Union Park Press wants Bostonians to get creative.

In the spirit of the Boston Book Festival and to further engage Boston’s literary community, Union Park Press is sponsoring Boston Line by Line: City Wide Creative Writing. Festivalgoers at this year’s Boston Book Festival are invited to stop by the Union Park Press booth to add a sentence in city-themed stories started by fellow Bostonians. Each story will be limited to one or two pages of text. When one story ends, the next one begins. Notable Bostonians who’ve been generous enough to “donate” a first line include Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River and Shutter Island, Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Susan Sloane, managing editor of WCVB TV’s Chronicle. The end result will be a collection of short-shorts collaboratively written by book festival attendees—available free of charge on the Union Park Press website after the festival.

Nicole Vecchiotti (publisher of Union Park Press) says, “We wanted to blur the line between readers and writers, and do something that would also tap into the city’s creativity.” Nicole describes the project as a simple writing exercise. “But we’re hoping that taking what is usually a classroom exercise and extrapolating it to the entire festival will add some excitement—not to mention that some lucky attendee will be able to write the concluding sentence to a story prompted by Bert and John of Life is Good, Nick Flynn, or Chef Ken Oringer.”

The project is near to our hearts, partly because we believe that talented writers—of fiction as well as non-fiction—are lurking everywhere. Sometimes people just need to stretch their muscles.

“As a small book publisher, we haven’t had the opportunity to publish any fiction… yet,” says Vecchiotti, whose company has published five non-fiction titles including Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands, Boston’s Gardens & Green Spaces, and most recently, Under Cape Cod Waters, a stunning collection of underwater photography of the Cape’s marine environments. “This is a chance for us to indulge one of our greatest passions—and that these short stories will be written by Bostonians for Bostonians, makes it all the more exciting for us.”

Want your chance to contribute a sentence to Boston Line by Line? In a comment below, include your name and a Boston-themed sentence that you’d like us to consider as a prompt for a story. The Union Park Press team will choose five outstanding sentences to use at the Book Festival–and make sure you stop by our booth the day of the festival to contribute your own line!

The second annual Boston Book Festival will take place on Oct. 16, 2010, in various locations around Copley Square.