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‘Why not bring them all together?’ Newton bookstore hosts local authors

Attendees of Hummingbird Books' first Local Author Book Fair mingle with authors at their tables Sept. 15.Andrea Chiang

Authors lined the walkway outside of Hummingbird Books, a new indie bookstore at The Street Chestnut Hill, and greeted attendees from their tables for the store’s first Local Author Book Fair on Sept. 15.

The evening event at The Street Chestnut Hill featured about two dozen authors, including established writers and people promoting their first books.

Since Hummingbird’s opening in April, local authors have flooded the store eager to promote their books, said Andrea Chiang, who helped owner Wendy Dodson open the store.

She said they decided to create the fair to help foster a community among local authors.

“Why not bring them all together?” Chiang said. “They can build community amongst one another and connect with our community.”


Dodson said they’ll try to hold the authors event every few months to bring together members of the region’s writing community.

“The energy was just so amazing,” Dodson said. “You could tell the authors had such a wonderful sense of camaraderie and wanted to support each other.”

One of the authors at the fair, La’Que Duren, who lives in Woburn, said she sold all the copies of her first book, “How the Mafia Saved my Life,” that she brought to the event.

Duren said the book is her “personal life story” about how she experienced abuse and a group of men helped change her life by leading her out of a destructive path.

“My story is dedicated to young girls and women who have been exploited, and it’s to let them know their past doesn’t define their future or who they can become,” Duren said in an interview.

Duren said her true goal is to travel and speak with people around the world about how to restore self-worth.

Duren said some “women are broken, and they have no hope.”

“I want to use the rest of my years to help them restore that and gain self-worth,” she said.


Duren said she met a lot of different people, and building publicity for her book at the event helped her feel “very hopeful” it will reach a wider audience. Her book was published in January through Resurgent Books.

Jon Horlink , a children’s book distributor from Natick who attended the event, said it “was great” to check out the work of over two dozen authors.

“When I’ve gone to those types of events at other bookstores, it’s only been one author,” he said. “It was nice to see so many in one spot.”

Horlink said “running into a few friends” and the “variety of authors” also made the night for him.

Sonig Varadian , a new author who lives in Newton, published her young adult fantasy novel, “Within Fire,” a month ago. The novel focuses on a teenage boy who discovers he has magical powers on his 16th birthday and faces an adversary who wants to harness his power and kill him.

Varadian said getting to know the other authors and the processes they’re going through to publish was “really fascinating.”

Emmi Fortin , who is also a first-time author from Woburn, wrote her memoir “Who Is Your Red Dress” about her “quest to break up with a love addiction.” Fortin used to be a high school biology teacher but changed to a break-up coach to help others manage heartbreak.

Fortin joined the event to connect more with other authors and learn more about publishing.


“I wanted to start being part of the community,” Fortin said.

Sarah Gardner, a Wayland resident, said she published her first book “Daily JAM” last November. She said she hoped the book would serve as a daily meditation tool based on stoic and yogic philosophies for readers.

“It takes you just a minute every day to read,” Gardner said. “It’s a way for you to live your life with a little bit more ease and joy and love.”

Gardner said she loved interacting with other writers and community members from across the greater Boston area.

“I met some incredibly wonderful people that came to enjoy the books and learn about the authors,” Gardner said.

Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misstated that Chiang owns the store with Dodson. Chiang is not an owner but Dodson’s business partner.

Emily Stevenson can be reached at newtonreport@globe.com