including “Mr. Gaunt,” and “On Skua Island,” which were originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction; Barbara Roden, who has been published in a number of anthologies and is being collected in Northwest Passages, which will be out in 2009 from Prime Books; and Delia Sherman, who has had short fiction in F&SF, Fantasy Magazine, and numerous anthologies, the most recent of which is The Coyote Road (2007).

On the other side of the ocean, the British Fantasy Society will host the UK launch of Poe, a new anthology from Solaris. The book features “remixed and reimagined” versions of Poe’s tales by such talents as: Pat Cadigan, Sharyn McCrumb, Kim Newman, Lucius Shepard, M. Rickert and Nicholas Royle.

This free event will be held Saturday, January 31st at the historic Ye Olde Cock Tavern on London’s Fleet Street. Ellen Datlow will be on hand to present readings by Pat Cadigan and Kim Newman with copies of the book available for purchase and signature.

It all happens at 2 pm at Ye Olde Cock Tavern, 22 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1AA.

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