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April 27, 2024
4:30 pm
6:30 pm

Celebrating Brooke Shaffner And The 1729 Book Prize From Mason Jar Press

Join us for a special Independent Bookstore Day event celebrating the 1729 Book Prize from Baltimore-based Mason Jar Press, and its recent winner, Brooke Shaffner, author of COUNTRY OF UNDER!

This event will kick off with a happy hour from 4:30-5:30 p.m., and then transition into a reading and conversation with Brooke Shaffner and Diane Zinna at 5:30 p.m.

COUNTRY OF UNDER, winner of the 1729 Book Prize, revolves around the transformative friendship of Pilar Salomé Reinfeld, raised by her undocumented father, a descendent of Bolivian Mennonites, in a Mexican-American community; and Carlos/Carla/Río Gomez, a gender-fluid DREAMer raised by their grandmother in the same Texican bordertown. After years away, tragedy calls them back to the Rio Grande Valley—their lives changed but still bound. Still mourning, Pilar returns to New York City with Río. As Río finds love and Pilar struggles to find a way forward, they drift apart. When Pilar’s decision to engage in a dangerous artivist act finally threatens to tear them apart, they struggle to do what they have done in their best moments: see the beauty in each other, even when the world does not.

About the author:

Country of Under was the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction runner-up and was shortlisted for Dzanc Books’ Prize for Fiction and Black Lawrence Press’s Big Moose Prize. An excerpt won the Asheville Writers’ Workshop Fiction Contest. Brooke’s work has appeared in The Hudson Review, Marie Claire, BOMB, Litmosphere, Lost and Found: Stories from New York, and The Lit Pub. She’s received grants from the Arts & Science Council, United States Artists, and the Saltonstall Foundation and residencies from MacDowell, Ucross, Saltonstall, Edward Albee, Jentel, I-Park, and VCCA. Brooke grew up part Garza, part Shaffner in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and co-founded Freedom Tunnel Press with her partner Niteesh Elias to publish books that straddle borders. Read more at

Diane Zinna is the author of THE ALL-NIGHT SUN (Random House, 2020) which was longlisted for The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the Cabell First Novelist Award. Her craft book on the art of telling our most difficult stories, LETTING GRIEF SPEAK, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. She received her MFA from the University of Florida and was the longtime membership director for AWP, where she created the Writer to Writer Mentorship Program, helping to match more than six hundred writers over twelve seasons. Her work has appeared at Brevity, Electric Literature, LiteraryHub, Monkeybicycle, and Eat, Darling, Eat. Diane leads a free class called Grief Writing Sundays that has met every other week for the past four years. Meet her there or online at

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