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From bookseller to bestseller: Boro’s literary son makes good • Brooklyn Paper

From bookseller to bestseller: Boro’s literary son makes good

Adam Wilson will read part of “Tell Me” at The Literary Review’s launch party in DUMBO on March 20.
Courtesy of Adam Wilson and TLR

It’s a Horatio Alger story that the great fabulist himself couldn’t even fathom — Brooklyn writer Adam Wilson has penned a novel that now lines the shelves of the bookstore where he used to work.

“Flatscreen,” in fact, has surged up the ranks to become a best seller at BookCourt, the famed Cobble Hill lit spot where Wilson spent two years as a cashier after finishing his M.F.A in fiction at Columbia University.

“It was a thrill to see the book on the shelves — and even more of a thrill to see some people actually buying it,” said Wilson, whose rags to, well, book-world-acclaim story will be toasted when he reads at DUMBO’s powerHouse Arena for the March 20 launch of the Literary Review’s winter issue.

Wilson no longer works at the store, but he hasn’t completely left his experiences behind, either — anecdotes from the shop feature prominently in some of his work, like “Tell Me,” a short story he wrote for the prestigious quarterly.

In “Tell Me,” a book-selling character discusses the strange mix of people that come into his bookstore — one shaped in part by Wilson’s experience on Court Street.

“Other guys from the halfway house come in, women too. Haircuts from the wrong decade. Like one decade off from the one in fashion … Everyone wants the same book about the 2012 apocalypse. That or chess strategy,” writes Wilson, who apparently learned that when you’re working at a bookstore, it makes sense to judge a book by its cover.

“Pretty much all the crazies bought one of those [two books],” said Wilson. “It tells you about that person — namely that they’re probably going to do something weird.”

For Minna Proctor, editor of the Literary Review, Wilson’s inclusion and prominent place at the reading, which also features authors Priscilla Becker and Danielle Blau, was an obvious choice.

“Wilson is incredibly charming and straightforward — his living room is Brooklyn,” said Proctor, who lives in Kensington.

The Literary Review’s Winter issue launch party at powerHouse Arena [37 Main at Water Streets in DUMBO, (718) 666-3049] For more info, visit www.powerhousearena.com

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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