Surprise Bookshelf

American Writers Museum/Surprise Bookshelf
American Writers Museum
Written By American Writers Museum

The American Writers Museum celebrates American writers through innovative, state-of-the-art exhibitions and compelling programming.

Celebrate the diversity of writing forms 

Our Surprise Bookshelf features dozens of works collectively displayed in a colorful, aesthetically pleasing display. Components are installed at mid-level height—easily accessible by most visitors.

Select items reveal surprises and information when pushed, turned, or spun. Fiction and non-fiction, short and long, great American writing comes in many forms including: novels, short stories, essays, letters, speeches, poems, songs, plays, screenplays, children’s books, graphic novels, song lyrics, and more.

American writing has always been diverse. As you can see in the American Voices exhibit on the other side of this gallery, Americans have always been prolific writers from many different genres. We do our best to keep all writers in mind, which is why so many different genres are featured in the Surprise Bookshelf. There are many sensory possibilities in this shelf too - because we don't always just read great writing, but also listen to, feel, smell, and live it!

Couldn't find your favorite writer? Come back in a few months and you might discover someone new in the Surprise Bookshelf!

“Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it’s just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.”— David Sedaris

American Writers Museum

Surprise Bookshelf

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