San Miguel Literary Sala - San Miguel Literary Sala, A.C. is a non-profit organization in Mexico

December 14, 2017: Literary Sala Readings

Date: Thursday, December 14, 2017
Time: 5:00–7:00 p.m.

Location: Hotel de La Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio #15

Admission: $50 pesos for Literary Sala members, $100 for non-members. Complimentary Wine Reception. Tickets available at the door.

Literary Sala: The Future of Books and the History of San Miguel

By Carole Schor

The December 14 Literary Sala proudly presents Merilyn Simonds, the popular Canadian author of sixteen books, and local San Miguel historian, Joseph Toone.

Merilyn Simonds

Merilyn’s topic on December 14 is, “The Future of Books,” and will be about her latest book entitled Gutenberg’s Fingerprint. The book explores the greatest change in the literary world, the invention of the printing press, which not only brought literacy and knowledge to the whole world, but also heralded the beginning of the manufacturing era. Merilyn investigates the past, present and evolving future of what we call a “book” in paper, type, ink, and press. She unravels our assumptions about reading, writing, the nature of creativity, and the value of imperfection. Gutenberg’s Fingerprint is a timely and fascinating book that explores the myths, inventions, and consequences of the digital shift and attempts to answer the question: what is lost and what is gained as paper turns to pixel.

Merilyn loves books, be they print or digital, or now audible. “I am part of the last generation to grow up in a world where books were made of paper, where writing meant moving a pen or pencil through the cursive alphabet, and publishing involved big companies with big machines. I’ve watched the digital revolution replace paper with pixels, pencils with electronic keyboards, publishers with the ability to produce our own books.”

Books and writing have always been a part of Merilyn’s life, beginning with writing her first book in the 1970’s on a Smith Corona typewriter. “As I wrote Gutenberg’s Fingerprint, I thought a lot about books, what they are, what they mean, why I love them, how they are changing and how they are becoming what they started out to be.” She loves the feel of a book in her hand. “There is something deeply intimate about a book. It nestles in my hands for hours, my fingers tracing down its spine. I gaze into its pages with rapt attention.” Still, she has embraced the digital revolution (perhaps somewhat reluctantly, as a seismic change in the literary landscape) for the ease of storytelling. “Because, in the end, what matters are stories—stories that we’ve been telling each other, in one form or another, for as long as we’ve lived.”

Joseph Toone

Joseph Toone is a storyteller as well, with a specialization in the stories and tales of our own San Miguel de Allende. His tours combine Mexican history, faith, and culture with insight into how today’s traditions are a mix of the indigenous and Spanish. Joseph’s knowledge of the interplay of pre-Hispanic cultures and Catholicism in the history of San Miguel, his familiarity with the history of each church and its evolution, all the saints, the virgins, and the cultural evolution of the city make for a lively and interesting tour for visitors to SMA.

Joseph has taken all the stories behind the symbolism, religious significance, and architectural charm in San Miguel and surrounding areas and created a series of books, San Miguel de Allende Secrets. His Christmas with St. Nick’s Nudes, Devils and Jesus’ Doppelganger is a unique guide to the San Miguel Christmas traditions that are an extraordinary mixture of an ancestral pagan past and the Catholic faith.  Easter with Plagues, Prison, Piñatas and Popsicles will tell you everything about Semana Santa, the uniquely Latin tradition of Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday. Want to know why there are fireworks every night and morning and what the church bells mean?  Joseph’s History and Culture with Virgins, Barbies and Transgender Saints will tell you all you want to know. And if you’ve just enjoyed a fantastic week of Catrinas and calacas, you can find out more in Joseph’s book, Day of the Dead with Skeletons, Witches and Spirit Dogs.

Join us for a fascinating evening of books and history at the Literary Sala on December 14 at 5 PM at the Hotel Aldea. Admission is 50 pesos for Literary Sala members and 100 pesos for non-members, including a wine and snack reception. To explore membership, go to

December 9, 2017: Holiday Book Fair

Date: Saturday, December 9, 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Location: Casa Europa en México
San Francisco #23, Centro

Local Authors Will Read at the Holiday Book Fair

By Sarah Grace Powers

San Miguel Book FariThe Literary Sala’s Holiday Book Fair is scheduled for Saturday, December 9th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m at Casa Europa en México (San Francisco #23, Centro). Don’t miss this fun event where you’ll have an opportunity to meet and chat with local authors as well as artisans.

At the Fair you may just be able to finish your holiday shopping list all in one swoop! In addition to art prints, cards, and other artisanal items, you’ll find numerous books in various genres, all penned by local authors, including a few in Spanish.

A popular feature is the mini-readings that go on throughout the day. The authors read or tell stories from their own books, and sometimes have time for a few questions. Check out the reading schedule below.

2017 12 Book Fair Reading Schedule

November 16, 2017: San Miguel Poetry Café

Date: Thursday, November 16, 2017
Time: 5:00–6:00 p.m.

Location: Posada de la Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio #15 – Upstrairs

Admission: Suggested Donation $50 pesos

Poetry Lives in San Miguel de Allende

By Maia Williams

The second reading of the 2017–2018 season of Poetry
Three experienced poets and writers, will share their poetry at the November 16th San Miguel Poetry Café.

Signe HammerSigne Hammer winters in San Miguel, where she writes, teaches writing workshops, co-leads birdwalks and coaches writers. She continues writing, birding and coaching in NYC, where she is a long-time member of The Writers Room. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications including Fiction, New England Review, Rapport, On Barcelona, Playgirl and the Doubleday anthologies Pleasures: Women Write Erotica and Erotic Interludes: Tales Told by Women. She has read her work at such venues as the Nuyorican Poets Café, The Knitting Factory, Dixon Place, the Cornelia St. Café and the San Miguel Literary Sala.

Her articles have appeared in numerous national publications ranging from The Village Voice to Harper’s Bazaar. She has published four nonfiction books: her memoir, By Her Own Hand: Memoirs of a Suicide’s Daughter, was described as “fascinating and disturbing,” with “an ironic distance worthy of Jane Austen,” in the New York Times Book Review, which named it a Notable Book.

As a dance-theater performer, Signe was a founding member of Meredith Monk/The House. She has also been an editor at both a major book publisher and a national magazine, and taught writing for 12 years at New York University.

Mark Johaningsmeir by Niels Henriksen

Photo Credit: Niels Henriksen

Mark Johaningsmeir has been a resident of San Miguel de Allende since early 2011. Why did he move here? Not because of the architecture. It was because of a woman! Judith Jenya and Mark met in September 2010 and were married in November 2011.

He is a retired United Methodist minister, who is happy not to face a Sunday morning writing deadline every week.

Mark grew up in Waukegan, Illinois, and spent most his adult years in Minnesota.

He has two adult children, a son near Saint Paul and a daughter in Milwaukee

and two superlative granddaughters. Mark is gratified that his off-spring live up to the high standards of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, “where the women are strong, the men are good looking and the children are all above average.”

One of the projects Judith and Mark tackled in San Miguel was the planning and construction of a new home in 2014. Neither had experience in building a house. He is happy to report that they are delighted with their new home – and the marriage survived.

Béa AaronsonBéa Aaronson was born in Paris, France, in 1956. She is a self-taught multimedia artist, a published poet, author, and art critic, a lecturer and independent scholar, as well as a stage performer and a storyteller. She is now embarking on a magical cinematographic adventure in the Mexican production of Director Andrea Martinez Crowther, called Birdwatching. It is a big screen film about the effects of Alzheimer’s on a woman writer from her fifties until her eighties. Aaronson holds a BA in History of Art, an MA in French Literature and a PhD in Philosophy and Comparative Literature. She published and illustrated her first book in 1998, Baudelaire-Miller Sexual Squalor in Paris, which is now the property of Harvard’s Private Book Collection. She is presently working on a collection of poems in Spanish, MALETAS.

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Founded in January of 2016, Poetry Café Bellas Artes meets monthly, September through April. This all-volunteer community organization features local and visiting poets (established and emerging) sharing original work in a casual setting.

Please arrive a few minutes early. Seating will be first come, first seated.