The Center for Fiction

Attractions , Libraries, archives and foundations Midtown East
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Located in what was formerly known as the Mercantile Library, the Center for Fiction has some old-world charm, but make no mistake: this literary arts space has one of the more modern sensibilities in town. This is where the legenary editor Gordon Lish—who has worked with many of America's most innovative writers—returned to teaching. The events themselves are adventurous and high-quality: Mary Gaitskill's talk "Why We Read" comes to mind, as does a Colson Whitehad discussion about the importance of craft.
Venue name: The Center for Fiction
Contact:
Address: 17 E 47th St
New York

Cross street: between Fifth and Madison Aves
Transport: Subway: 42nd St S, 4, 5, 6 to 42nd St–Grand Central
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David C

Okay we live in a city with one of the greatest public library systems in the world--and it's totally free. Why would anyone pay money to belong to a private library? Because this is the best-kept secret in NYC among bibliophiles and writers. Located on a fairly nondescript side street just east of Diamond Row, the Center for Fiction - housed in the Mercantile Library, is an oasis of calm and cushy chairs. For about $125 a  year you can become a member, which means that on weekends or on your lunch break - if you work around the area - you can stop by to read, write and relax in a very civilized atmosphere. The Center also has semi-private writers' studio space and events each month - readings, workshops, etc. I've spent many a productive hour there writing or just getting some thinking done.