Tuesday, September 28, 2010

October is Literary Festival Time -- 2010 Edition

If you live in Massachusetts, and are a reader or writer, then it's a good time of year. Over the next month there are no fewer than three festivals geared toward book lovers and writers. The following is a run down of the upcoming events.

Jack Kerouac Literary Festival
Where: Downtown Lowell, MA
When: Sept 30-Oct 3
Cost: Most events are free, although donations for some events encouraged

This is an annual event here in Lowell, although this year the festival is touted as new and expanded. The Jack Kerouac Lit Festival boasts a great line up of authors and speakers including Alan Lightman, Jay Atkinson, Russell Banks, Andre Dubus III, Ann Hood, Tom Perrotta, and Anita Shreve.

There will be lots of readings, films, panel discussions, walking tours, and other events. The cobblestone streets and industrial mill architecture in and around downtown Lowell really lend a great atmosphere for this crowd-pleasing event.

Highlights include:
  • Historical Kerouac pubs tour (Friday night starting at the Worthen House tavern)
  • Poetry and street prose competition
  • Dennis McNally's presentation on Kerouac and the American Bohemian
  • A walk in Doctor Sax's woods led by Margarita Turcotte
  • Children's book illustrators event, featuring David Macaulay, Chris VanAllsburg, David Wiesner, Christopher Bing, Kelly Murphy, and Matt Tavares.
  • "Art and Commerce" panel discussion, featuring Anita Shreve, Ann Hood, and Tom Perrotta.
Boston Book Festival
Where: Copley Square, Boston
When: Saturday, October 16th
Cost: Most events are free

In only its second year, the Boston Book Festival (BBF) promises to convene plenty of talent for a single day of packed events. I attended last year and the hardest part is deciding which event to view at any one time since there are multiple events for each time slot. But, how else can you do it? There is a great variety, so if you're a fiction writer or reader, then you can choose a fiction reading over a memoir reading. While the schedule hasn't been set, click here to see a description of each planned event.

Speakers and authors slated to show include Atul Gawande, Stacy Schiff, Nick Flynn, Joyce Carol Oates (keynote), Chip Kidd, Bill Bryson, David Shields, Daphne Kalotay, Michelle Hoover, Gish Jen, Ann Hood, Joshua Ferris, Tom Perrotta, Dennis Lehane, A.M. Homes, and many more. And be on the lookout for fellow Beyond the Marginer and Drum founder Henriette Lazaridis Power who will be hosting the Fiction: Time and Place and Fiction: the Web of Relationship events.

Highlights include:
  • Writer idol: Have a professional actor perform the first page of your manuscript, then stick around while a panel of four judges that includes agents and editors let you know what they think. Presented by Grub Street. I attended this one last year, and it's actually a great way to get some immediate feedback on your first page, to find out whether it's working or not working, and why. And you also get an idea of what kind of writing agents and editors are seeking.
  • Guided open mic. With Steve Almond. Get on up there and read five minutes of your story, novel, or what have you, then see what Mr. Almond has to say about it, in terms of performance and reading choice.
  • Antique book appraisal. Bring in your rare and antique books, maps and ephemera for appraisal by  respected industry experts. Sponsored by the Boston Antiquarian Book Fair.
  • The Book Revue: An evening of music and words. Features Nick Flynn, Kristin Hersh, Dean Wareham, and Joe Pernice.
  • Lots of booths representing literary magazines and book publishers. Great place to pick up stuff that's often hard to find elsewhere.
Concord Festival of Authors
Where: Concord, MA
When: October 20 - November 7, 2010 (2 weeks, people!)
Cost: Most events are free

The Concord Festival of Authors has been around for years. And for the past few years some of the events were held in Lowell. Unfortunately this year not a one will grace city limits. I suppose it makes sense if you're a festival with Concord in the title. It was never the Concord and Lowell festival. Still, it will be missed here in town.
This year's lineup offers up the usual stellar cast of authors who just want to talk about books and writing and publishing. Is that so wrong? Authors scheduled to appear include: Gish Jen, Brunonia Barry, Jon Katz, Andrew J. Bacevich, Nathanial Philbrick, Iris Gomez, Rusty Barnes, Tara Masih, Pauline Maier, David Macaulay, and Stace Budzko among others.
Highlights include:
  • Hoaxes, Frauds, and Forgeries. Panel discussion.
  • New Literary Voices 2010. Four emerging fiction writers (including Iris Gomez) discuss and read from their work.
  • Flash Fiction Panel. Discussion to answer the question, what is flash fiction. Features Rusty Barnes with whom I've studied at Grub Street. And yes, he knows much about flash fiction.
  • Publishing a Book in the Digital Age, panel discussion.
  • Community Reading Series. Poetry reading sponsored by The Concord Poetry Center.


Robin said...

What a great line-up of writing events! I wish I lived closer to Lowell, Boston and Concord. Enjoy the Kerouac Festival this weekend ...

Dell Smith said...

Yeah, there's some good stuff happening this weekend. Sunday there's a good lineup over at the Lowell inn and conference center (formerly the majestic Doubletree), although I don't know how many walks/crawls I'll be participating in.

Cynthia Sherrick said...

I wish I was up in New England to participate in some of the amazing book and writing festivals. They all sound wonderful.
Who knows...maybe next year.

Enjoy! :)

Dell Smith said...

I'll take good notes Cindy!