Friday, September 28, 2007

Brattleboro Literary Festival 2007 Begins!

The 2007 Brattleboro Literary Festival began today at 1:00 p.m. in the Latchis Theatre where over 750 Windham County kids and some adults heard two -time Newbery Award winner Lois Lowry tell her captivating personal story of becoming a writer. The kids yelled and whooped when she arrived on stage, treating Ms. Lowry as a rock star. Viewing more than 50 images of her family, books, and text, via a Powerpoint presentation, the kids sat enthralled and listened to her love of reading and her evolution in becoming a writer. (PS: I operated the laptop with the presentation for Lois's talk and was so happy that this technology worked almost flawlessly today.)

In the Q&A after her talk Lowry told the young audience that the best single way to become a writer is to read, read, and read, to understand the act of writing. According to her blog, I think a lot of literature is about coming to terms with loss. Of my own books, "A Summer to Die," "Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye," "Autumn Street," "Rabble Starkey," and "The Silent Boy" are the ones that come most quickly to my mind.

Next, the author's reception hosted at the Book Cellar brought many of the authors together for wine and food in a social hour where all could be met. Ann Beattie, Ibtisam Barakat, Marian Burros, Galway Kinnell, Randall Kenan, Joshua Harmon, Leda Schubert ,Ellen Dudley, were just a few of the authors who will be reading this weekend.

Tonight at the Latchis again, an overflowing crowd, filled with many young people, listened to New York Times bestselling authors, Haven Kimmel and Augusten Burroughs read from their newest works, which are memoirs of their fathers. Kimmel and Burroughs became best friends more than seven years ago when Augusten send Haven an email telling her how much he had enjoyed her book and whether she would write a dust jacket blurb for his work. Since then they have become the closest of friends who share the same book agent. Answering questions after their readings Kimmel and Burroughs spoke about dealing with writer's block (Burroughs: "I just write about the writer's block"), and having to deal with a crazy fan who has stocked both of them over several years. The fan told Kimmel that she was suffering from terminal cancer and wanted to meet her.

The Festival continues through the weekend with events all day on Saturday and Sunday. Check the schedule on the web site.

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