A regional free festival celebrating literature where one can learn about the art and business of writing, as shared by best-selling, laurel-crowned professionals in the field as well as up-and-coming stars of tomorrow? Appealing idea. And one that even the average working writer can afford to attend? Sounding better and better.
This rarity happens each spring in Millbrook, returning this Saturday for its eighth incarnation. Hosted by the Millbrook Library, the Millbrook Literary Festival is a not-for-profit event funded by grants, sponsorships by local businesses and donations from individuals. “We pride ourselves in being supportive of all writers, whether nationally known or just starting out,” says Festival chair Sam Falk. “We strive to find a place for all interested authors to take part in the Festival, which is what Scott would have done. It can be hard for new authors to make their way.”
“Scott” refers to the Festival’s founder, recently deceased Merritt Bookstore owner Scott Meyer. In his honor, the Festival Committee is instituting an annual award to be presented to a Hudson/Harlem Valley writer for a different genre each year. For 2016, the category is an unpublished short story for adults or young adults; the three finalists are Ray Fashona, Laurie Treacy and Anna Geraldine Paret.
In addition to the announcement of the winner of the inaugural Scott Meyer Award, Saturday’s offerings will include a program especially for combat veterans and their families, in which NYU Classics professor Peter Meineck will discuss the contemporary relevance of ancient Greek and Roman stories about war.
There will be a literary luncheon with Kathy Leonard Czepiel (A Violet Season) and a cross-generational presentation by high schoolers and retirement home residents who swapped favorite books. And if you’ve toyed with the idea of joining an ongoing local writers’ workshop to help pump up your motivation and hone your prose, representatives from four such groups will talk about how they work and how members benefit.
Some of the panel discussions will be one on YA literature that includes Newbery Medalist Gail Carson Levine (Ella Enchanted), one on screenwriting that features American Sniper’s Jim DeFelice, one on picture books for kids and another on graphic novels for adults. Lauren Belfer, Mark Siegel, Barbara Slate, Karen Kaufman Orloff, Iza Trapani, Joseph Luzzi and Owen King will also be among the panelists. All told, more than 75 authors will participate in the event, signing books under the book tent and sharing their expertise.
The Millbrook Literary Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 at the Millbrook Library, located at 3 Friendly Lane in Millbrook. For more info, call (413) 519-9243, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://millbrookliteraryfestival.org/2016-festival or www.facebook.com/millbrooklitfest. Download the full schedule at https://millbrookliteraryfestival.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/2016-millbrook-literary-festival.pdf.