Caroline Bicks and Michelle Ephraim: Everyday Shakespeare Podcast

Caroline Bicks and Michelle Ephraim: Everyday Shakespeare Podcast

Friday, October 27, 2023 - 7:00PM ET
Event address: 
Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA 02446-2908

In person at Brookline Booksmith! Join us for a live recording of the podcast Everyday Shakespeare, with hosts Caroline Bicks and Michelle Ephraim. The episode will take a look at the bookselling business in Shakespeare's time.

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Everyday Shakespeare: Where Bard Meets Life

The Everyday Shakespeare podcast is a bi-weekly, first-of-its-kind series that goes back to Shakespeare’s day to offer fresh, funny insights into our everyday problems. Shakespeare professors, hosts, and close friends Caroline Bicks and Michelle Ephraim are equal parts experts and entertainers who combine their historical and literary knowledge with hilarious riffs and questions. In each episode, they mine popular Renaissance texts — from sex manuals to parenting guides to plays — and discover the uncanny ways they anticipate a modern-day quandary, like: Should the Capulets have thrown a super-spreader masquerade ball during a plague outbreak? How did Cleopatra fight the middle-aged slide toward elastic waistbands? Do I have to invite my gloomy step-son Hamlet to my wedding if he’s just going to complain about my drinking? Everyday Shakespeare can be found wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Episode summary:

Commercial bookselling was a new business in the sixteenth century. Shakespeare's plays are filled with allusions to published material, offering us a unique window into the ways that writing made it into print in his day, and the different early modern buyers to whom these materials were being marketed. There was a range of inky delights: from cheap, bawdy ballads to high-end medical texts to fancy poetry collections to bootleg magic books. We want to give a special shout-out to the female writers who published under possible pseudonyms (because, as a woman, putting yourself out there in print was like flashing people on the street).

But we will also talk about the similarities between Shakespeare’s day and ours when it comes to the book industry. Arguably, readers have always hungered for the same things. Sometimes literally—like, inspirational cocktail recipes or cool ways to garnish up a mutton leg. The public wanted information about foreign people and places, ailments of the mind and body, and to learn the Shocking True Story! of strange and fascinating individuals. They craved dating, marriage, and parenting advice . . . as well as fictions that transported them far, far away from the mundane—or downright bleak—realities of their personal lives.

Michelle Ephraim is Professor of English at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she teaches courses on Shakespeare and creative writing. Her book GREEN WORLD: A Tragicomic Memoir of Love & Shakespeare received the 2023 Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction from The University of Massachusetts Press and will be published by them in 2024.

Caroline Bicks is the Stephen E. King Chair in Literature at the University of Maine and is also on the faculty of the Bread Loaf School of English. She specializes in Shakespeare, gender, and the history of science, and is the author of the books Cognition and Girlhood in Shakespeare’s World, Midwiving Subjects in Shakespeare’s England, and Shakespeare, Not Stirred: Cocktails for Your Everday Dramas (with Michelle Ephraim).


About Brookline Booksmith

We are one of New England’s premier independent bookstores, family-owned and locally run since 1961. We offer an extensive selection of new, used, and bargain books; unique, beautiful gifts; award-winning events series; and specialty foods. Every day, we strive to foster community through the written word, represent a diverse range of voices and histories, and inspire conversations that enrich our lives. Find more at!



This event will take place at street level. If possible, the event will be livestreamed to YouTube. ASL interpretation may be provided (based on the availability of interpreters) but must be requested at least 2 weeks in advance of the event. Seats are limited. Please email us at as soon as possible if you require ASL interpretation, guaranteed seating, or other accommodations. We will do our best to serve your needs!