Since it arrived a year ago at Politics & Prose, “Opus,” Washington’s first print-on-demand Espresso book machine, has helped hundreds of area scribblers realize their publishing dreams. On a gray, biting afternoon Saturday, a dozen of them gathered at the bookstore to delight a standing-room-only audience with selections from their work. It was the first-ever Opus open mike.
Picked by a lottery open to all Opus authors, the diverse group brought poems, novels, memoirs and biographies. Before the writers came to the lectern, marketing director Lacey Dunham — timecards in hand — warned them not to break the five-minute limit: “I used to be a teacher!”
Joseph T. Wilkins, dressed in a red tie, white shirt and blue blazer, kicked things off with a lively introduction to “The Speaker Who Locked Up the House,” his historical novel about late-19th-century House Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed. “It’s a fat sucker,” he said of the book. “If you like history, you’ll like this.” A former municipal judge, Wilkins lives outside Atlantic City and comes to the District regularly for research. When he heard about Opus, he said, he was “fascinated by it.”