Schedule of Events

Friday, April 23, 2021

Poetry
Friday 6:00–7:00 PM

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Opening Ceremony

Living Glass: The Poetry of Deborah Warren

We kick off our festival weekend with a celebration of our honoree – poet Deborah Warren. Deborah is fascinated by the mutability of things, the ever-changing nature of everything in existence. She’s aware that she has set herself an impossible task: the reality she tries to capture in her poetry was never made to stand still. In her poem, “The Glassblower,” she scolds the craftsman who “should have stopped before” it hardened, “when there was nothing yet to shatter, only possibility and prism.” What quickness and lightness of intelligence it would require to work that way—the very qualities that make Warren’s art so exquisite! Join us to hear Deborah in conversation with Ernest Hilbert, book critic for the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, and winner of the 2017 Poets Prize.

Presenters: Ernest Hilbert, Deborah Warren

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Poetry
8:30-10:00 AM

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Breakfast with the Poets

The Literary Festival happens only once a year—get an early start! Unfortunately, digital coffee and pastry are a poor substitute for what Gina usually provides us. As for poetry, however, we’ve got the real thing to offer. Eight Powow River Poets, Paulette Turco, Michael Cantor, Anton Yakovlev, Joan Kimball, Kyle Potvin, A M Juster, Al Basile, and Anne Mulvey, will read from books they’ve published since our last “Breakfast” together.

Presenters: Al Basile, Michael Cantor, A M Juster, Joan Kimball, Anne Mulvey, Kyle Potvin , Paulette Turco, Anton Yakovlev

Nonfiction
9:00–9:45 AM

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The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power

When most people think about street addresses, it is in their capacity to ensure that the postman can deliver mail or a traveler won’t get lost. But street addresses were not invented to help you find your way; they were created to find you. In many parts of the world, your address can reveal your race and class. In her remarkable book, Deirdre Mask looks at the fate of streets named after Martin Luther King Jr., the wayfinding means of ancient Romans, and how Nazis haunt the streets of modern Germany.

Deirdre Mask joins the festival to talk about the complex and sometimes hidden stories behind street names and their power to name, to hide, to decide who counts, who doesn’t―and why.

Presenter: Deirdre Mask
Moderator: Emily Fine

Fiction
9:00–9:45 AM

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The Lions of 5th Avenue

The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a book written for booklovers.”—O, The Oprah Magazine In New York Times bestselling author Fiona Davis’s latest historical novel, a series of book thefts roils the iconic New York Public Library, leaving two generations of strong-willed women to pick up the pieces. Author Fiona Davis talks with book blogger Suzanne Leopold (SuzyApproved.com) about this epic story of family ties, determined women, and the quest for truth.

Presenter: Fiona Davis
Moderator: Susanne Leopold

Fiction
10:00–10:45 AM

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Telling Secrets: Authors Nancy Johnson and Julie Carrick Dalton in Conversation

People often leave home to escape the past, hoping to put their secrets behind them. But what happens when you go home again? Nancy Johnson (The Kindest Lie) and Julie Carrick Dalton (Waiting for the Night Song) write about women who return home to find that the secrets they left behind are still waiting for them. Debut authors Nancy and Julie talk about secrets, lies, and learn that in order to move into the future, you need to make peace with the past.

Presenters: Julie Carrick Dalton, Nancy Johnson

Nonfiction
10:00–10:45 AM

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Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain

Have you ever wondered why you have a brain? Let renowned neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett demystify that big gray blob between your ears. In seven short essays (plus a bite-sized story about how brains evolved), Barrett reveals mind-expanding lessons from the front lines of neuroscience research. She writes about where brains came from, how they’re structured (and why it matters), and how yours works in tandem with other brains to create everything you experience. Join Lisa Feldman Barrett in conversation with Peter Godfrey-Smith (author of Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind) in an entertaining and illuminating conversation about mind-expanding lessons from the front lines of neuroscience research.

Presenters: Lisa Feldman Barrett
Moderator: Peter Godfrey-Smith

Poetry
10:15–11:15 AM

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Nagging Questions: The Light Verse of Midge Goldberg and Chris O’Carroll

Here are two poets who aren’t afraid to ask the important questions (“What’s your sign?”). They’re not afraid to ask other kinds of questions, either, including the rhetorical (“Are you sick of being seen as a cutie?”), the metaphysical (“Is it tomorrow yet?), the questions that arise from tattoo regret (“Can I unprick my skin?”), and those soul-searching questions we all ask ourselves upon entering a room, (“What did I want in here?”). Midge Goldberg and Chris O’Carroll are unquestionably two of the brightest wits in po-biz.

Presenters: Midge Goldberg and Chris O’Carroll

Fiction
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

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Did the Butler do it? A Conversation with Three British Crime Masters

From Arthur Conan Doyle to Agatha Christie, Americans have never been able to get enough of British mysteries. In this panel, we’ll hear from three writers at the top of their game as they discuss the current state of the genre and recent trends in British crime writing. Lorna Ruby, bookseller extraordinaire from Wellesley Books, will moderate a panel with Ruth Ware, author of One by One, Elly Griffiths, author of The Postscript Murders, and Dorothy Koomson, author of All My Lies Are True.

Presenters: Elly Griffiths, Dorothy Koomson, Ruth Ware
Moderator: Lorna Ruby

Fiction
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

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Listen Up! Audiobooks turn up the volume for the publishing industry

The audiobook market, predicted to reach $3.5 billion this year, has turned the publishing industry on, well, its ear. Join Carol Fitzgerald of Bookreporter.com as she talks with three prolific audiobook narrators. Imogen Church has narrated her own writing as well as the work of others, and January LaVoy and Robert Petkoff are two successful actors who have discovered and thrived in an additional career in the audiobook world. They’ll discuss the ins and outs of audiobook work and what the incredible growth in the industry means for how we consume books and how publishers present them to us.

Presenters: Imogen Church, January LaVoy, Robert Petkoff
Moderator: Carol Fitzgerald

Poetry
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

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A Visit with Natasha Trethewey

We are honored to present Natasha Trethewey our first annual X. J. Kennedy Prize for Excellence in Poetry. The excellence of Trethewey’s literary work is no secret; she received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize and was chosen to serve as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014). In his citation, Librarian of Congress James Billington wrote, “Her poems dig beneath the surface of history—personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles that we all face.” Trethewey was the first Southerner to receive the honor since Robert Penn Warren, in 1986, and the first African-American since Rita Dove, in 1993. Our distinguished guest will read from her poetry and from her memoir, Memorial Drive (2020), and she will engage in conversation about her work and life with local luminary Rhina Espaillat.

Presenters: Rhina Espaillat, Natasha Trethewey

Nonfiction
12:15–1:00 PM

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Searching for Shakespeare

What if Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare—but someone else wrote him first? Michael Blanding (The Map Thief) presents his new book, North by Shakespeare, which follows obsessive scholar Dennis McCarthy on his quest to prove that Shakespeare used now-lost plays by 16th-century courtier and translator Thomas North to write his greatest works. McCarthy’s theories present a fascinating “middle ground” between orthodox views of the Bard and conspiracy theories that someone else wrote the plays—and explain many mysteries, including Shakespeare’s knowledge of Italy, war, and the law— if they can be believed. North by Shakespeare is part literary mystery/part royal intrigue, as Blanding and McCarthy travel together across England, France, and Italy, and back in time through Elizabethan history to investigate his audacious claims.

Presenters: Michael Blanding

Nonfiction
12:15–1:15 PM

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Tiny Love Stories, Big Impact

Since 2004, the reader-submitted Modern Love essays in the New York Times have been read by millions of ardent fans. Modern Love is now a podcast, a TV show, and a book of short-form Tiny Love Stories. What happens when love is captured in one delicious bite of no more than 100 words, and how do these “micro-memoirs” distill truths about the human experience? Miya Lee, editor of Modern Love projects and co-host of the podcast, joins Tiny Love Story authors Bethany Groff Dorau and Adam Chandler to examine what makes a love story ring true, how these stories are selected and curated, and how writing about love, in all of its incarnations, can be good therapy (and get your picture in the Style section!).

Presenters: Adam Chandler, Bethany Groff Dorau, Miya Lee

Poetry
12:45–1:45 PM

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Wary of Destruction: The Poetry of Susan de Sola & Robert W. Crawford

Both of these outstanding poets have connections to Robert Frost’s farm in Derry, NH —Crawford as founder of The Frost Farm Conference and de Sola as a recipient of the The Frost Farm Prize— but the connection goes deeper than that. Both poets are distinguished by their respect for the tradition of poetry that Frost embodied and the craftsmanship he demanded. And both of these makers seem warily “acquainted with the night,” and its way of undoing things. “The sea is a hammer, a rough refiner,” de Sola warns. Crawford doesn’t even trust himself: “Feeling the cold creep through the watery glass,/There is… a part of you—admit it!—That wouldn’t mind the starting all over again.”

Presenters: Robert W. Crawford, Susan de Sola

Nonfiction
1:30–2:15 PM

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HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style

Veteran fashion journalist Elizabeth Holmes has expanded her popular Instagram Stories series into her new book HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style, a nuanced look at the style, branding, and positioning of the four most fashionable members of the contemporary British Royal Family. Queen Elizabeth II; Diane, Princess of Wales; Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge; and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex. With one section devoted to each woman, HRH pairs hundreds of gorgeous photographs with extensive research to paint a vivid portrait of each woman’s sartorial strategy. Ray A. Smith, fashion journalist for the Wall Street Journal, joins Elizabeth Holmes in a lively discussion of these four British icons, showing us that royal fashion is much more than meets the eye.

Presenter: Elizabeth Holmes
Moderator: Ray A. Smith

Fiction
1:30–2:15 PM

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Black Buck: A conversation with author Mateo Askaripour

An unambitious twenty-two-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother, who wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential as the valedictorian of Bronx Science. But Darren is content working at Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building, hanging out with his girlfriend, Soraya, and eating his mother’s home-cooked meals. All that changes when a chance encounter with Rhett Daniels, the silver-tongued CEO of Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech startup, results in an exclusive invitation for Darren to join an elite sales team on the thirty-sixth floor. Black Buck is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce; it is a propulsive, crackling debut that explores ambition and race, and makes way for a necessary new vision of the American dream.

Presenter: Mateo Askaripour
Moderator: Ryan Ludman

Poetry
2:00–3:00 PM

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Public Poems and Private Songs: The Poetry of Martha Collins and Ernest Hilbert

Martha Collins has written extensively about American’s open wound —race and racism— including a book-length poem based on a lynching her father witnessed as a child. Her most recent book, however, is a sequence of poems so private that she did not originally intend to publish them. Ernest Hilbert, too, has dared to wear the mantle of the public poet. Critics often compare Hilbert to Robert Lowell, not only because he allows his personal demons a say in his poetry, but also because, in many of his poems, his intended audience is not one reader or a small group of aficionados, but our nation, these hardly-united States —whether or not our nation is willing to listen.

Presenters: Martha Collins, Ernest Hilbert

Fiction
2:30–3:30 PM

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Inspiration to Publication: The Journey of a Debut Author

As the Beatles said, it’s a long and winding road that leads to your door. Or – in the case of that wonderful novel you devour on vacation – that leads to your hands. This panel will take you along the journey of a debut novelist – from drafting and revising (and revising again), to finding an agent and landing a contract with a publisher, to making sure the right readers hear about the novel. Join first time author Virginia Hume (Haven Point), St. Martin’s Press Editor Sarah Cantin, Literary Agent Susanna Einstein, and Jennifer Romanello of Emi Battaglia Public Relations in a discussion about the long and winding road to literary success.

Presenters: Sarah Cantin, Susanna Einstein, Virginia Hume, Jennifer Romanello
Moderator: Holly Robinson

Nonfiction
2:30–3:30 PM

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Medical Ethics in the Time of COVID

Authors and physicians Lydia Dugdale (The Lost Art of Dying) and Jacob Appel (Who Says Your Dead?) look at questions of medical ethics. While Dugdale explores historic events and the rituals of the deathbed, Appel asks readers to ponder mandatory quarantines to the limits of life support. The conversation will look to history to discuss the medical issues of today, including the biggest medical issue of our time, the Covid-19 pandemic. Moderated by journalist Leslie Hendrickson.

Presenters: Jacob Appel, Lydia Dugdale
Moderator: Leslie Hendrickson

Poetry
3:15–4:15 PM

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The Art of Conversation: The Poetry of Rachel DeWoskin and Charles Coe

Anyone who pictures the poet as a stock character should be forewarned: here are two poets who break the mold. Rachel DeWoskin, who has authored five critically acclaimed novels and once starred in a Chinese soap opera, and Charles Coe, who has mastered the didgeridoo, an Aboriginal wind instrument, bring to the art of poetry unique sensibilities and a world of talent that crosses over into poetry’s sister-arts: DeWoskin is an award-winning writer of prose, and Coe has an extensive background as a jazz vocalist, having performed and recorded with musicians throughout New England. What these two individuals do have in common is a recognition of how the arts speak to one another and a willingness to breeze past boundaries, to “open the imagination to the fantastic possibilities of a new way to look at – and see – the world.”

Presenters: Charles Coe, Rachel DeWoskin

Fiction
3:45–4:45 PM

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Stories from Suffragette City

On October 23, 1915, tens of thousands of women marched up Fifth Avenue, demanding the right to vote in New York City. Thirteen of today’s bestselling authors have taken this moment as inspiration to raise the voices of history and breathe fresh life into their struggles and triumphs in the short story collection Stories from Suffragette City. Four of these authors – Fiona Davis, MJ Rose, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and Alyson Richman – come together today for a discussion of their stories about this inspiring moment in history that reinvigorated the power of democracy, a moment that is as relevant today as it was a hundred years ago.

Presenters: Fiona Davis, MJ Rose, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Alyson Richman

Nonfiction
3:45–4:30 PM

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Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing

From Sam Cooke to Robert Johnson to Elvis Presley, Newburyport author Peter Guralnick has written about some of music’s biggest names. His new book of essays, Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing, is based on decades of interviews with music luminaries across blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll. It’s also a look back at his life as a journalist, author and music critic. Peter will be in conversation with author and arts writer Mark Feeney of the Boston Globe.

Presenters: Peter Guralnick
Moderator: Mark Feeney

Poetry
4:30–5:00 PM

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Linda Pastan- Underneath the Ordinary

Linda Pastan is often described as a domestic poet, one who finds art in the quotidien. She does not refute that characterization, but adds, “I am indeed interested, you might say obsessed, not with ordinary life per se but with the dangers lurking just beneath its seemingly placid surface.” “For Jews,” she writes, “the Cossacks are always coming.” Pastan’s interiors offer each of us journeyers a place to rest awhile and consider the things that matter.

Presenter: Linda Pastan

Nonfiction
5:30–6:30 PM

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Cocktail Party with the Authors of Alone Together

Join Jennifer Haupt, editor of Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19, and contributing authors Scott James, Devi Laskar, January Gill O’Neil, and Dani Shapiro as they read from this anthology that benefits the Book Industry Charitable Fund (Binc) and discuss the importance of tapping into our creativity and telling our stories during times of crisis. Moderated by Robin Kall, host of the popular podcast “Reading with Robin.”

Presenters: Jennifer Haupt, Scott James, January Gill O’Neil, Dani Shapiro
Moderator: Robin Kall

Melopoia, Saturday Evening, 7:00 PM

The Diminished Prophets Present “A Melopoeia: The Path.” Our day of literary events comes to a close with a performance of melopoeia, a stirring combination of music and poetry featuring poets Rhina P. Espaillat and Alfred Nicol, guitarist John Tavano, and bassist/cellist Roger Kimball.

Why did we name this melopoeia The Path? Because every poem touches upon a journey. It may be a walk along the Newburyport Promenade, or down Fifth Avenue in startling company; it may be a crawl under the bed with a flashlight, or a journey denied because of the need to ‘shelter in place,’ or the immeasurable journey lovers make from lip to lip…

We won’t be gone long. You come too!

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

Nonfiction
9:00–9:45 AM

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UNACCEPTABLE: Privilege, Deceit and the Making of the College Admissions Scandal

On March 12, 2019, federal prosecutors in Boston stunned the world by unveiling charges against 50 people from its Operation Varsity Blues investigation into a sprawling college admissions cheating scandal. Wall Street Journal reporters Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz covered the daily drama and broke major developments in the case. In UNACCEPTABLE, they dig even deeper into how the scheme stayed uncovered for so long, what led these parents so far astray and why the system was ripe for corruption.

Presenters: Melissa Korn, Jennifer Levitz

Nonfiction
9:00–9:45 AM

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Newburyport Clipper Heritage Trail, Volume II

Grab a cup of coffee and get ready to view over 60 images of old Newburyport. Ghlee E. Woodworth’s forthcoming local history book follows last year’s popular Newburyport Clipper Heritage Trail, Volume I. Whereas Volume I focused on downtown tours, this guidebook will take you throughout the city, visiting shipyards, authors, poets, sea captains, photographers, cemeteries and Plum Island. See a castle, the sites of old cotton mills, schoolhouses, a distillery and comb factory, a hotel and lighthouse, and hear about a summer camp for disabled children. You’ll even discover Wonder Woman’s connection to Newburyport! Learn more at Ghlee’s award-winning website: www.clipperheritagetrail.com.

Presenter: Ghlee Woodworth

Fiction
9:00–9:45 AM

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The Happiest Girl in the World: A conversation with author Alena Dillon

For Sera Wheeler, the Olympics is the reason why she trains thirty hours a week, starves herself to under 100 pounds, and pops Advil like Tic Tacs. For her mother, Charlene, hungry for glory she never had, it’s why she rises before dawn to drive Sera to practice in a different state, and why the family scrimps, saves, and fractures. It’s why, when Sera’s best friend reports the gymnastics doctor to the authority who selects the Olympic Team, Sera denies what she knows about his treatments, thus preserving favor. Alena Dillon joins us with her latest novel, The Happiest Girl in the World, exploring the dark history behind an athlete who stands on the world stage, and the sacrifices a parent will make for a child, even as a family is torn apart.

Presenter: Alena Dillon
Moderator: Joanne Serling

Fiction
10:00–10:45 AM

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Writers and Lovers: Lily King in Conversation with Meg Mitchell Moore

Writers and Lovers, the latest novel by New England’s very own Lily King, is a dazzling exception to the sometimes-held conviction that writers writing about writers is not the way to garner mass appeal. Named a top book of the year by NPR, People, The New York Times, Kirkus, and many others, Writers and Lovers is an intimate portrait of a struggling novelist in 1990s Cambridge and a showcase of King’s prodigious talent and artistic restraint. Join the beloved author of the bestseller Euphoria in conversation with author Meg Mitchell Moore as they discuss King’s wide-ranging body of work in general and Writers and Lovers in particular.

Presenter: Lily King
Moderator: Meg Mitchell Moore

Nonfiction
10:00–10:45 AM

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Merrimack, the Resilient River: An Illustrated Profile of the Most Historic River in New England

Join Dyke Hendrickson for a discussion of his latest book, Merrimack: The Resilient River, An Illustrated Narrative of the Most Historic River in New England. Hendrickson calls it “part history and part call to action.” The 117-mile river is sometimes getting dirtier, not cleaner. The author provides insight on its remarkable past, including the fact it was the birthplace of the Coast Guard. Along the Merrimack were built the first major textile mills in the country. It was also the site of a scientific breakthrough in clean drinking water and of one of the first successful labor strikes.

Hendrickson interviewed more than 50 North Shore residents for the well-researched text, and he has included more than 75 color photos of the majestic waterway.

Presenter: Dyke Hendrickson

Fiction
10:00–10:45 AM

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The Revelations: Erik Hoel in Conversation with Andre Dubus III

Andre Dubus III calls The Revelations by Erik Hoel “a deeply compelling, thought-provoking, unforgettable work, one that heralds the arrival of an important new voice among us.” Bursting with ideas, ranging from Greek mythology to the dark realities of animal testing, to some of the biggest unanswered questions facing scientists today, The Revelations is written in muscular, hypnotic prose, and its cyclically dreamlike structure pushes the boundaries of literary fiction. Join Andre in conversation with the Erik about this edgy and ambition debut novel about neuroscience, death, and the search for the theory of human consciousness.

Presenter: Eric Hoel
Moderator: Andre Dubus III

Fiction/Nonfiction
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

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Visit Jazz Age San Francisco: Artists and Crooks, Chinatown, and Fiery Women

The Strong Sense of Place podcast features books with vivid settings and fascinating characters to take listeners on a virtual trip to destinations around the world. In this special Zoom edition of their show, the hosts are joined by author Jasmin Darznik. They’ll discuss her novel The Bohemians, the coming-of-age story of photographer Dorothea Lange and her raucous time in the city by the Bay. Then they’ll test your knowledge of San Francisco with Two Truths and a Lie, and transport you back in time with music, stories, and images of this beautiful city during a dramatic time in its history.

For book recommendations, links and recipes from A Strong Sense of Place, download the PDF of San Francisco in the Jazz Age.

Presenters: Jasmin Darznik, David Humphreys, Melissa Joulwan

Nonfiction
11:00–11:45 AM

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A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes

A Furious Sky is a vivid, sprawling account of our encounters with hurricanes, and this talk uses more than seventy slides to tell that story. Weaving a narrative of shipwrecks and devastated cities, of heroism and folly, Dolin introduces a rich cast of characters, and puts us in the middle of the most devastating storms of the past. He melds American history, as it is usually told, with the history of hurricanes, showing how these tempests frequently helped determine the nation’s course. As A Furious Sky moves through the centuries, following the rise of the United States, it traces the corresponding development of hurricane science, from important discoveries made by Benjamin Franklin to the breakthroughs spurred by the necessities of the World War II and the Cold War. Yet after centuries of study and despite remarkable leaps in scientific knowledge and technological prowess, there are still limits on our ability to predict exactly when and where hurricanes will strike, and we remain terribly vulnerable to the greatest storms on earth. A Furious Sky is, ultimately, a story of a changing climate, and it forces us to reckon with the reality that as bad as the past has been, the future will probably be worse, unless we drastically reimagine our relationship with the planet.

Presenter: Eric Jay Dolin

Fiction
11:00–11:45 AM

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The Allure of the Untold Story

Authors Aimee Liu and Jennifer Steil discuss how they found untold stories from World War II and transformed these parts of history into their recent novels, Glorious Boy and Exile Music. They will discuss how they went about researching their books, how they solved the toughest challenges they encountered, why they chose to center their books on certain characters, how they created the narrative structures of their books, their writing processes, and the surprises they encountered along the way. They’ll also talk about diving deeply into place in order to bring to life an overlooked part of the world.

Presenters: Aimee Liu, Jennifer Steil

Nonfiction
12:00-12:45 PM

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing

Nina Sankovitch will talk about the history of letter writing, drawing on the research she did for her book Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing. Humans have been writing letters to each other from the time we could write, and Sankovitch will go as far back as the Egyptians to describe and define what are the qualities of letter writing (and receiving!) that make the medium so unique, lasting, and redemptive. Sankovitch will also explore the question of whether the isolations imposed by COVID-19 might be sparking a revival of the tradition of the written letter. You can find out more about Sankovitch’s research into letters, and how letters have also played an important role in the writing of her other books, by visiting Sankovitch’s website, http://www.readallday.org. You can also watch her TEDx talk on letter writing, My Awesome Obsession — Writing, Reading, Saving Letters | Nina Sankovitch | TEDxSHS.

Presenter: Nina Sankovitch

Fiction
12:15–1:15 PM

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Make a Mystery with Sisters in Crime New England Authors

Join Sisters in Crime New England authors Richard J. Cass, Lorraine Sharma Nelson, Gerald Elias and Connie Johnson Hambley as they build a story with YOUR clues while pulling back the curtain on the writing process! You’ll provide names, setting, motives, weapon and more. From each suggestion, the authors will talk about what goes in to each decision and how one small detail can alter an entire story. Join us for this interactive and fast-paced improv with authors and enjoy the fun as they create a brand new murder mystery on the spot!

Presenters: Richard Cass, Gerald Elias, Connie Johnson Hambley, Lorraine Nelson

Fiction/Nonfiction
12:15–1:15 PM

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Authors who Own Bookstores: Talking Shop with Ann Patchett, Alex George, and Kelly Link

Owning a bookstore and writing bestselling books might seem to many like “living the dream.” But what is the reality of balancing the creative with the commercial life? Come meet three of these bookstore owner/authors and learn how they juggle writing and selling: Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House and owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN; Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble and owner of Book Moon in Easthampton, MA; and Alex George, author of The Paris Hours and owner of Skylark Bookshop in Columbia, MO. The panel will be moderated by Hannah Harlow, owner of The Book Shop of Beverly Farms in Beverly, MA.

Presenters: Alex George, Kelly Link, Ann Patchett
Moderator: Hannah Harlow

Nonfiction
1:00–1:45 PM

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Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero

Harriet Tubman is an extraordinary historical figure. Born enslaved, she rose up and out of the most extraordinarily oppressive circumstances to become a symbol for the fight for freedom, equality, justice, and self-determination. Her values—love of family, devotion to faith, and community service—are what Americans hold dear. Since her death in 1913, Tubman’s importance has grown dramatically, especially in the past twenty years. Her story, her legacy, is so powerful that her image will grace our $20 bill in the near future. Who was she? Where did she come from? Come learn about the real Harriet Tubman – woman, warrior, soldier, activist, and servant leader. A woman for the ages.

Presenter: Kate Clifford Larson

Nonfiction
1:30–2:15 PM

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Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In

In 1975, during the fall of Saigon, Phuc Tran immigrated to America along with his family. In this coming-of-age memoir told through the themes of great books such as The Metamorphosis, The Scarlet Letter, The Iliad, and more, Tran navigates the push and pull of finding and accepting himself despite the challenges of immigration, feelings of isolation, and teenage rebellion, all while attempting to meet the rigid expectations set by his immigrant parents. Against the hairspray-and-synthesizer backdrop of the ‘80s, he finds solace and kinship in the wisdom of classic literature, and in the subculture of punk rock, he finds affirmation and echoes of his disaffection.

Join author Phuc Tran in conversation with book blogger Russell Gray in a discussion of this funny but powerful coming-of-age memoir.

Presenters: Phuc Tran
Moderator: Russell Gray

Fiction
1:30–2:15 PM

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Displacement: A Conversation with Graphic Novelist Kiku Hughes

In Kiku Hughes’ debut historical graphic novel Displacement, a teenager is pulled back in time to witness her grandmother’s experiences in World War II-era Japanese internment camps. Join Hughes and You Tube book reviewer and graphic novel aficionado Elizabeth Abraham as they talk about the real-life inspiration for Displacement (an ALA Youth Literature Honor Book), the particular role of graphic novels in YA literature, and how Hughes used her linework to bring to life “an oft-overlooked period of U.S. aggression against its own citizens” (Publishers Weekly).

Presenters: Kiku Hughes
Moderator: Elizabeth Abraham

Nonfiction
2:00–2:45 PM

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Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter

Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter (2019) examines black radical politics and civil rights activism in Boston between the end of the Civil War and the dawn of the New Deal. Listed by the New York Times as one of its top picks of 2019, the book is the first biography of Boston editor, William Monroe Trotter, written in nearly fifty years. It received the Mark Lynton Prize in History, the Massachusetts Book Award, and the Peter J. Gomes Book Prize from the Massachusetts Historical Society. Black Radical was also short-listed for the Stone Book Award from the Museum of African American History, Boston, the Cundill History Prize, and the Plutarch Award for Best biography. Kerri Greenidge received her doctorate in American Studies from Boston University, and she is currently Mellon Assistant Professor in the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora at Tufts University.

Presenter: Kerry Greenidge

Nonfiction
2:30–3:15 PM

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The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the America Supermarket

The miracle of the supermarket has never been more apparent. Like the doctors and nurses who care for the sick, suddenly the men and women who stock our shelves and operate our warehouses are understood as ‘essential’ workers, providing a quality of life we all too easily take for granted. The Secret Life of Groceries is essential reading for those who want to understand our food system–delivering powerful social commentary on the inherently American quest for more and compassionate insight into the lives that provide it.

Benjamin Lorr joins the festival to talk about his five years of research and hundreds of interviews across every level of the grocery industry.

Presenters: Benjamin Lorr
Moderator: Christina Koliander

Fiction
2:30–3:15 PM

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The Truth About A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself: Peter Ho Davies in Conversation With Charles Baxter

In his third novel, A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself, Peter Ho Davies examines marriage, parenthood, and a couple’s heartrending decision to interrupt a pregnancy when test results reveal serious medical issues. Join celebrated novelist and short story writer Charles Baxter—a true master of both forms–as he talks with Davies about the work USA Today calls “gemlike” and Booklist describes as “a raw, intimate look at a couple’s journey into parenthood.”

Presenters: Peter Ho Davies, Charles Baxter

Nonfiction
3:00–4:00 PM

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Site Specific: 20 Years of Outdoor Sculpture at Maudslay

Experience a behind-the-scenes look at the first 20 years of a unique and beloved outdoor sculpture exhibit. In anecdotes about the artists, the challenges of siting work outdoors exposed to the vagaries of weather, and more than 400 photographs, a vibrant portrait of this public art endeavor emerges. The book explains Outdoor Sculpture at Maudslay’s history back to its origin at the Parker River Festival in 1997, how the show is structured and locally funded. Hundreds of artists from ages eight to eighty, novices and professional sculptors, have created site-specific art installations designed for the park using natural resources, found objects, or commercially available materials. Organized entirely by artists, these exhibits at Maudslay State Park have entertained and inspired many thousands of people. This beautifully designed book is a celebration of what generous artists have to offer.

Presenters: Joyce Audy Zarins, Nancy Sander, Bert Snow

Fiction
3:45–4:45 PM

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The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2020

Each year, the Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy anthology collects the best of the year’s science fiction and fantasy publishing, offering a diverse look at the current state of the genre. Series editor John Joseph Adams will be joined by Charlie Jane Anders, Deji Bryce Olukotun, and Rebecca Roanhorse to discuss this year’s collection and recent trends in SFF publishing.

Presenters: John Joseph Adams, Charlie Jane Anders, Deji Bryce Olukotun, Rebecca Roanhorse
Moderator: Christopher Cevasco

Fiction
3:45–4:45 PM

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Representation in YA

YA authors Kim Johnson (This Is My America), Ray Stoeve (Between Perfect and Real) and Crystal Maldonado (Fat Chance, Charlie Vega) will discuss the importance of representation across this and all genres. These novels look at racism in the U.S. justice system, the trials of being a queer high school senior and coming of age as a fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb. Boston-area educator Natalia Martinez will moderate.

Presenters: Kim Johnson, Crystal Moldonado, Ray Stoeve
Moderator: Natalia Martinez