Schedule of Events

2016 Schedule of Events


Friday, April 29 — Opening Night Overture

Friday afternoon beginning at 4:00 p.m. at the Firehouse Center for the Arts, Market Square, Newburyport.

Former Sen. George Mitchell is one of the most accomplished – and versatile – national leaders in recent years. He was majority leader in the Senate, a special presidential envoy to Northern Ireland and the Middle East and a negotiator between Major League Baseball and its players union. On April 29, the former Maine lawmaker will be at the Newburyport Literary Festival to discuss his book, “The Negotiator.”

Speaking with journalist Dyke Hendrickson, Mitchell will expand on some of his most challenging public missions.

Among the topics to be covered are:

  • His upbringing in Waterville: Was a modest lifestyle with loving parents a factor in him becoming a “negotiator?”
  • His negotiations with the Irish: What were the factors that resulted in success?
  • His negotiations in the Middle East: What were the factors that have hampered success?
  • Assessment of the current presidential race.

We hope that you will join us in welcoming our honored guest, former Sen. George Mitchell.

Tickets for this event are SOLD OUT!

Presenters: George Mitchell and Dyke Hendrickson


Friday, April 29 — Opening Night Ceremony

Friday night beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Firehouse Center for the Arts, Market Square, Newburyport.

Opening Night Ceremony:
The Loves & Love Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Come hear the gossip! Edna St. Vincent Millay, “the most seductive woman of her time” and America’s foremost love poet, grew up right here in Newburyport and across the river on Ring’s Island. Her biographer, poet Daniel Mark Epstein, will talk about the illustrious life and work of this year’s festival honoree. Art historian and poet Carl Little will ask all kinds of questions, and you’re invited to ask questions of your own. People will talk!

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!

Presenters: Daniel Mark Epstein and Carl Little


Friday 7:30 PM
Masonic Lodge
31 Green Street

Join us for Dinner with the Authors!

  • Tickets $50.00 at the door or purchase here!
  • Buffet and cash bar.


Saturday, April 30

Poetry
Saturday 8:30 AM
Central Congregational Church Social Hall
Breakfast with the Poets

Join a few of the poets who live in and around Newburyport for an informal breakfast and conversation. This year’s reading will feature Midge Goldberg, recipient of the 2015 Richard Wilbur Award—the most recent of the many national prizes garnered by the Powow River Poets—and four other members who have recently published new collections of poetry: A. M. Juster, Don Kimball, Alfred Nicol and Anton Yakovlev. David Davis will emcee.

Presenters: Midge Goldberg, A. M. Juster, Don Kimball,
 Alfred Nicol and Anton Yakovlev
Moderator: David Davis


Fiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Firehouse Center for the Arts
Fifty Shades of Violence: Writing about Crime and Horror

Some writers prefer to write frankly about crime and horror, describing every detail, while others just hint at violence, leaving the details (and the terror) to the reader’s imagination. How much violence should a writer show, and when should she tone it down? What is the power of violence not “shown,” but just alluded to? This panel will look at the many ways writers depict violence—from physical to emotional, from those who act violent to those who are the victims of violence—what works and what doesn’t, and why getting it right matters.

Presenters: Christopher Irvin, Tara Laskowski, Paul Tremblay
Moderator: Erin Fitzgerald


Fiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
C A N C E L L E D
Old South Church

Joyce Maynard

Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard

Joyce Maynard —New York Times-bestselling author of Labor Day and At Home in the World—will read and talk about her latest release, Under the Influence—a novel Wally Lamb described as “a riveting read.” A few of the themes (of her novel and her life) that Joyce is likely to explore: women and drinking, dangerous friendships, children of divorce, and how loving the bad boy can lose you the good one. (Or maybe not.)

Presenter: Joyce Maynard


Nonfiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Old South Church – Social Hall

Daniel Korschun

We Are Market Basket: The Story of the Unlikely Grassroots Movement that Saved a Beloved Business

What if a company was so treasured and trusted that people literally took to the streets―by the thousands―to save it? That company is Market Basket, a popular New England supermarket chain. After long-time CEO Arthur T. Demoulas was ousted by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas, the company’s managers and rank-and-file workers struck back. Set against a backdrop of bad blood and corporate greed, We Are Market Basket chronicles the epic rise, fall, and redemption of this iconic and uniquely American company.

Presenter: Daniel Korschun


Fiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Unitarian Universalist Church
Genre Fluid

Some writers work in a single genre. Others vary widely in what they write, from fiction to nonfiction, from essays to advice columns and children’s books. How do these forms intersect and amplify one another? In today’s publishing marketplace, is it better to write in one genre, or to diversify? Is it really possible to make a living as a writer? Join authors Anita Diamant, Yona Zeldis McDonough and Holly Robinson for a lively discussion on how and why they write in many genres rather than in only one.

Presenters: Anita Diamant, Yona Zeldis McDonough, Holly Robinson


Fiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Newburyport Art Association

Mary Sharatt

The Dark Lady’s Mask by Mary Sharratt

Shakespeare in Love meets Shakespeare’s Sister in this novel of England’s first professional woman poet and her collaboration and love affair with William Shakespeare. London, 1593, Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal infirmity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and to gain freedoms only men enjoy, but a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything.

Presenter: Mary Sharratt


Nonfiction
Saturday 9:00 AM City Hall Skip and Marge Motes
Newburyport Harbor Range Lights and the Emerging Industrial Waterfront

Afia The Harbor Range Lights, located in Newburyport’s Historic District and on the National Register of Historic Places, have been prominent on the Newburyport waterfront for nearly 150 years. They were first lit May 27, 1873, with “such great brilliancy as to be seen distinctly ten to twelve miles at sea.” But their story had yet to be told. Drawing on primary sources and the rich photographic resources of the waterfront, local historians “Skip” and Marge Motes have written a comprehensive history of the harbor range lights and their place in Newburyport’s maritime heritage. Their story is illustrated with over forty photographs and maps chronicling the decline of Newburyport through the Great Depression into the 1960s, and then the optimism of renewal and growth to the present. The book takes the reader on a unique journey from 1873 to the present. The Motes have proved conclusively that the forward range light was never moved from its original 1873 location, contrary to published claims.

Presenters: Skip and Marge Motes


Fiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Jabberwocky Bookshop

Samantha Hunt

Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt

Ruth and Nat are orphans, packed into a house full of abandoned children run by a religious fanatic. To entertain their siblings, they channel the dead. Decades later, Ruth’s niece, Cora, finds herself accidentally pregnant. After years of absence, Aunt Ruth appears, mute and full of intention. She is on a mysterious mission, leading Cora on an odyssey across the entire state of New York on foot. Where is Ruth taking them? Where has she been? And who — or what — has she hidden in the woods at the end of the road? Join Samantha Hunt and hear about the book the Paste Magazine calls “Spooky and unnerving…Part gothic spine-chiller, part bleak, backwoods road novel.”

Presenter: Samantha Hunt


Children/Ages 3-7
Saturday 9:30 AM
Children’s Room, Newburyport Public Library

Naoko Stoop

The Red Knit Cap Girl

Red Knit Cap Girl lives with her animal friends in an enchanted forest. One day, she and her friends discover a hollow tree. What can be done with one ordinary tree? “I will keep my book in this nook so everyone can read it,” Red Knit Cap Girl says. But the tree isn’t only for books. One by one, the animals share their unique gifts and turn the ordinary tree into a special spot for everyone to enjoy. Join the author of the beloved Red Knit Cap Girl series as she reads from her books then teaches kids how to make their own origami paper hats.

Presenter: Naoko Stoop


Fiction
Saturday 9:30 AM
Program Room, Newburyport Public Library

Tess Geritsen

Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

Imagine if you were home alone and your three-year-old daughter violently attacked you. Julia doesn’t understand what is happening to her daughter, but she thinks she knows what’s causing it. She is terrified for Lily, and for herself, but what scares her more is that no one believes her. Tess Gerritsen reads and discusses her latest novel, Playing with Fire. “Clear your schedule for this one—you won’t want to put it down until you’re finished.” – Kirkus Review

Presenter: Tess Gerritsen


Poetry
Saturday 10:00 AM
Central Congregational Church Social Hall
The Poetry of Daniel Mark Epstein and Jay Parini

Between them, Daniel Mark Epstein and Jay Parini have authored close to forty books, but it’s probably safe to say that each of these writers is most fond of his most recent publication. Epstein’s Dawn to Twilight: New and Selected Poems came out last fall, and Parini’s New and Collected Poems is coming out in March (just in time for the festival). The publication of a volume of “Selected” or “Collected Poems” is a major event in the life of a poet; a book of that kind is testament to a lifetime of dedication and achievement. How fortunate we are to welcome these two men of letters to our festival this year. They’ve each got something to celebrate, and we’ve got the two of them to celebrate!

Presenters: Daniel Mark Epstein and Jay Parini


Fiction
Saturday 10:00 AM
Old South Church

Elizabeth Strout

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Hear Pulitzer Prize winner, Elizabeth Strout, read from her latest best-selling novel. Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, and her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

Presenter: Elizabeth Strout


Nonfiction
Saturday 10:00 AM
Old South Church – Social Hall

Tim Hayes

How and Why Horses Heal Humans

Horses have an extraordinary ability to transform the lives of men, women and children — whether they are horse lovers or those suffering from deep psychological wounds. Riding Home: The Power of Horses to Heal is a book about the joy, wonder, self-awareness and peace of mind that can come to anyone from a horse/human relationship. Author Tim Hayes has made “Natural Horsemanship,” or what has long been known as “Horse Whispering,” his life’s work. Join us for Tim’s book talk/signing and Q&A.

Presenter: Tim Hayes


Nonfiction
Saturday 10:00 AM
Newburyport Art Association

B.A. Shapiro

The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro

The New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger illuminates the art world of the 1940s by weaving together historical figures like Eleanor Roosevelt, Lee Krasner, and Mark Rothko, with fictional characters, in a novel about the life and mysterious disappearance of a brilliant young artist on the eve of World War II. Moving between the past and the present, Shapiro plunges readers into the divisiveness of prewar politics and the largely forgotten plight of European refugees refused entrance to the United States.

Presenter: B.A. Shapiro


Nonfiction
Saturday 10:00 AM
City Hall

Port Project: Local History Presentations

Join seventh grade students from the Rupert Nock Middle School as they share their local history discoveries. Students will present a summary of their research projects from this past year in which they immersed themselves in local history and discovered the value of primary sources and text research using local museums, archives, and local published works. Today, students live in a technological age where answers are at their fingertips; one of the goals of the Port Project is to reintroduce students to the power of text sources. In addition to their project summaries, students will collaboratively discuss the research process and how text sources benefit them still in our classrooms when much of the educational emphasis promoted today is on technology.

Presenter: John Webber


Fiction
Saturday 10:00 AM
Jabberwocky Bookstore

Howard Frank Mosher

Where Does Fiction Come From?

Vermont author Howard Frank Mosher will read from his new novel, God’s Kingdom, and discuss the real-life places, people, and events that inspired the book. Mosher’s talk will focus on his writing process in general. He will cover such topics as transforming fact into fiction; writing a first draft; the revision process; and the tradition of place-based fiction in American literature. “Where Does Fiction Come From?” is designed for all enthusiastic fiction readers, as well as for writers and aspiring writers and will be followed by a question-and-answer period and a book signing.

Presenter: Howard Frank Mosher


Nonfiction /
Young Adult

Saturday 10:30 AM
Unitarian Universalist Church

Exploring Gender Identity in LGBTQ Literature for Teens

“Male/female is not the only way to describe gender,” says author Susan Kuklin. In her groundbreaking book, Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, she presents the true stories of six transgender or gender-neutral young adults. Similarly, in Transparent, author Cris Beam describes seven years in the lives of four transgender teens. Cris also focuses on a teen struggling with gender identity in her young adult novel, I am J. Join Susan, Cris, and Candlewick Press Executive Editor, Hilary B. Van Dusen, for this thought-provoking conversation about the quickly changing landscape of gender fluidity. How does young adult literature reflect that landscape? How does young adult literature reflect LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning) experiences in general? What impact have these authors’ books made?

This panel was developed in collaboration with the Newburyport Commission for Diversity and Tolerance.

Presenters: Cris Beam, Susan Kuklin
Moderator: Hilary B. Van Dusen


Poetry
Saturday 11:00 AM
Central Congregational Church Social Hall
Learning from Experience: The Poetry of April Lindner and Bruce Bennett

You could argue that poets, of all people, are those least likely to learn from experience. Emily Dickinson stayed indoors; Petrarch never realized he was wasting his time with Laura; Yeats believed in spooks! But April Lindner and Bruce Bennett represent the counterargument. Both are poets who’ve got their heads on their shoulders, not up in the clouds. They can be trusted to deliver a healthy mix of wisdom and common sense, empathy and humor.

Presenters: April Lindner and Bruce Bennett


Nonfiction
Saturday 11:00 AM
Firehouse Center for the Arts

Deborah Cramer

The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey

In The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey, author Deborah Cramer accompanies tiny sandpipers and red knots along their extraordinary 19,000 mile annual migration. She tracks birds on remote windswept beaches along the Strait of Magellan; on bug-infested hunting preserves and gleaming oyster banks in South Carolina; and onto the icy tundra where they nest. She follows them in Delaware Bay, where they meet the world’s greatest concentration of horseshoe crabs, whose eggs fuel their migration and whose blue blood safeguards human health. The Narrow Edge is a firsthand account of the tenacity of life along the sea edge, and an inspiring portrait of loss and renewal, and of the courage of people. Join Cramer to follow the birds’ near-miraculous odyssey, to explore what’s at stake for millions of shorebirds, and to examine how Massachusetts has contributed to this story.

Presenter: Deborah Cramer


Nonfiction
Saturday 11:00 AM
Old South Church

Andre Dubus III

Essays by Andre Dubus III Come hear Festival favorite, Andre Dubus III, read from a selection of his recent essays.

Presenter: Andre Dubus III


Nonfiction
Saturday 11:00 AM
Old South Church – Social Hall
My Salinger Year

Poignant, keenly observed, and irresistible: a memoir about literary New York in the late ’90s, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing, where a young woman finds herself swept into one of the last great stories and entangled with one of the last great figures of the century. Join Joanna Rakoff in conversation with Christina Koliander to discuss Rakoff’s love letter to the vanishing world of old-fashioned publishing.

Presenter: Joanna Rakoff
Moderator: Christina Koliander


Fiction
Saturday 11:00 AM
Newburyport Art Association

John Brady

Frank and Ava: In Love and War

Weaving eyewitness accounts, memoir and journal entries, newspaper reports, and interviews with informed sources, biographer John Brady, in a compelling narrative style, tells the story of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, costars in a real-life drama that sweeps you back to Hollywood’s golden age with a star-studded supporting cast.

Presenter: John Brady


Nonfiction
Saturday 11:00 AM
City Hall

Dane Morrison

True Yankees: The South Seas & the Discovery of American Identity

With American independence came the freedom to sail anywhere in the world under a new flag. During the years between the Treaty of Paris and the Treaty of Wangxi, Americans first voyaged past the Cape of Good Hope, reaching the ports of Algiers and the bazaars of Arabia, the markets of India and the beaches of Sumatra, the villages of Cochin, China, and the factories of Canton. Dr. Dane Morrison describes how their South Seas voyages of commerce and discovery introduced the infant nation to the world and the world to what the Chinese, Turks, and others dubbed the “new people.” Through their private journals, letters, ships’ logs, memoirs, and newspaper accounts, we come to see how they influenced the ways in which Americans defined themselves, creating a genuinely brash national character—the “true Yankee.”

Presenter: Dr. Dane Morrison


Fiction /
Young Adult

Saturday 11:00 AM
Jabberwocky Bookshop

Katherine Howe

Katherine Howe reads from The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen

It’s July in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie. As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose-petal lips and her entrancing glow. There’s just something about her that he can’t put his finger on, something faraway and otherworldly that compels him to fall even deeper. The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen is a haunted love story set in present-day New York. It takes readers all the way back to 1825, to a NYC of myth, magic and even more mystery. Historical, supernatural, and modern New York all collide in this well-researched and highly intriguing novel.

Presenter: Katherine Howe


Children/Ages 7-12
Saturday 11:00 AM
Children’s Room, Newburyport Public Library

Lucia Greene

Pets With Benefits: Build a Worm Farm to Help Mother Earth!

Over 100 years ago people thought of worms as mere pests. But today, thanks to the revolutionary studies of British naturalist Charles Darwin, worms are recognized as remarkably valuable environmentalists. Worms consume garbage and organic matter and are capable of removing pollutants, chemicals and toxins from soil, literally cleansing it of harmful materials while leaving it rich in nitrogen and plant-sourced nutrients. In A Tunnel in the Pines, the worm farm two best friends build as a science experiment, and the club they start for fun, spark a series of events that challenge the boundaries of friendship and brotherhood. Join Newburyport author Lucia Greene as she does a brief reading before showing middle-grade readers how to build their own mini worm farm.

Presenter: Lucia Greene


Nonfiction
Saturday 11:00 AM
Program Room, Newburyport Public Library

How to Cook a Moose by Kate Christensen

In How to Cook a Moose, Kate Christensen celebrates the land, food, and people of Maine. Inspired by her new home in New England and the slow food movement re-energizing sustainable farming, Kate picks up where she left off in her last memoir, Blue Plate Special. Join Kate and her Editor, Genevieve Morgan, as they discuss the genesis for the new book and how they worked together to make it a reality.

Presenter: Kate Christensen
Moderator: Genevieve Morgan


Poetry
Saturday 1:00 PM
Central Congregational Church Social Hall
A New York State of Mind:
The Poetry of Michael Cantor and Rhina Espaillat

Plum Island resident Michael Cantor’s first collection of poetry was chosen as a Must-Read-Book by the Massachusetts Library Association, and the regional poetry scene would be unimaginable without Rhina Espaillat. However, both of these local favorites came to us from New York and neither has ever really left the big city behind. Here’s an opportunity to stroll with our two illustrious neighbors through their old neighborhoods in Queens and The Bronx.

Presenters: Michael Cantor and Rhina Espaillat


Fiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Central Congregational Church Sanctuary

Mary Gaitskill

The Mare by Mary Gaitskill

National Book Award–nominee Mary Gaitskill presents her most poignant and powerful work yet—the story of a Dominican girl, the Anglo woman who introduces her to riding, and the horse who changes everything for her. The Mare was one of the Best Books of 2015 according to The New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New Yorker, NPR/Fresh Air and Vanity Fair. Join Gaitskill as she reads from this poignant but powerful book.

Presenter: Mary Gaitskill


Nonfiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Firehouse Center for the Arts

Kate Bolick

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick

Why do some women remain unmarried and what are the cultural implications of staying single? Kate Bolick’s blockbuster Atlantic cover story, “All the Single Ladies,” drew over a million readers and inspired a heated debate on modern notions of romance, family, career, and success. Her follow-up, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, is a New York Times bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of 2015. Join Kate (a Newburyport native!) in a discussion of her book.

Presenter: Kate Bolick


Fiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Old South Church
Best Small Fictions: The Art of Compression

Very short fiction, or “flash fiction” as it’s often called, has soared in popularity. The number of publications featuring flash fiction continue to grow, along with the interest of readers and writers. But how do you fit character, plot, setting, imagery, and other elements of a story into less than 1,000 words? The Best Small Fictions, a new anthology guest edited by Robert Olen Butler, celebrates the very short form. Join Tara L. Masih, Series Editor, and contributors to the volume, Dawn Raffel and Brent Rydin, for a thoughtful discussion about the art—and the impact—of small fiction.

Presenters: Tara L. Masih, Dawn Raffel, Brent Rydin
Moderator: Sherri Frank


Fiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Old South Church – Social Hall
Worth The Wait

Is success worth waiting for? You bet. Meet three writers whose first books were published after they turned forty. What does it take to hang in there, and what does it feel like to finally see your book in print? We’ll share our stories with you and would love to hear your questions.

Presenters: Myfanwy Collins, Carla Panciera, Holly Robinson, Sarah Yaw


Fiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church
Capturing Shakespeare—Historical novelists unmask the Bard

April 2016 is World Shakespeare Month, commemorating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, and the Newburyport Literary Festival will join the rest of the world in honoring arguably the greatest writer of the English language. Though he left behind such a great corpus of literature, much of his personal life remains steeped in controversial mystery. Indeed, who was Shakespeare? Was he plain Mr. Shakespeare from Stratford or was his named used as an alias by an aristocrat from Elizabeth I’s court? Why shouldn’t fiction provide vital clues toward unraveling Shakespeare’s enigma. Just as Hilary Mantel forever changed our view of Thomas Cromwell by humanizing him in her novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, the best historical fiction may also rescue the Bard from dusty textbooks and bring him to life in a more visceral way. Moderator Anne Easter Smith will lead three stellar authors, Sarah Smith, Mary Sharratt, and C.C. Humphreys, in a lively discussion using their insights on creating a richer, more nuanced understanding of Shakespeare and his world through their respective novels: Chasing Shakespeares, The Dark Lady’s Mask, and Shakespeare’s Rebel.

Presenters: C.C. Humphreys, Mary Sharratt, Sarah Smith
Moderator: Anne Easter Smith


Nonfiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Newburyport Art Association

Carl Little

Art of Acadia

Art writer and poet Carl Little will provide a sneak preview of Art of Acadia, written with his brother David, which will be coming out this summer. Published in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the founding of Acadia National Park, the book highlights the artists who have been inspired by the landscape of greater Mount Desert Island, including the Cranberry Isles and Schoodic Point, from the early 19th century to today. Little will offer a sampling of images from the book.

Presenter: Carl Little


Nonfiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
City Hall

Dr. G. William Freeman

The Holy Terror: Captain William Nichols from Newburyport

Author of The Holy Terror, Dr. William Freeman is a sixth generation descendant of Captain William Nichols, a naval war hero in the War of 1812. Captain Nichols was a bold, daring, and intrepid privateer sea captain from Newburyport who captured 28 British ships and took 600 prisoners, but who was captured and spent half the war in chains on a British prison-ship. The British both feared and admired him and called him “The Holy Terror”. Dr. Freeman describes Nichols’ adventures, captures, and escapes he had with his fast-sailing privateer ships, the Decatur and the Harpy. He also describes the various locations here in Newburyport that became important to Nichols during his life.

Presenter: Dr. William Freeman


Fiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Jabberwocky Bookshop

Dwight Ritter

Growin’ Up White

Join Dwight Ritter for a discussion of his new novel, Growin’ Up White, the story of the Stoner family, told from the perspective of middle child Rick Stoner. Set during the start and peak of the American civil rights movement in Indianapolis, the story follows Rick as he comes of age—making friends, experiencing first love, and looking racism in the face—in a mostly black neighborhood. It is also the story of the immense impact that Georgey, a quirky fifty-year-old black housekeeper from the Bahamas, has on a white family.

Presenter: Dwight Ritter


Children/Ages 5-8
Saturday 1:00 PM
Children’s Room, Newburyport Public Library

Micha Archer

Let’s Make a Poem!

What is poetry? Is it glistening morning dew? Spider thinks so. Is it crisp leaves crunching? That’s what Squirrel says. Could it be a cool pond, sun-warmed sand, or moonlight on the grass? Maybe poetry is all of these things, because it’s something special for everyone—you just have to take the time to really look and listen. In Daniel Makes a Poem, Daniel is on his way to discovering a poem of his own after spending time with his animal friends. Join author and illustrator Micha Archer as she reads her new book then helps kids create and illustrate their own poems, using collage. All supplies for the collage workshop will be provided.

Presenter: Micha Archer


Children
Ages 8-12 and up

Saturday 1:00 PM
Program Room, Newburyport Public Library

FAMILIES: The GOOD, The BAD, and The WACKY!

Join acclaimed middle-grade authors Elizabeth Atkinson and Dana Alison Levy as they discuss their latest books, both of which deal with themes of family. Whether full of goofballs or full of secrets, families — in books and in real life — make us who we are. Levy and Atkinson will discuss their books, their inspirations, and how stories can act as mirrors and windows, connecting readers with characters and fictional families both similar to and different from their own. Come ask questions, get author secrets, and enter to win door prizes (including naming a character in a future book and signed book baskets)! Hope to see you there!

Presenters: Elizabeth Atkinson, Dana Alison Levy
Moderator: Ellen Menesale


Poetry
Saturday 2:00 PM
Central Congregational Church Social Hall
Ancient Myth and Table Talk:
The Poetry of Bill Coyle and Kirun Kapur

Kirun Kapur and Bill Coyle have each published but a single volume of poetry, but in both instances, the one offering has created a lasting impression. Kirun Kapur’s poetry has received rave reviews all around: “A first collection which is so assured and lyrically compelling that it reads nothing like a debut volume” (Ploughshares). As for Bill Coyle, “he is easily one of the best poets of his generation,” writes no less an authority than David Mason. These two wonderful poets share a familiarity with tradition—both poetic and cultural—from which they draw the inspiration to write poetry distinguished for its depth of humanity.

Presenters: Bill Coyle and Kirun Kapur


Nonfiction
Saturday 2:00 PM
City Hall

Jack Santos

Newburyport Sacrifices: The Wheelwright Family in the Revolution

The Wheelwrights were a prominent merchant family in Newburyport during the early to mid-1800s. An original Boston Brahmin clan, we’ll tell the story of Rev. John Wheelwright who narrowly escaped severe Puritan punishment in the 1600s. We’ll learn of Reverend John’s great great grandson Jeremiah Wheelwright, an Ipswich schoolmaster, who answered Benedict Arnold’s rallying call at Old South to join Arnold’s army in a surprise attack on the British. We’ll end our talk with Jeremiah’s son, 18-year old Abraham. With first person accounts of battles on land and at sea, the war for independence would be Abraham’s focus for eight years of his life.

Presenter: Jack Santos


Fiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Congregational Church Sanctuary

Why Fiction Matters

In Elizabeth Strout’s My Name Is Lucy Barton a New York Public Library librarian asks, “What is your job as a writer of fiction?” It’s a question worth asking two writers who have devoted their lives to writing and reading fiction. This conversation will explore the layers of their craft, their thoughts on the state of the genre and why fiction is so important.

Presenters: Andre Dubus III, Elizabeth Strout
Moderator: Leslie Hendrickson


Nonfiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Firehouse Center for the Arts

Mike Tougias

So Close to Home: An American Family’s World War II Story of Survival

Michael J. Tougias, bestselling author and co-author of 24 books, presents his latest tale of true survival, So Close to Home. On May 19, 1942, a German U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico stalked its prey 50 miles off New Orleans: the freighter Heredia. Most of the Heredia’s crew were merchant seamen, but there were also a handful of civilians, including the Downs family. When torpedoes exploded the ship, all four members of the family were separated from each other. More than half the crew and passengers aboard the Heredia perished, but incredibly, after 15 hours in the ocean—facing sharks, hypothermia, drowning, and dehydration—all members of the Downs family survived and were reunited. Join Tougias for this edge-of-your-seat program featuring slides of the attack, the survivors, and the rescue.

Presenter: Michael J. Tougias


Nonfiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Old South Church

R. Marc Kantrowitz

Old Whiskey and Young Women: American True Crime Tales of Murder, Sex and Scandal

Judge R. Marc Kantrowitz explores some of the most notorious criminal cases in American history. These cases titillated, if not repulsed, the entire nation when they first occurred and yet, today they are nearly totally forgotten. From the unfair framing for murder of America’s most famous comedian, to America’s first capital case involving an older woman and her much younger lover murdering her husband, to Mad Harry Thaw, the wealthy and mad son of a steel magnate, killing America’s foremost architect over a beautiful woman, all come to life in gripping detail and drama. This book brings to life notorious characters and tales from the rich pages of history.

Presenter: Judge R. Marc Kantrowitz


Fiction / Young Adult
Saturday 2:30 PM
Old South Church Social Hall
What a Girl Wants

Young Adult literature is defined by the “coming of age” teen experience. Whether in classic literature or contemporary fiction, teenage girls are catalysts for exploring society’s expectations about gender, power, and sexuality. Readers follow their steps as they grow into women, voice their desires, and navigate the spoken and unspoken rules of society. In this thought-provoking discussion, we’ll explore modern spins on classic narratives and the use of historical perspective to shed light on the progression of women’s identities right up to the modern day. Join notable Young Adult authors Katherine Howe and April Lindner in conversation with Brookline Public Library’s Teen Librarian, Robin Brenner.

Presenters: Katherine Howe, April Lindner
Moderator: Robin Brenner


Fiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church
Crimes of Passion

Writers are often advised to “write what you know.” Writing what you know and love produces fantastic results, as the authors on this panel prove. Each of them uses their lifelong passions as inspiration for the characters, plot, and other elements in their crime fiction. Join Tess Gerritsen, B.A. Shapiro, and Steve Ulfelder for this “passionate” discussion moderated by Dyke Hendrickson, a journalist and author of the mystery, Last Night in Hollywood.

Presenters: Tess Gerritsen, B.A. Shapiro, Steve Ulfelder
Moderator: Dyke Hendrickson


Nonfiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Newburyport Art Association

Anthony Amore

The Art of the Con

Anthony M. Amore’s The Art of the Con tells the stories of some of history’s most notorious yet untold cons. They involve stolen art hidden for decades; elaborate ruses that involve the Nazis and allegedly plundered art; the theft of a conceptual prototype from a well-known artist by his assistant to be used later to create copies; the use of online and television auction sites to scam buyers out of millions; and other confidence scams incredible not only for their boldness but more so because they actually worked.

Presenter: Anthony M. Amore


Fiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Jabberwocky Bookshop

Meg Mitchell Moore

The Admissions

The Admissions brilliantly captures the frazzled pressure cooker of modern life as a seemingly perfect family comes undone by a few desperate measures, long-buried secrets—and college applications! Sharp and topical, Meg Mitchell Moore shows that if you pull at a loose thread, even the sturdiest of lives start to unravel at the seams of high achievement.

Presenter: Meg Mitchell Moore


Children
Ages 10 – 14

Saturday 2:30 pm
Program Room, Newburyport Public Library

Genevieve Morgan

Writers in Wonderland

Ever wonder what it would be like to be transported to another world? Ever wish you could do magic? Do you dream of a mythic land filled with wonder and adventure, and wish you could go there right now? Join Genevieve Morgan, author of the “The Five Stones Trilogy,” as she leads you on a journey through adventure-fantasy fiction! We’ll explore how imagination and words can be the used to create characters and objects that take you to distant places. Using your experiences as a starting point, you’ll begin to invent and write about your own wonderland.

Presenter: Genevieve Morgan


Poetry
Saturday 3:00 PM
Central Congregational Church Social Hall
A Return to Form: The Poetry of Erica Dawson and William Baer

A quarter-century ago it looked as though poets who clung to rhyme and meter were remnants of a dwindling endangered species. However, in 1990 William Baer founded a meticulously edited journal devoted to metrical poetry called The Formalist. William Baer’s magazine may have been the single most powerful factor in the revival of traditionalist poetry in America. As for Erica Dawson, her work is living proof of that tradition’s renewal, and of its continuing vitality. But don’t be misled: There’s nothing old-fashioned about Dawson’s poetry. She doesn’t sound like anyone dead—or alive; “There is no one writing like Erica Dawson” (The Hopkins Review).

Presenters: Erica Dawson and William Baer


Nonfiction
Saturday 3:30 PM
Program Room, Newburyport Public Library

Quincy Whitney

American Luthier: Carleen Hutchins—the Art and Science of the Violin From the time of Stradivari, the violinmaking world has been a cloistered male bastion, preserving closely guarded secrets and a lucrative violin market. How could a 1950s New Jersey housewife change all that? By applying acoustics to make a better fiddle? By inventing a new family of violins? By creating an international society devoted to violin acoustics? How does a biologist and trumpet player eventually win the highest honor bestowed by the Acoustical Society of America? Such is the art-science-music biography American Luthier: Carleen Hutchins—the Art and Science of the Violin by Quincy Whitney. It is the story of a pioneering woman in three male-dominated fields of lutherie, physics and classical music who taught herself to make her first viola just to see if she could do it, and then contributed so much to the violinmaking world that her Harvard physicist mentor once asked her—“What is the feminine of Stradivari?”

Presenter: Quincy Whitney


Nonfiction
Saturday 4:00 PM
Firehouse Center for the Arts

C.C. Humphreys

Shakespeare and Me: A Novelist Explores His Greatest Influence

Join author and actor C. C. Humphreys as he takes his time machine to London 1600 AD. Enjoy a sensory tour of the city and a trip to the Globe Playhouse while exploring how research is both the anchor to our writing and the springboard to our imagination.

Presenter: C.C. Humphreys


Fiction
Saturday 4:00 PM
Newburyport Art Association

Dogs, Diapers, and Divorce

Packed with humor and pathos, razor-sharp dialogue and keen references to popular culture, She Came from Beyond, is no ordinary debut. This lively discussion will follow the peaks and valleys of the writing life, including what it’s like to launch a book in the age of social media, how kids and dogs add and detract from the writing process, and why an understanding of pop culture is important to the written word.

Presenters: Myfanwy Collins, Nadine Darling


Fiction
Saturday 4:00 PM
Jabberwocky Bookshop

Paul Tremblay

A Head Full of Ghosts

Paul Tremblay reads from A Head Full of Ghosts, a chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. “A Head Full of Ghosts scared the living hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare.” — Stephen King

Presenter: Paul Tremblay


Saturday 7:00 PM
Firehouse Center for the Arts

Deborah Szabo

Closing Ceremony — Honoring Deborah Szabo

Debbie Szabo has lived just off Lime Street, former home to Edna St. Vincent Millay, for thirty-four years, trying desperately to absorb Millay’s talent through osmosis. This evening will demonstrate the ineffectiveness of that plan. While her poetry may be second or even third-rate, Debbie’s teaching has been first-rate, as will be demonstrated by her former students, current students, and family, all of whom she has done her very best to inspire.

Debbie won the Edward Molin Award for Teaching Excellence in 1991 and the The Nancy E. Peace Action Against Prejudice Award in 2012, for her work celebrating diversity and promoting social activism through poetry. She is included in the book Legendary Locals of Newburyport. This evening will include a small sampling of Szabo’s writings, including an original snarky sonnet (as a tribute to Millay) and a parody, as well as performances from NHS’s prize-winning poetry slam team, a staged reading of Momix (comix about Mom) and most likely, another surprise or two. When you see how impressive these young people are, you’ll understand why Debbie keeps coming back to teaching year after year!

Presenter: Deborah Szabo


Newburyport Literary Festival, A Project of the Newburyport Literary Association
PO Box 268 Newburyport, MA 01950
(978) 465-1257