Red Hook is hosting its first Literary Festival on Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Red Hook Village Building, located at 7467 South Broadway. The headliner is John Sayles, producer, director, screenwriter and author, who is perhaps more known for his films, including the widely acclaimed Matewan, Lone Star and Eight Men Out, than his novels, though Union Dues was nominated for the National Book Award. Sayles, a local resident, will discuss his creative process and presumably the secret to such a distinguished, prolific body of work. His latest film, Amigo, was released in 2011 and is set during the same period as his novel A Moment in the Sun, now available in paperback.
Sayles will speak at 4 p.m. The Festival kicks off at 10 a.m. with readings by David Soman and Jacky Davis, a husband-and-wife team who wrote Ladybug Girl and other children’s books, and Peter McCarty, an author/illustrator whose work includes The Monster Returns. At noon, Nancy Castaldo, author of Leap into Space, hosts fellow Young Adult authors Jennifer Castle, Michael Northrop and Robin Palmer. At 2 p.m., Nina Shengold, author of Clearcut, talks with local authors Thelma Adams, Mary-Beth Hughes and Edie Meidav.
The Literary Festival is being sponsored by the Red Hook Community Arts Network (CAN), in partnership with Oblong Books & Music and the Red Hook Public Library. All events are free.
Organizer Juliet Harrison said that she’s hoping that the Festival becomes an annual event, at the very least. Partnering with Oblong Books enabled CAN to make the connection with the local writers; when Sayles was approached, “He was the first to respond.” She added that the other authors are also “pretty amazing and pretty well-known in their own right.”
CAN was formed in 2010 by a committee of the Red Hook Area Chamber of Commerce, which included painters Betsy Jacaruso and Kari Feuer. Its proximity to Bard College, numerous local farms and substantial arts community inspired Edward Pruitt, then the president of the Chamber, to suggest the idea. It kicked off last April with a party at the firehouse, followed up by a weekend arts festival and in July established the ArtPOP Gallery in several storefronts in town: an initiative that led to the renting of two storefronts. The organization also offers classes on everything from painting to social networking for artists and entrepreneurs to fashion design for teenagers. For more information, call 758-0824.