Chestertown, MD — The staid Victorian structure had stood along Washington Avenue for as long as anyone could remember, quiet and unassuming. But in 1985, the old Bell House was reborn as the Rose O'Neill Literary House, soon to be famous far and wide as a thriving hub for Washington College student writers and visiting literary luminaries.
Now, after years of memorable moments and months of much-needed makeover, the venerable Rose O'Neill Literary House will have its official re-unveiling on Friday, April 11, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The rededication ceremony will offer visitors a first look at the newly restored and renovated writers' salon.
Now that the house has undergone a major refurbishment, it is being officially rededicated as "a center for literature and creative life."
The rededication ceremony is being sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Washington College, and will feature student performances from across the disciplines, including a performance by the Washington College Jazz Ensemble. Meanwhile, the most famous cake-maker in America, the New York-based Raven (aka "Cake Man"), is creating a beautiful, and beautifully edible, masterpiece for the occasion.
Through the decades, the Rose O'Neill Literary House has played host to a rich panoply of famous authors; the Washington Post dubbed it "the Carnegie Hall of literary readings." Walls lined with memorabilia and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves induce a cozy, creative atmosphere. The house feels steeped in the history of those who have come before, as it continues to be a haven for the aspiring scribes of Washington College and the celebrated writers who pass through. Currently, for example, the house is headquarters for a month-long visit to Chestertown by novelist Nuruddin Farah, widely considered the greatest living African author.
Admission to the rededication of the Rose O'Neill Literary House is free and open to the public, but advance reservations are requested; call 410/778-7899 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 2, 2008