Grand opening tomorrow for Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum Books | Blogh

Grand opening tomorrow for Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum Books

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The long-awaited North Side bookstore specializing in works in translation and world literature opens tomorrow with attractions including an all-ages children’s story hour at 11:30 a.m.

City of Asylum bookstore
  • City of Asylum bookstore
The store is run by Lesley Rains, who previously owned East End Book Exchange. Rains says the store has 8,000 books (some used, but mostly new). The stock includes poetry, classic literature, children’s books, graphic novels, and titles from such prestigious small presses as New York Review of Books, Copper Canyon, and Dalkey Archive Press.

Stopping by earlier today, I also spotted contemporary fiction and nonfiction, and works by such local talents as poet Terrance Hayes.

The store is part of City of Asylum’s new headquarters, Alphabet City, located on West North Avenue, two blocks from Allegheny General Hospital. The building's big, day-lit first floor also includes a performance space and a soon-to-open restaurant.

City of Asylum, founded in 2004, is a nonprofit that shelters and supports writers persecuted in their home countries. It also offers a year-round slate of readings, concerts and other cultural events.

The book store's grand opening tomorrow will include discounts, giveaways, coffee and snacks, and more.

It will not, however, be the first official public event at Alphabet City. In keeping with City of Asylum's international mission, that milestone occurred just a couple hours ago, with the swearing-in of 18 new American citizens from 13 countries by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. Among the new citizens was Silvia Duarte, the native of Guatemala who is City of Asylum’s assistant director and also managing editor of its online publication Sampsonia Way.

City of Asylum books will be open tomorrow 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Starting next week, says Rains, it will keep regular hours of 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and noon-4 p.m. Sundays.

Alphabet City is located at 40 W. North Ave.

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