Past Bookmark Indy events

Lights on Shortridge

April 27-29, 2021 | 8:30-10:00 p.m | 3401 North Meridian Street

Stop by Shortridge High School to see a projection show featuring the yearbook photos of Shortridge High School alumni Kurt Vonnegut, Dan Wakefield, Madelyn Pugh and Marguerite Young.

View the projections here. 


Book Scavenger Hunt

May 1, 2021 | 3:00 p.m | 345 Massachusetts Avenue

Tune in to Indiana Humanities social media accounts to receive a clue to find copies of Vonnegut books hidden around the area.


downtown Poetry

May 5, 2021 | 3:00-5:00 p.m. | 448 Massachusetts Avenue

Join us at the Mari Evans mural on Mass Ave to help us share Mari’s work on the streets of Indianapolis. We’ll have chalk and excerpts from Mari’s work to enliven the sidewalks!

This event is weather permitting. Please check back on the day of the event for any updates. 


Kurt Vonnegut in Indianapolis Tour

May 26, 2021 | 6:00 p.m. | Crossroads of America

Lace up your walking shoes and learn about Indianapolis sites associated with the Vonnegut family. Chris Lafave, curator at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, will meet you underneath the Ayres clock (designed by Kurt’s father) and guide you through downtown, telling you about the history of the Vonnegut family and their impact on the city. You’ll end up at the Athenaeum (designed by Kurt’s grandfather), where you can purchase drinks and food at the Biergarten. Note that the guided tour is one way only (it does not return to the Ayres clock) and is approximately .8 miles long.


Swingin Syllables

May 31, 2021 | 7:00 p.m. | Virtual

Poet Etheridge Knight was known for tackling serious topics with playful language, perhaps made most evident in his haiku. Join Dr. Adam Henze as he hosts a “Head-to-Head Haiku Competition”—a zany and Zen competition featuring influential haiku writers from Indiana. This battle of “Haikusters” will celebrate the legacy of Etheridge Knight by featuring haiku that showcase the topics and aesthetic of the late poet.

The winning poet will receive a $250 cash prize and the winning poem will be featured on the Bookmark Indy website. Space is limited and registration is required to compete.

See the poetry competition here.


Bookmark Indy Lunch and Learn: Indianapolis Drag History

June 16, 2021 | 12: 00 p.m. | Virtual

Bookmark Indy author Alan Helms grew up in Indianapolis during the 1940s and 1950s, and although his introduction to gay life primarily came after he left for New York City, LGBTQ+ people were living, working and building a community in his hometown. Stephen Lane will help us learn more about the LGBTQ+ community in Indianapolis during Helms’s time with a presentation of his graduate research on the long history of drag in Indianapolis, especially along Indiana Avenue. In addition to jazz musicians, from 1933 through the 1970s drag queens also graced the stages of the clubs that once populated Indiana Avenue, including the Madam Walker Theater.

Tune in here.

Partner: Stephen Lane


Somebody Else sold the world release party

July 13, 2021 | 6:30 p.m. | The Jazz Kitchen

Swing by the Jazz Kitchen on July 13 at 6:30 pm for a celebration of poetry, music and Adrian Matejka’s new book Somebody Else Sold the World. Adrian’s new poetry collection is packed with musical inspirations (David Bowie, Prince, Radiohead, Al Green, and more!), while addressing the deep challenges of the past year’s pandemic and protests.

Attendees will be treated to music from Rob Dixon and readings from fellow Indiana poets Chantel Massey (finalist for a 2020 Indiana Authors Award for Bursting at the Seams) and Michell L. H. Douglas. Adrian will read from his new collection and answer audience questions. After the readings, books from all the authors will be available for sale and signing.

Space is limited. Registration is required:




Bookmark Indy Happy Hour ft. Maurice BRoaddus

July 14, 2021 | 4:00-6:00 p.m. | Indianapolis City Market

Stop by the Indianapolis City Market west plaza to enjoy a beverage while listening to a reading from Bookmark Indy featured author, Maurice Broaddus and live music from Clint Breeze and the Groove. Maurice’s books will be for sale and signing.




The Lockerbie Promenade

July 20, 2021 | 6:30-8:00 p.m. | 528 Lockerbie Street

Spend a pleasant summer evening on Lockerbie Street, the “dear little street” that James Whitcomb Riley called home and honored with a poem. We’ll gather at the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home, where the famed Hoosier Poet lived from 1893 to 1916, and enjoy guided tours and perhaps even a visit from Riley himself. Meanwhile, Marjorie Kienle, a longtime resident of the Lockerbie Square neighborhood who helped to revitalize it beginning in the 1970s, will lead walks through the neighborhood’s “cool shady coverts of whispering trees” and share its history. Masks required.

Registration is required:

Partners: James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home and Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis



Magnificent Meridian Street Tour 2

July 21, 2021 | 7:00-8:00 p.m. | 4270 North Meridian Street

We know you’ve gawked at all the houses while speeding along North Meridian Street in your car—now rediscover Indianapolis’s most famous thoroughfare with an up-close and personal walking tour. We’ll meet on the sidewalk outside the home of Booth Tarkington (author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Magnificent Ambersons) and head north, marveling at what the National Park Service calls “a living encyclopedia of American architecture from the roaring twenties.” Historian Jordan Ryan will serve as our host, pointing out the historic homes and telling the stories of the families who lived in them. Masks required.

Registration is required:

Partner: Jordan Ryan


Meredith nicholson House party

July 29, 2021 | 5:00-9:00 p.m. | 1500 North Delaware Street

Join us at the Meredith Nicholson House for the unveiling of a new historical marker honoring Meredith’s life and writing. Stick around for complimentary tours of the house and meet characters from The House of a Thousand Candles.


Partner: Indiana Historical Society


Saturday at Central State

August 7, 2021 | 5:00-6:30 p.m. | 3270 Kirkbride Way

Explore the beginnings of scientific psychiatry and modern medicine in a historic setting. We’ll gather at the Indiana Medical History Museum, located on the grounds of the former Central State Hospital on the near-west side of Indianapolis. Executive Director Sarah Halter will lead tours through the museum, which is housed in the hospital’s former pathology building, and will share insights into treatment of mental illness in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We’ll also tour the surrounding grounds, learning about the hospital’s history and efforts to redevelop the remaining buildings. Masks required.

Registration required:

Partner: Indiana Medical History Museum


skiles Test History Hike

August 14, 2021 | 1:00 p.m. | 6828 Fall Creek Rd

The urban legend surrounding Indianapolis businessman Skiles Test and his home inspired Bookmark Indy author Susan Neville’s novel In the House of Blue Lights. Join us at Skiles Test Nature Park to hear about the legends and history of Skiles Test and his property while we hike the trail at the park. Who knows! We may even see Skiles along our way.


Partner: Indiana Historical Society


Naptown Season One listening party

August 17, 2021 | 5:30-7:00 p.m. | 5170 College Avenue

Join us at the Red Key for a listening party of Naptown Season One. We’ll grab a drink and listen to one of the episodes featuring Dan Wakefield and hosted by Susan Neville. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask Dan and Susan questions about the podcast, their writing and more! Dan and Susan will also have their books available for sale and signing.



Bookmark Indy Toy Workshop

August 21, 2021 | 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | 234 North Davidson Street

Hoosier kids in grades K-3 are invited to the Bookmark Indy Toy Workshop! Join us at the former Jacob Klein Bakery and General Store located in the historic Lockerbie Square neighborhood near downtown Indy. Together with Suzanne Walker of the Indiana Young Readers Center, we’ll learn about Johnny Gruelle, creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy, and about the history of the bakery and general store. We’ll experience some Raggedy Ann stories and have the opportunity to create our very own toys.

Register here:

Partner: Indiana Young Readers Center at the Indiana State Library


A Celebration of Mari Evans on Indiana Avenue

August 24, 2021 | 7:00 p.m. | St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 720 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street

Let’s celebrate our literary maven, Mari Evans, on Indiana Avenue! Author Aleta Hodge will present a tribute with a jazz band playing some of her favorite tunes. Saxophonist Matthew Phemster, great-grandson of Mari Evans and keyboardist Carl Hines will share classic Indiana Avenue jazz.
Masks will be required to attend this event.
Register here:
Partner: Aleta Hodge

Meet Mary

October 2, 2021 | 11:00 a.m -1:00 p.m. | Woodruff Place

Stop by the Bookmark Indy table at the Woodruff Place Flea Market for the chance to chat with Mary from The Magnificent Ambersons and learn about Woodruff Place in the early 20th century. Mary sees and hears all in the Amberson household, so bring your questions!

Partner: Indiana Historical Society


Architectural Trivia Contest with Bookmark Indy & Preserve Greater Indy

October 13, 2021 | 6:30 p.m. -8:00 p.m. | Centerpoint Brewing Company

Join us Wednesday, October 13th, at Centerpoint Brewing in the Circle City Industrial Complex for our annual architectural history trivia contest! This year, Preserve Greater Indy is co-hosting the event with Indiana Humanities to celebrate their Bookmark Indy project.

We’ll begin at 6:30. Gather your Indianapolis & history-loving friends to test your knowledge! Teams are limited to 4 participants. Prizes will be given to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.

The event is free, but registration is required. Register yourself or your team via the eventbrite link. Please wear a mask and follow Centerpoint Brewing’s covid guidelines.

Partner: Preserve Greater Indy

Report Back.

Read the location passage. What questions would you ask the author? What would help you understand the author's viewpoint?

Added TEXTure.

Writing is about more than just words. Look around to discover what textures are most prevalent in this place. Do a texture rubbing using a piece of paper and a crayon or pencil.

In the Margins.

What inspires you most about this place? Draw a quick doodle of it in the margin of one of your books.

Found sound.

Walk around the location and record the sounds of surroundings. Did what you hear depend on what time you visited?

Backward / Forward.

Cities change—what did your location look like in 1920? What will it look like in 2120?


Find another perspective by walking to a different spot around this location. Do you notice anything new? Which of your five senses notices a change first?

Strike a Prose.

Write a short passage describing how this place inspires you.

Love Letter / BreakUp Letter.

Think about your relationship with the place you’re visiting or perhaps with your own neighborhood. Is it time to commit? Or time to let go? Write a letter as if you’re speaking directly to the place you have in mind.

Field Notes.

Explore your stream of consciousness by writing down every thought that enters your mind.