Henry Miller Memorial Library

Big Sur, California
"Chaos is the score upon which reality is written."

Want to escape? Join Hippie Sven on a most excellent surf adventure!

We don’t want to rub anything in, but check out the home page on the ever-histrionic Weather channel’s web site.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 12.55.27 PM

It’s a continent of ice out there!  (If you’re the sensitive type, don’t look at the Big Sur weather to the left.)

Nonetheless, if it’s summer escape that you crave, we have just what you need.- Hippie Sven’s Endless Summer!






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Only a few more hours remain to make your tax-deductible donation (as little as $5!) to the Henry Miller Library in 2014!

Only a few more hours remain to make your tax-deductible donation (as little as $5!) to the Henry Miller Library in 2014!

Click here!Donate-button-web

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again. We can’t do what we do without you.

Thanks for your incredible support in helping us enrich lives through the arts!!

See you in 2015 (with the obligatory silly Theo picture of course…)


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What does it mean to “preserve and champion the Big Sur spirit?”

Great news! The Henry Miller Library has been awarded TWO phenomenal grants to help champion and preserve the spirit of Big Sur!

First, the Library recently received a coveted “Community Stories”grant from the California Council of the Humanities!

unnamedThe grant will fund Big Sur Oral Histories a project that will collect, preserve, and catalog audio and film recordings with the aim of creating an archive accessible to the public.
The project will also, and equally important, explore contemporary Big Sur life through extensive interviews with current and former residents discussing, among many other things, the rugged surroundings, the conservation ethic, and the ever- increasing visiting public across the past 100 years.
And then…
…we also received a second grant, this time from the Arts Council of Monterey County, for our “Jeff Norman Bookshelf.” Jeff Norman, a Big Sur historian, naturalist, and educator, died in 2007 at the young age of 56. To establish a “one-stop” location for a Big Sur natural and cultural history book shelf appears to us a good way to honor Jeff. We will share the bibliography and the ‘book wish-list’ with you soon.
The bibliography is growing daily and the ‘shelf’ will soon exceed 250 titles. We are sure it will grow ever more over time and also, in this virtual world, be a reminder of the importance to preserve material/hard copy versions of our heritage.
(Note: these grants cannot be used to pay for our 2015 capital improvement projects.)
So, we ask once again: Do these types of projects preserve and champion the Big Sur spirit?
We think they do.
So if you find this work valuable and beneficial we’d humbly ask, one last time (in 2014), to click here (or on Donate to the left!) and consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Henry Miller Library.
And a heartfelt thank you to those who have already donated this year!
We are tremendously excited about these two projects and look forward to keeping you apprised of our progress across 2015.
Thanks again, and Happy New Year!
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The Ultimate Winter Cookie Recipe, courtesy (indirectly) of Henry!

This is some Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon stuff. Bear us us.


Henry Miller grows up in Brooklyn and lives in the Williamsburg section prior to setting of to Paris.

Despite his hometown roots, Miller doesn’t get much love in his home borough, so the Henry Miller Memorial Library launches the Big Sur Brooklyn Bridge in 2013.

We set up shop in the City Reliquary, a nonprofit museum, a few blocks from where Henry lived. Check it:

We have a week’s worth of exhibitions, concerts, and readings celebrating Henry’s legacy, and in the process, enjoy some unexpected perks.

For example, two doors down from the City Reliquary is a coffee shop called Milk – Momofuku Milk Bar.

Milk, we soon discover, sells what can only be described as the greatest cookies of all time.

Specifically, their corn cookie.

It’s like a sugar cookie, but with a corn vibe. Better yet, the cookies are large, thick, chewy, and undercooked.milk

Best winter cookies ever.

And better yet, you can order them directly from Milk here OR create them yourself.

The recipe is below.

And don’t thank us, thank Henry!

Corn Cookies
Note from The Kitchen: The chefs at Milk Bar make freeze-dried corn powder by grinding freeze-dried corn. You can find freeze-dried corn at Whole Foods, Amazon.com, or JustTomatoes.com. Store leftover powder in an airtight container so it won’t absorb moisture.225 g butter, at room temperature OR 16 tablespoons (2 sticks)
300 g sugar OR 1 1/2 cups
1 egg
225 g flour OR 1 1/3 cups
45 g corn flour OR 1/4 cup
65 g freeze-dried corn powder OR 2/3 cup
3 g baking powder OR 3/4 teaspoon
1.5 g baking soda OR 1/4 teaspoon
6 g kosher salt OR 1 1/2 teaspoons1. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.

2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, corn flour, corn powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

cookie3. Using a 2 3/4-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1/3-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat.

Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature– they will not bake properly.

4. Heat the oven to 350°F.

5. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes.

The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center; give them an extra minute if not.

6. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temp, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.


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Meet Jeff Norman, Big Sur’s de facto historian, naturalist, and educator!!

Perhaps no one has done more to create awareness around Big Sur’s physical majesty and the need to preserve it than Jeff Norman.

Norman was Big Sur’s de facto historian, naturalist, and educator. He wrote a quintessential Big Sur book, “Images of America: Big Sur,” which is one of the Library’s biggest sellers.

Jeff passed away in 2007, but his legacy lives on.


The Jeff Norman Bookshelf will honor the late naturalist and historian by compiling publications documenting the natural and cultural history of the Big Sur coast.

To many, Norman was the embodiment of Big Sur, having dedicating his life to protecting the wilderness and documenting its history in books like “Big Sur Observed” and “Images of America: Big Sur.” The Monterey County Weekly called his legacy “prodigious,” but as of now, it remains undocumented.

Establishing a “one-stop” location for such educational materials was a goal of Jeff’s prior to his death in 2007 at the age of 56, and the Library hopes to honor his legacy by bring his vision to fruition.

The bookshelf, which will be located inside the Library’s main building, will be constantly upgraded as new books and research papers are published.

In fact, the Library applied for a Monterey Arts Council grant to help pay for this endeavor, and guess what? We got it!

We’ll start work on the bookshelf in the new year.

In the meantime, check out this piece on Norman in the Monterey County Weekly. Some money quotes:

“As a historian, Norman knew that for some individuals their obituary column was the only place where their life story was told. Norman’s story will know no such fate – he has made such a lasting impression on the Big Sur community that the area’s residents will be recounting Norman’s story for generations to come.


They will speak of his unorthodox attitude and his passion to truly understand and relate the importance of Big Sur to others.”

“The feature Norman likely will be most remembered for was his sheer excitement at learning and imparting knowledge about Big Sur to others. Friend Kathy MacKenzie remembers Norman telling her that some of the best times of his life occurred while driving along the Coast Ridge Road with Bill Post, a member of one of Big Sur’s most prominent homesteading families.

There, with views of kelp scabbing the massive Pacific and the white bloom of yuccas exploding like lit matches along the land, Post would regale Norman with tales about Big Sur’s hardscrabble early settlers. “Jeff would just soak up the stories,” MacKenzie says.”

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More amazing examples of Big Sur Writing Workshop participants who attended past workshops and then secured publishing deals!

Check it out – more amazing examples of Big Sur Writing Workshop participants who attended past workshops and then secured publishing deals!

foundBetter yet, the deals below come to us from only ONE faculty member, Eric Elfman! Do the math!!:

* Stacey Lee came to Big Sur in Dec. 2007 — she signed with another agency, and recently sold a manuscript to Putnam’s & Sons, Under a Painted Sky that is being released in 2015.

* Marilyn Hilton came to Big Sur in Dec. 2007 – she sold Found Things to Simon & Schuster, and it was published in 2014.

* P.J. Hoover (right) came to Big Sur in March 2008 – she may have signed with Laura Rennert – she published two books in 2014: Solstice and Tut, both with Tor

* Tracy Clark came to Big Sur in Dec. 2008 – she sold Scintillate which was published by Entangled Teen  2014 and the sequel, Deviate, is coming out in 2015.SONY DSC

* Lisa Desrochers came to Big Sur in March 2009 – she sold Personal Demons to Tor and it came out in 2010, and since then she’s gone on to publish several more books with Tor and HarperCollins.

Will you be next?

Register for next workshop, March 6-8, 2015 at the world-famous Big Sur Lodge in the heart of Big Sur here (or call 831-667-2574)!  And tell your friends!!!

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New update from Magnus re: the Library’s temporarily closure (we’re back open!), a NEW raffle prize, and what’s coming up next!

logoDear Friend,

From November 15th to December 13th, the Henry Miller Memorial Library was closed.

Happily, Monterey County granted us our operating permit, and I am pleased to report that the Library will remain open for the indefinite future!

But boy, was it a strange month.

People kept asking me “Is the Library closed forever?”

Mike reported that on separate occasions tourists peered their heads over the fence and said, “Can we please come in? We came from Boston/Chicago/England,” etc.

And countless of visitors parked their cars, read the “temporarily closed” sign, and went on their way.

The closure provided a stark look at a world without the Henry Miller Memorial Library. It was depressing. Donate-button-web

So what now?

Well, we’ve have made major improvements in recent years to address concerns around water and septic issues.

Next year we’ll tackle major issues like securing a coastal development permit, an easement to provide access to water system facilities, and constructing ADA access ramps, parking spaces, and a new water treatment system. For more information on our 2015 fundraising goals click here.

So if you’ve yet to make a donation, I’d humbly ask for your support to carry us into 2015 and beyond.

Thank you to all who have made a donation in 2014 already!

And since we too are in the holiday spirit, we’d like to sweeten the deal: all donors will be eligible for a raffle. The winning prize? A private candlelit dinner at the Library with you and up to 4 of your closest friends.

Click here to donate.
We probably don’t need to tell you this, but it’s worth repeating. The Library is more than just a book store in the woods.

It’s a world-wide and ever-growing community comprised of people like you, people who appreciate the power of the arts, the majesty of Big Sur, and of course, the legacy of one Henry Valentine Miller.

You are the Library, and we can’t do what we do without your support.

Thank you!

Magnus, Sarah, Mike and the Board of the Henry Miller Memorial Library

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The perfect Christmas gift: Big Sur Storytelling Workshop (Feb 20-22) with acclaimed author Okey Ndibe!

Have you heard about the Big Sur STORYTELLING workshop? Have you told your friends?

Spend a weekend in Big Sur (Feb 20-22, 2015) immersed in the art of storytelling with critically-acclaimed author, scholar, and professor Okey Ndibe!

That’s the same Okey Ndibe whose “Foreign Gods, Inc.” was selected by NPR as one of the great reads of 2014 and was also among the 15 Best Works of Fiction by Black Authors in 2014 according to theroot.com!!

Whether you’re a student of the craft or an aspiring storyteller yourself, it promises to be an illuminating weekend in one of the world’s most inspiring locations!

Participants can expect three days and two nights of lodging at the world-famous Big Sur Lodge, meals, a cocktail party, a film screening, and hands-on working groups to help unlock the story-teller within.

Click here!


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