Events and Programs

Sharing and celebrating our shared literary heritage

We present and support a wide range of events and programs—from special exhibits that showcase conserved items from the BPL to Literary Lights, which recognizes New England writers to our singular Writer-in-Residence program.

Writer-in-Residence Program

Inspiring an emerging writer
We provide an emerging writer with financial support and a place to work at the BPL while completing a literary work for children or young adults. The results are impressive—published books, great reviews, awards, and film options. The fellowship creates a living link between the BPL and an international community of readers by fostering creation of a new literary work. Sound exciting?

Pierce Performance Series

Bringing the Special Collections to life

The Pierce Performance Series was launched to raise the visibility of the Boston Public Library’s Special Collections through free public performances and lectures. For our inaugural event we commemorated the 150th anniversary of the National Peace Jubilee. Subsequent performances have honored the historic words of the abolitionists, celebrated women's right to vote, and examined the life of one of America's first rebels, Thomas Paine.

Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award

Taking a look back in a light-hearted debate
Are books that were popular a hundred years ago still relevant today? That’s the question we ask every year at the Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award, where three distinguished panelists make a strong case for their books. The audience chooses the winner. Learning from yesterday’s literature has never been this fun.

Literary Lights

Hosting the literary event of the season
For the past three decades, we have hosted this spectacular evening honoring distinguished authors from the Northeast—celebrating their contributions to literature and the written word. Proceeds from Literary Lights support the David McCullough Conservation Fund and our conservation work.

Special Exhibits

Showcasing the treasures in the BPL Special Collections
We help underwrite special exhibits and events that draw from the Boston Public Library’s vast and rare holdings, putting literary and historical items in a new context – and making them available to a broad audience of millions of Library visitors, as well as online visitors around the world.