Boston Book Festival

October 25, 2014

One City One Story


2014 1C1S cover Page Distribution of 2014’s One City One Story has begun! This year’s story is Jennifer Haigh’s “Sublimation,“ a story that explores the intergenerational dynamics in one family as they tackle topics of gender nonconformity, emotional connection, and the existential crises that accompany aging.

We hope that you will enjoy this thought-provoking story by acclaimed author Jennifer Haigh and that it inspires reflection and dialogue within our Greater Boston communities. Please join us for our One City One Story Town Hall on the day of the festival moderated by Alicia Anstead to engage with Jennifer Haigh and to share your own ideas about the story.

Check out our new blog post featuring a conversation with 2012 1C1S author Anna Solomon and 2014 1C1S author Jennifer Haigh!

We would also like to thank Dunkin’ Donuts, which has generously funded the One City One Story project for the second consecutive year, and Zipcar, whose support allows us to distribute copies of the stories throughout Boston’s neighborhoods.

About Jennifer Haigh:

haigh_jennifer_thumbnail Jennifer Haigh is an acclaimed short story writer and New York Times-bestselling novelist. Her short fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Good Housekeeping, The Best American Short Stories, and numerous other publications. Haigh has also written four novels: Baker Towers, The Condition, Faith, and Mrs. Kimble, for which Haigh was awarded the 2003 PEN/Hemingway Award. Haigh’s most recent book is the short story anthology News From Heaven, which The Boston Globe calls “a vibrant, thought-provoking, profoundly readable contribution to the genre.”

About 1C1S

The mission of the Boston Book Festival is to celebrate the power of words, to promote a culture of literature and ideas, and to enhance the vibrancy of the city of Boston, and in 2010 we launched One City One Story to do just that. One City One Story is the BBF’s version of an all-city read, but instead of a book, we print and distribute a short story. Our goal is to make a short story available to all, free of charge, to spread the joy of reading for pleasure among the teens and adults of our city, and to create a community around a shared reading experience.


In 2010, One City One Story’s inaugural year, we distributed thousands of free copies of Tom Perrotta’s story, “The Smile on Happy Chang’s Face,” offered online translations and downloads, and led citywide discussions leading up to a town-hall style discussion with the author at the Boston Book Festival. The next year, we held library discussions of the 2011 selection, Richard Russo’s “The Whore’s Child,” distributed the story throughout the city, offered the story in four different languages, and held a writing contest for the public. In 2012, we held an online reading group for the first time, in addition to library discussions, and a special discussion with Anna Solomon. Additionally, we offered a printed version in Spanish for the first time and provided the story in four different languages electronically.

Previous 1C1S Selections:

2013: “Karma” by Rishi Reddi

2012: “The Lobster Mafia Story” by Anna Solomon

2011: “The Whore’s Child” by Richard Russo

2010: “The Smile on Happy Chang’s Face” by Tom Perrotta

Find the Story

Local Places and Events

Find “Sublimation” somewhere near you! We will be distributing copies at the following locations and events starting September 2. Thanks to our sponsor, Dunkin' Donuts, copies will be available at select Dunkin' locations (see below). We hope to see you soon!

Starting at the beginning of September, copies will be available at:

All branches of the Boston Public Library

*Spanish edition available at:

Central Library
East Boston
Egleston Square

Copies are available at the following neighborhood locations:

Dunkin' Donuts, 179 Brighton Ave
Refuge Cafe

Edith M. Fox Branch Library
Robbins Library

Back Bay
Ben & Jerry’s
Bolocco, 247 Newbury St
Bolocco, 1080 Boylston St
Dunkin' Donuts, 153 Mass Ave Dunkin' Donuts, 333 Newbury St
Dunkin' Donuts, 430 Stuart St
Newbury Comics
Pavement Coffee, 1069 Boylston St
Pavement Coffee, 286 Newbury St
Raven Used Books
Starbucks, 165 Newbury St
Trident Booksellers
The Wired Puppy

Beacon Hill
Caffe Bella Vita
Cafe Vanille
Capitol Coffee House
Dunkin' Donuts, 100 Cambridge St
Dunkin' Donuts, 106 Cambridge St
Massachusetts State House, in the offices of the following state legislators:
Senator William N. Brownsberger, room 413A
Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, room 312D (English and Spanish copies)
Representative Carole Fiola, room 446 (English and Spanish copies)
Representative Gloria Fox, room 167
Representative Kate Hogan, room 166
Representative Daniel Hunt, room 33
Senator Pat Jehlen, room 513
Senator Brian A. Joyce, room 109D
Senator Thomas McGee, room 109C
Representative Paul McMurtry, room 279
Representative Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr., room 236
Senator Karen Spilka, room 320

Belmont Public Library

Athan’s Bakery
Cafe Mirror
Dunkin' Donuts, 214 North Beacon St
Treats on Washington

Brookline Booksmith
Brookline Public Library, Main
Brookline Public Library, Coolidge Corner
Dunkin' Donuts, 1316 Beacon St
Dunkin' Donuts, 20 Boylston St
Dunkin' Donuts, 8 Harvard St
New England Comics

1369 Coffee House, 757 Mass Ave
1369 Coffee House, 1369 Cambridge St
2nd St. Cafe
Area Four
BeanTowne Coffee House
Bryn Mawr Bookstore
Cafe Luna
Cambridge Public Library, Boudreau
Cambridge Public Library, Central Sq
Cambridge Public Library, Main
Cambridge Public Library, Valente
Crema Cafe
Darwin’s Ltd.
Dunkin' Donuts
The Fishmonger
Grolier Poetry Bookshop
Harvard Book Store
Harvard Coop
Lesley University Library
Life Alive
Lorem Ipsum Books
Million Year Picnic
MIT Press Bookstore
Newbery Comics, 36 JFK St
Peet’s Coffee & Tea
Petsi Pies, 31 Putnam Ave
Porter Square Books
Raven Used Books
Rodney’s Bookstore
Schoenhof’s Foreign Books
Sara’s Market
Singa Bella Cafe

Chelsea City Hall
Chelsea Public Library

Paul Pratt Memorial Library

Concord Book Shop

Dedham Public Library

Dot2Dot Cafe
Dunkin' Donuts, 1580-A Dorchester Ave
Fields Corner
Fields Corner Cafe
Minia Cafe

Au Bon Pain, 26 Park Plaza
Boston Center for Adult Education
Boston University’s Mugar Memorial Library
Brattle Book Shop
Emerson College’s Iwasaki Library
Emmanuel College’s Cardinal Cushing Library
Dunkin' Donuts, 80 Boylston St
Dunkin' Donuts, 16 Kneeland St
Dunkin' Donuts, 8 Park Plaza
Dunkin' Donuts, 630 Washington St
GrubStreet, Inc.
Simmons College’s Beatley Library
Starbucks, 62 Boylston St
Suffolk University’s Mildred F. Sawyer Library
Thinking Cup

Hingham Public Library

Jamaica Plain
7 Pond Coffee
City Feed and Supply
Coldwell Banker
Fire Opal
Fresh Hair
Hyde Square Task Force
Monumental Cupcakes
On Centre
Prudential Unlimited Realty
We Are Hair
When Pigs Fly Bakery

Cary Memorial Library

Bestsellers Cafe

Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library

Dunkin' Donuts, 38 Langley Rd
Dunkin' Donuts, 401 Watertown St
Dunkin' Donuts, 345 Washington St
Dunkin' Donuts, 829 Washington St
George Howell Coffee
Great Harvest Bread Co.
New England Mobile Book Fair
Newton Free Library
Newtonville Books
Starbucks, 1269 Centre St

North Andover
Stevens Memorial Library

Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth Book and Bar

Thomas Crane Public Library

826 Boston
Boston Latin Academy

3 Little Figs
Diesel Cafe
The Book Shop
The Boston Shaker Somerville Public Library, Main
True Grounds

South End
Rosie’s Place

Back Pages Bookstore

Watertown Free Library

Wellesey Books

Spanish and English print copies are also available at all locations of the Boston Housing Authority and the following Boston city and police departments:

Boston Housing Authority Main Offices
Boston Housing Development Map

Boston Area Health Education Center
Brighton Main Streets
City Hall To Go
Healthy Baby/Healthy Child
Hyde Park Main Streets
Office of Business Development
St. Mark’s Area Main Street

Boston Police Department Headquarters
District A-1 and A-15/Downtown and Charlestown
District A-7/East Boston
District B-2/Roxbury
District B-3/Mattapan
District C-6/South Boston
District C-11/Dorchester
District D-4/South End
District D-14/Brighton
District E-5/West Roxbury
District E-13/Jamaica Plain
District E-18/Hyde Park

Preliminary Distribution Schedule:

Thursday, September 4
J.P. Centre/South First Thursday

Sunday, September 14
Boston Local Food Festival

Tuesday, September 16
Dewey Square Farmers' Market

Wednesday, September 17, 8-9am
Copley Square T Station

Sunday, September 21
Hub on Wheels

Wednesday, September 24, 8-9am
North Station T Stop

Saturday, September 27
Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival

Saturday, September 27
Let’s Talk About Food Festival

Thursday, October 2, 4-6pm
Back Bay T Station


We hope 1C1S will inspire readers to participate with us again this year!

Local Discussions

Discussion groups are scheduled at the following locations of the Boston Public Library:
Charlestown: October 6th, 6:30pm
Jamaica Plain: October 9th, 6:30pm
Brighton: October 15th, 11:15am
Honan-Allston: October 20th, 6:15pm
Honan-Allston: October 25th, 10:30am
Connolly: October 27th, 7pm
South Boston: November 3rd, 6pm

A discussion will also be held at the Iwasaki Library at Emerson College on October 23rd, at 6:00pm.

The Ethical Society of Boston will hold a discussion of 1C1S with its members, who will attend the 1C1S session at the Boston Book Festival on October 25th, at their weekly meeting on October 26th from 10:00am-12:00pm, located at 30 JFK Street, 4th floor, in Cambridge, MA, and all interested individuals are welcome to join in the dialogue!

Discussion Questions

1._The story opens with Dolly and her son Bruce engaging in a nightly practice of watching Jeopardy! together. Do you have any daily rituals that you share with your family, friends, or loved ones that have persisted despite the passing years? How does that habit shape or reinforce your relationships with those individuals?

2._Dolly and Bruce call each other “dear” and “hon” in the privacy of their home (8). How do these nicknames establish the relationship(s) between Dolly and Bruce? How can taking on a nickname change how others perceive you and/or how you perceive yourself?

3._Barbara Jean becomes Dolly because her husband believes that her given name doesn’t “suit her” (9). Does changing your name change anything else about you (your identity, your personality, how you perceive yourself) or is it simply an aesthetic decision? Have you ever changed your name or preferred a nickname to your given name? If so, what precipitated that decision? If not, why do you feel your name “suits” you?

4._How does Dolly engage with Bruce’s affinity for trying on her Avon makeup testers as a child? She says that to her, it all “seemed harmless when Bruce was eight or nine” (10). Both Dolly and Bruce inherently understand that Tony, Dolly’s mill-worker husband, will not tolerate such a visible disavowal of traditional masculinity. Would Andrew, Bruce’s brother, accept Bruce’s cross-dressing? How would you react if you found out a close family member wished to wear clothing traditionally intended for a different gender?

5._Dolly blames her daughter-in-law for her granddaughter Zoe’s self-destructive behavior. Do you think her resentment of “the podiatrist” is justified? What do her internal comments (or lack thereof) reveal about her feelings toward Andrew’s parenting?

6._How would you characterize Zoe’s entrance into Dolly and Bruce’s insular home life? Have you ever become a new member of a family? Was it difficult to integrate into an established familial relationship? How so?

7._Dolly says that she “[doesn’t] mind” that Bruce enjoys wearing women’s clothing (13). Do you trust Dolly’s words? What is happening at this point in the story that might affect what Dolly says to Bruce? Can you find examples of Dolly’s potential (dis)comfort with Bruce’s cross-dressing later in the story?

8._In what ways is “Sublimation” a story about Dolly coming to terms with her increasing age and dependency on her family?

9._Consider the final paragraph of the story. Do you think that Dolly unconditionally accepts her children (and grandchild) for who they are, or do her final words suggest that Dolly’s age and experiences will not allow her to disclose her true opinions?

10._What does the title “Sublimation” mean to you at the end of the story? There are two main definitions to keep in mind:
a. Psychological: sublimation is the process of transforming socially unacceptable impulses into socially acceptable actions, potentially resulting in long-term habituation to socially normative behavior.
b. Scientific: when a solid changes directly into a gas, bypassing the liquid state (example: dry ice).

Writing Contest

Thank you to all who submitted stories to our writing contest! Our 2014 winner is Amy Bernstein’s story “Missing in Action”.

Additional Readings

Learn more about the difficulties that LGBTQ individuals face every day from GLAAD and about inclusive language and tips on how to speak respectfully about LGBTQ issues from MAP

Read about what Massachusetts rehabilitation centers can offer patients, and if you or a loved one is struggling with any type of addiction please seek help from

Just for fun: how to become a Jeopardy! contestant


Ask a question. Let us know what you think.

The Boston Book Festival
1100 Massachusetts Ave., Suite 300B
Cambridge, MA 02138

P: 617-945-9552


FB: 1C1S

T: @1city1story (#1C1S)


News media requiring additional information should contact:

Ami Bennitt
Ashmont Media
T: (617) 797-8267

One City One Story Project Manager

Niki Marion

1C1S Committee

Alicia Anstead, Callie Crossley, Nicole Lamy, Henriette Power, Ladette Randolph, and Christina Thompson.


Akshay Ahuja, Elisa Birdseye, Mark Krone, Nadine Frassetto, Katie Lynn Murphy, Santiago Nocera, and Sheila Scott.