Schedule of Events

2019 Schedule of Events


Friday, April 26 — Opening Night Ceremony

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

Opening Night Ceremony: Elaine Weiss

Our 2019 honoree is award-winning journalist and writer Elaine Weiss. In her stirring, definitive, and engrossing treatment of winning suffrage in America, The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, she tells the story of American women’s long crusade to obtain that most basic right of democracy—the vote—and the forces of history, culture, and politics which made their quest so difficult, including the racism that came very close to defeating the cause. Weiss will be joined by Linda Hirshman, the author of Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World, for a fascinating discussion about women, politics, and how compelling and relevant history can be.

Presenter: Elaine Weiss
Moderator: Linda Hirshman


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 27

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

Wake up on this festive day with coffee, pastry, and poetry. The locally based, nationally recognized Powow River Poets never leave their readers in the dark! Anton Yakovlev, Jose Edmundo Ocampo Reyes, Toni Treadway, David Davis, and A. M. Juster will read from books they’ve published since last year’s breakfast. (There must be something in those pastries Gina bakes.)

Presenters: David Davis, A.M. Juster, Jose Edmundo Ocampo Reyes, Toni Treadway, Anton Yakovlev


Fiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Central Congregational Church Church Sanctuary

Elinor Lipman

Good Riddance What better way to start your festival day than with the delightful Elinor Lipman? In her new romantic comedy, Good Riddance, Daphne Maritch doesn’t quite know what to make of the heavily annotated high school yearbook she inherits from her mother. The late June Winter Maritch was the teacher to whom the class of ’68 had dedicated its yearbook, and in turn she went on to attend every reunion, scribbling notes and observations after each one—not always charitably—and noting who overstepped boundaries of many kinds. Daphne discards it in a fit of decluttering (the yearbook did not, Daphne concluded, “spark joy”), but when it’s found in the recycling bin by a busybody neighbor/documentary filmmaker, the yearbook’s mysteries—not to mention her own family’s—take on a whole new urgency, and Daphne finds herself entangled in a series of events both poignant and absurd.

Presenter: Elinor Lipman


Nonfiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Firehouse Center for the Arts

Juliette Kayyem

Security Mom

Soccer Moms are so last decade. Kayyem is a “Security Mom.” At once a national security expert who worked at the highest levels of government, and also a mom of three, she’s lived it all—from anthrax to lice to the BP oil spill—and now she tells it all with her unique voice of reason, experience, and humility. Weaving her personal story of marriage and motherhood into a fast-paced account of managing the nation’s most perilous disasters, Kayyem recounts the milestones that mark the path of her unpredictable, daring, funny, and ultimately relatable life.

Moderator: Juliette Kayyem


Nonfiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Old South Church
Into the Raging Sea Thirty-three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro

On October 1, 2015, Hurricane Joaquin barreled into the Bermuda Triangle and swallowed the container ship El Faro whole, resulting in the worst American shipping disaster in thirty-five years. No one could fathom how a vessel equipped with satellite communications, a sophisticated navigation system, and cutting-edge weather forecasting could suddenly vanish—until now. Relying on hundreds of exclusive interviews with family members and maritime experts, as well as the words of the crew members themselves—whose conversations were captured by the ship’s data recorder—journalist Rachel Slade unravels the mystery of the sinking of El Faro. As she recounts the final twenty-four hours onboard, Slade vividly depicts the officers’ anguish and fear as they struggled to carry out Captain Michael Davidson’s increasingly bizarre commands, which, they knew, would steer them straight into the eye of the storm. Taking a hard look at America’s aging merchant marine fleet, Slade also reveals the truth about modern shipping—a cut-throat industry plagued by razor-thin profits and ever more violent hurricanes fueled by global warming.

Presenter: Rachel Slade  
Moderator:
Dyke Hendrickson


Fiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Old South Church – Social Hall
Friday Black

From the start of this unforgettable debut, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s writing will grab you, haunt you, enrage you, and invigorate you. By placing ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, Adjei-Brenyah reveals the violence, injustices, and painful absurdities of life in this country. Join Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah and Myfanwy Collins in a discussion of his piercingly raw award-winning story collection.

“A powerful and important and strange and beautiful collection of stories…An unbelievable debut, one that announced a new and necessary American voice…[Adjei-Brenyah] is here to signal a warning, or perhaps just to say this is what it feels like, in stories that move and breathe and explode on the page.” –Tommy Orange, The New York Times Book Review

Presenter: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah  
Moderator:
Myfanwy Collins


Fiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Unitarian Universalist Church
What I Learned: Debut Authors Discuss Publication

Three authors, representing a mix of genres and form, share their varied experiences after publishing their first books. Andrew Martin, Lyndsay Ely, and Kem Joy Ukwu will take part in discussion of their books, journey to publication, and how they participated in the promotion of their books after publication—and what they learned along the way.

Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely is a young adult novel set in a dystopian wild west. Published by Jimmy Patterson Books, an imprint of Little, Brown, Gunslinger Girl introduces a bold new heroine—a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in the tomorrow’s West. It was a Seventeen Magazine Best Book of 2018, an Indie Next Pick, an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and a Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Month.

Early Work by Andrew Martin is a novel about love and art in early adulthood, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. “Early Work by Andrew Martin . . . is really dirty . . . It’s a book about young graduate students who drink a lot, read a lot, have a lot of sex, and somehow, it’s just mesmerizing . . . terrific.” ―Ann Patchett, PBS NewsHour

Locked Gray, Linked Blue by Kem Joy Ukwu is a collection of linked short stories, published by Kindred Books, an imprint of Brain Mill Press. Family dynamics, bad romance, work, and money haunt the New Yorkers in these stories as they nevertheless triumph. Locked Gray, Linked Blue was a finalist for the New American Fiction Prize.

Presenters: Lindsay Ely, Andrew Martin, Kem Joy Ukwu
Moderator: Hannah Harlow


Fiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Newburyport Art Association

Whitney Scharer

The Age of Light: A Novel

The Age of Light tells the story of Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller, and her search to forge a new identity as an artist after a life spent as a muse. “I’d rather take a photograph than be one,” she declares after she arrives in Paris in 1929, where she soon catches the eye of the famous Surrealist Man Ray. Lee’s journey takes us from the cabarets of bohemian Paris to the battlefields of war-torn Europe during WWII, from discovering radical new photography techniques to documenting the liberation of the concentration camps as one of the first female war correspondents. Through it all, Lee must grapple with the question of whether it’s possible to reconcile romantic desire with artistic ambition—and what she will have to sacrifice to do so.

Presenter: Whitney Scharer


Nonfiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
City Hall

Christopher Klein

When the Irish Invaded Canada: It’s No Blarney

Did you know that an Irish-American army attacked Canada after the Civil War? And not just once, but five times between 1866 and 1871? It’s no blarney! In this talk and slide presentation, Christopher Klein tells the outrageous true story of how a band of Union and Confederate veterans who had fled Ireland after the Great Hunger dusted off their guns and fought side-by-side to undertake one of the most fantastical missions in military history—to seize the British province of Canada and hold it hostage until the independence of Ireland was secured. With the tacit support of the White House, the self-proclaimed Irish Republican Army managed to seize a piece of America’s northern neighbor and achieve the first victory by an Irish army over forces of the British Empire in more than a century. Come learn more about one of the great untold stories of Irish and American history.

Presenter: Christopher Klein


Fiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Jabberwocky Bookshop

Edith Maxwell

Charity’s Burden

Local author Edith Maxwell is back with her Quaker Midwife mystery series. In her latest, Charity’s Burden, Quaker midwife Rose Carroll seeks the true cause of a young mother’s death in turn-of-the-century Massachusetts. Join the Agatha Award-nominee for a look at this latest installment.

Presenter: Edith Maxwell


Fiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

Patricia Bracewell

Perilous Tides

Join Patricia Bracewell for a preview of her upcoming novel Perilous Tides, the third book in the Emma of Normandy trilogy. Bracewell re-creates the medieval world of this little-known, twice-crowned queen. “The familiar themes of political rivalry, court scandal, and disputed lineage so often explored in historical fiction get a new cast of schemer and scoundrels set in a less familiar, but no less dramatic period of English history. Readers of historical sagas and romances will embrace this rich narrative.” —Library Journal

Presenter: Patricia Bracewell


Fiction
Saturday 9:00 AM
Program Room, Newburyport Public Library

Jenna Blum

The Lost Family

The New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged, beautifully rendered story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Presenter: Jenna Blum


Poetry
Saturday 10:00 AM
Central Congregational Church Social Hall
The Poetry of Maryann Corbett & Nausheen Eusuf

Two remarkable poets whose work appears in Best American Poetry 2018, Maryann Corbett and Nausheen Eusuf know that, whatever poetry is about, it is always about language. It is a kind of liberation to recognize that. Both poets, Eusuf with her virtuoso wordplay and Corbett with her knowledge of ancient tongues, employ a whole range of language—different tones and voices, high and low modes of speech, allusions, quotations, and puns—to touch on things that matter either for the moment or for eternity. Presenters: and

Presenters: Mary Ann Corbett and Nausheen Eusuf


Fiction
Saturday 10:00 AM
Central Congregational Church Sanctuary

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Trust Me

Hank Phillippi Ryan—you know her from her 34 Emmy-winning career in journalism at Boston’s WHDH-TV. But she’s also a nationally bestselling and award wining author—and her 10th thriller, TRUST ME is now an Agatha Award nominee.

One obsessed journalist. One troubled mom. Two smart women facing off in a high-stakes psychological cat and mouse game to prove their truth about a terrible crime. But which is the cat? And which one is the mouse?

There are three sides to every story. Yours. Mine. And the truth.

Trust Me is a chilling standalone novel of psychological suspense and manipulation–and a gripping examination of how journalists report the truth. It was named best of the year by BookBub, PopSugar, Real Simple Magazine, Criminal Element and The New York Post.

Presenter: Hank Phillippi Ryan


Nonfiction
Saturday 10:00 AM
City Hall

Eric Dolin

Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates

Set against the backdrop of the Age of Exploration, Black Flags, Blue Waters reveals the dramatic and surprising history of American piracy’s “Golden Age”—spanning the late 1600s through the early 1700s—when lawless pirates plied the coastal waters of North America and the Indian Ocean. In this talk and slide presentation, bestselling author Eric Jay Dolin illustrates how American colonists at first supported these outrageous pirates in an early display of colonial solidarity against the Crown, and then violently opposed them. Dolin depicts the star pirates of this period, among them towering Blackbeard, ill-fated Captain Kidd, and sadistic Edward Low, who delighted in torturing his prey. Upending popular misconceptions and cartoonish stereotypes, Black Flags, Blue Waters provides a wholly original account of the seafaring outlaws whose raids reflect the precarious nature of American colonial life.

Presenter: Eric Jay Dolin


Nonfiction
Saturday 10:00 AM
Newburyport Art Association

James Sullivan

Which Side Are You On?: 20th Century American History in 100 Protest Songs

“Protest” music is largely perceived as an unsubtle art form, a topical brand of songwriting that preaches to the converted. But popular music of all types has long given listeners food for thought. Fifty years before Vietnam, before the United States entered World War I, some of the most popular sheet music in the country featured anti-war tunes.

In Which Side Are You On, author James Sullivan delivers a lively anecdotal history of the progressive movements that have shaped the growth of the United States, and the songs that have accompanied and defined them. Covering one hundred years of social conflict and progress across the twentieth century and into the early years of the twenty-first, Sullivan reveals how protest songs have given voice to the needs and challenges of a nation and asked its citizens to take a stand—asking the question “Which side are you on?”

Presenter: James Sullivan


Fiction
Saturday 10:00 AM
Jabberwocky Bookshop

Louise Miller

The Late Bloomers Club

Nora, the owner of the Miss Guthrie Diner, is perfectly happy serving up apple cider donuts, coffee, and eggs-any-way-you-like-em to her regulars. But her life is soon shaken when she discovers she and her free-spirited, younger sister Kit stand to inherit the home and land of the town’s beloved cake lady, Peggy Johnson. Peggy was in the process of selling the land to a big-box developer before her death. Now the people of Guthrie are divided—some want the opportunities the development will bring, while others are staunchly against any change—and they aren’t afraid to leave their opinions with their tips. Time is running out, and the sisters need to make a decision soon. When a disaster strikes the diner, the community of Guthrie bands together to help her, and Nora discovers that doing the right thing doesn’t always mean giving up your dreams.

Presenters: Louise Miller


Fiction
Saturday 10:00 AM
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

Monica Duncan

Debut Novel Preview: Twine

Newburyport author Monica Duncan gives our festival audience a sneak peek at her upcoming debut novel, Twine. When Juniper Kowalski—a mediocre artist and graduate of one of the best art schools in the country—gets pregnant by her married lover, she ends up back in Gobles, Michigan, living in her dead grandma’s trailer. She fears that her new life as a hotel maid, and as the best friend of a call girl, has fulfilled some bleak fate. But Juniper’s pregnancy also ignites a will to create. Every hurt that she’s ever suffered begins to emerge as confrontational, public art. Twine celebrates a quietly radical view of small-town life, ambition, and motherhood. It is the story of a young woman who needs no hero, and what she does when he shows up anyway.

Presenter: Monica Duncan


Nonfiction
Saturday 10:00 AM
Program Room, Newburyport Public Library

Julie Dobrow

After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet

Despite Emily Dickinson’s world renown, the story of the two women most responsible for her initial posthumous publication―Mabel Loomis Todd and her daughter, Millicent Todd Bingham―has remained in the shadows of the archives. A rich and compelling portrait of women who refused to be confined by the social mores of their era, After Emily explores Mabel and Millicent’s complex bond, as well as the powerful literary legacy they shared.

Presenters: Julie Dobrow


Fiction
Saturday 10:30 AM
Firehouse Center for the Arts

William Martin

Bound for Gold

Bound for Gold features the return of modern-day treasure hunters Peter Fallon and Evangeline Carrington. This time, they are heading for San Francisco to reconstruct a Gold Rush journal that may locate an ancient river of gold. As they search grows more dangerous, the journal itself comes to life, telling a grand tale of adventure and romance, of racism and greed in the first American melting pot—Gold Rush California. Mr. Martin will show us images from his research that helped fire his imagination, take us into that amazing world of 1849, and illuminate this seminal event in our history.

Presenter: William Martin


Fiction
Saturday 10:30 AM
Old South Church
The Art of the Short Story

Award-winning author Russell Banks, whose short story collections include The Angel on the Roof and A Permanent Member of the Family, will read one of his pieces, adding both commentary and conversation. He and Steve Yarbrough (The Unmade World, The Oxygen Man) will discuss a range of topics, from the difference between writing short stories and novels (or even opera librettos) to the process of adapting short stories to film. Banks is a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize whose work has been translated into 20 languages. Yarbrough is a professor at Emerson College and has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner award.

Presenter: Russell Banks  
Moderator:
Steve Yarbrough


Nonfiction
Saturday 10:30 AM
Old South Church – Social Hall
The Last Temptation of Rick Pitino From acclaimed New York Times Magazine author Michael Sokolove comes the incredible inside story of the epic corruption scandal that rocked the NCAA and exposed the rot and hypocrisy at the heart of big-time college sports. Sokolove lifts the rug on the Louisville scandal and places it in the context of the much wider problem, the farce of amateurism in big time college sports.

Presenter: Michael Sokolove  
Moderator:
Drew Hendrickson


Nonfiction
Saturday 10:30 AM
Unitarian Universalist Church

Joyce Maynard

The Best of Us

In 2011, when she was in her late fifties, beloved author and journalist Joyce Maynard met the first true partner she had ever known. He was not the husband Joyce imagined, but he quickly became the partner she had always dreamed of. Before they met, both had believed they were done with marriage, and even after they married, Joyce resolved that no one could alter her course of determined independence. Then, just after their one-year wedding anniversary, her new husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. During the nineteen months that followed, as they battled his illness together, she discovered for the first time what it really meant to be a couple–to be a true partner and to have one. The Best of Us is a heart-wrenching, ultimately life-affirming reflection on coming to understand true love through the experience of great loss.

Presenter: Joyce Maynard


Poetry
Saturday 11:00 AM
Central Congregational Church Social Hall
The Poetry of January O’Neil & Ned Balbo

“The world is too much with us,” but ultra-contemporary poets January O’Neil and Ned Balbo have not turned their backs on it. Their poems make room for tattooed girls and young men in grey hoodies, reruns of Star Trek, LSD, and Wikileaks, hospital corridors and crab cake recipes and smart TVs. Here you’ll find elegies for Prince and David Bowie and odes to brownies for Sunday breakfast. And family: imagined and real, close-knit, and departing. Somehow, in the middle of so much stuff, a space is cleared for these poems to become “vessels of almost uncontainable longing” where—always—“there is that question of how to love.”

Presenters: January O’Neil and Ned Balbo


Nonfiction
Saturday 11:00 AM
Central Congregational Church Sanctuary

Linda Hirshman

Herstory and Hashtags: the Voice of an Ongoing Social Movement

Linda Hirshman is a definitive voice of the Women’s Movement, parts of which she chronicles in Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World and the upcoming Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment. In these and her earlier books, the author—also a professor and lawyer—details the enormous efforts of trailblazing women advancing equality for women in the workplace and beyond. Join her in conversation about breaking the glass ceiling of the nation’s highest court and the struggle of the #MeToo movement.

Presenter: Linda Hirshman


Nonfiction
Saturday 11:00 AM
Newburyport Art Association

Emily Bernard

Black is the Body: Stories of My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time and Mine

Emily Bernard’s storytelling begins with a stabbing in a New England college town. Bernard writes how, when she was a graduate student at Yale, she walked into a coffee shop and, along with six other people, was randomly attacked by a stranger with a knife. “I was not stabbed because I was black,” she writes (the attacker was white), “but I have always viewed the violence I survived as a metaphor for the violent encounter that has generally characterized American race relations. There was no connection between us, yet we were suddenly and irreparably bound by a knife, an attachment that cost us both: him, his freedom; me, my wholeness.”

This is an extraordinary, exquisitely written memoir (of sorts) that looks at race—in a fearless, penetrating, honest, true way—in twelve telltale, connected, deeply personal essays. Bernard explores the complexities and paradoxes, as well as the haunting memories and ambushing realities, of growing up black in the South with a family name inherited from a white man, of getting a PhD from Yale, of marrying a white man from the North, of adopting two babies from Ethiopia, of teaching at a white college, and of living in New England today.

Presenter: Emily Bernard


Nonfiction
Saturday 11:00 AM
City Hall

Dyke Hendrickson

New England Coast Guard Stories: Remarkable Mariners

In 1790, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton received approval from President George Washington to fund a fleet of “revenue cutters” that could halt smuggling and collect taxes in U.S. waters. Today, from northern Maine to southern Connecticut, the Coast Guard provides the might and the oversight to ensure that coastlines are safe and navigable. From frigid icebreaking and harrowing rescues to the global war on terror, the service plays a unique role in the region. Author Dyke Hendrickson profiles the varied careers and contributions of these brave men and women in his new book, New England Coast Guard Stories: Remarkable Mariners.

Presenters: Dyke Hendrickson


Fiction
Saturday 11:00 AM
Jabberwocky Bookshop

Peter Orner

Preview of Maggie Brown and Others

Peter Orner has won the California Book Award (Love and Shame and Love), the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Writing (Esther Stories) and has been a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway Award (Esther Stories) and the Los Angeles Times Book Award (The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo). He’s back in Newburyport this weekend to preview his upcoming book of stories, Maggie Brown and Others.

Presenters: Peter Orner


Fiction
Saturday 11:00 AM
Greek Church

Donna Russo Morin

Gilded Summers

Two girls, Pearl and Ginevra, grow up in the singular moment known as the Gilded Age in Newport, Rhode Island—one lives above the stairs, the other below. These two young women must decide who they want to be in this world, and survive what it takes to get there…even if it includes murder. Going behind the façade of this glittering era, Gilded Summers is a gripping, richly detailed story of friendship, prejudice, and life-altering choices. This is compulsory reading for fans of Downton Abbey!

Presenters: Donna Russo Morin


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

Elisabeth Elo

Finding Katarina M.

Writing a thriller is challenging—but what if the story is set in Siberia? Boston author Elisabeth Elo travelled to Siberia and stayed with a host family to research her latest thriller. That researched paid off—Hank Phillippi Ryan calls Finding Katarina M “gripping, powerful and chillingly realistic.” Join Elisabeth to hear the story as well as the story behind the story of Finding Katarina M.

Presenters: Elisabeth Elo


Nonfiction
Saturday 12:00 PM
City Hall

Lee Mandel

Sterling Hayden’s Wars

Sterling Hayden’s Wars is the authorized biography of the late film star, author, and war hero Sterling Hayden. A master sailor as a teenager, his good looks allowed him to become a major movie star overnight despite no training as an actor. After making two films, he walked away from Hollywood and trained as a commando in Europe, serving with the OSS during World War II. His admiration for the communist partisans led to his brief membership in the Communist Party after the war and this came back to haunt him at the ‘Red Hearings’ in 1951 where he became the first star to ‘name names.’ His career flourished as his second marriage collapsed, culminating in his kidnapping of his four children for a voyage to Tahiti. As he struggled with alcoholism and substance abuse, he managed to write two international bestsellers as well as transition to character actor. His life was, metaphorically, a series of wars, the toughest of which was the war that Sterling Hayden fought with himself.

Presenters: Lee Mandel


Poetry
Saturday 1:00 PM
Central Congregational Church Social Hall
The Poetry of Daniel Hall & Mary Jo Salter

It’s no wonder that these two distinguished poets are also distinguished teachers of poetry, Daniel Hall at Amherst College and Mary Jo Salter at Johns Hopkins. Each of them is a consummate craftsperson, and both seem to embody the ancient idea of sprezzatura, choosing “to avoid affectation in every way,” perfecting their art by making it appear to occur naturally and without effort. This is poetry that rewards our attention without clamoring for it. As in a clear night’s sky, we’re offered much to marvel at.

Presenters: Daniel Hall and Mary Jo Salter


Fiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Central Congregational Church Sanctuary

Andre Dubus III

Gone So Long

Daniel Ahearn lives a quiet, solitary existence in a seaside New England town. Forty years ago, following a shocking act of impulsive violence on his part, his daughter, Susan, was ripped from his arms by police. Now in her forties, Susan still suffers from the trauma of a night she doesn’t remember, as she struggles to feel settled, to love a man and create something that lasts. Cathartic, affirming, and steeped in the empathy and precise observations of character for which Dubus is celebrated, Gone So Long explores how the wounds of the past afflict the people we become, and probes the limits of recovery and absolution.

Presenter: Andre Dubus III


Fiction/Nonfiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Firehouse Center for the Arts

Visionary Women: a History, a Novel and a Memoir

Three authors tell the stories of women who forged their own way in the world, each in a different format.

Andrea Barnet reintroduces readers to four icons in Visionary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters Changed Our World. With a journalist’s eye for detail, Barnet recounts how these renegades’ work altered the way we think about the environment, cities, animals, and food.

In The Age of Light, Whitney Scharer delves into the life of American photographer Lee Miller. This fictionalized account follows Lee, a former model, from her perch in front of the camera to behind to lens. Her life in Paris, her artistic journey, and her relationship with Surrealist Man Ray are vividly captured in this debut novel.

Masoumeh “Masih” Alinejad-Ghomi’s memoir outlines her own struggles within the society into which she was born. A native of Iran, Alinejad-Ghomi sparked a social-media movement, “My Stealthy Freedom,” by appearing in a photograph without her hijab. She chronicles this, her childhood, and her separation from her son because of Donald Trump’s notorious immigration ban in The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran.

Presenters: Masih Alinejad-Ghomi, Andrea Barnet, Whitney Scharer,
Moderator: Leslie Hendrickson


Nonfiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Old South Church

Elaine Weiss

The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote

Nashville, August 1920. Thirty-five states have ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, twelve have rejected or refused to vote, and one last state is needed. It all comes down to Tennessee, the moment of truth for the suffragists, after a seven-decade crusade. The opposing forces include politicians with careers at stake, liquor companies, railroad magnates, and a lot of racists who don’t want black women voting. And then there are the “Antis”—women who oppose their own enfranchisement, fearing suffrage will bring about the moral collapse of the nation. They all converge in a boiling hot summer for a vicious face-off replete with dirty tricks, betrayals and bribes, bigotry, Jack Daniel’s, and the Bible. The Woman’s Hour is an inspiring story of activists winning their own freedom in one of the last campaigns forged in the shadow of the Civil War, and the beginning of the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights.

“Both a page-turning drama and an inspiration for every reader.”—Hillary Rodham Clinton

Presenter: Elaine Weiss


YA/Fiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Old South Church – Social Hall
Bringing WWII to Life for the Next Generation

For many years Young Adult bestsellers have centered around wizards and dystopia. But a new wave of YA literature is bringing historical fiction—and WWII in particular—back to the top of our TBRs.

The festival welcomes two award-winning YA authors who approach this topic with very different styles. Tara Masih’s novel My Real Name is Hannah, is a powerful look at the impact of Hitler’s regime on a Jewish family in the Ukraine.

Kip Wilson’s lyrical White Rose is a novel written in verse about young anti-Nazi political activist Sophie Scholl.

Both novels are based on real life events, reminding readers of all ages of the struggles and tragedies of real people during one of history’s darkest hours.

Presenters: Tara Masih, Kip Wilson  
Moderator:
Cara Marsh


Fiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church
When One is Not Enough: Why a historical-fiction series keep us coming back for more!

Join a discussion by three award-winning historical novelists on the art of writing a series. Whether it’s one character’s journey in several books as with Patricia Bracewell’s Emma of Normandy trilogy; different characters’ perspectives from the same York family in Anne Easter Smith’s series set in the Wars of the Roses; or the intrigues of Donna Russo Morin’s fascinating women artists of 15th century Florence in her Da Vinci Disciples trilogy, crafting a series can be fun but complex. Each book must stand alone and yet a reader should want to pick up the next one.

Presenters: Patricia Bracewell, Donna Russo, Anne Easter Smith
Moderator: Edith Maxwell


Fiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Newburyport Art Association

Edwin Hill

Little Comfort

In a brilliantly twisted debut set among Boston’s elite, Edwin Hill introduces unforgettable sleuth Hester Thursby—and a missing persons case that uncovers a trail of vicious murder. Nominated for a 2018 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, Little Comfort is “…a chilling psychological thriller with an unusual heroine and a page0turning storyline.” –Kirkus Reviews

Presenter: Edwin Hill


Nonfiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
City Hall

Bethany Groff Dorau

Eben Inspires: A Newburyport Marine and a Year of Remembrance

A century after his death in the Battle of Belleau Wood in June 1918, Marine Corps private and Newburyport native son Eben “Bunny” Bradbury has inspired art, literature, music, and acts of kindness. Newburyport’s own traditional music singers, The Portermen, join author Bethany Groff Dorau and photographer Cynthia August as they celebrate the remarkable story of how this ordinary young man returned to his hometown through long-lost letters, diaries, and photographs.

Presenter: Bethany Groff Dorau


Fiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Jabberwocky Bookshop

Sam Graham-Felsen

Green

Green is a coming-of-age novel about race, privilege, and the struggle to rise in America propelled by an exuberant, unforgettable narrator. Green is a compelling debut from Boston born Sam Graham-Felsen who worked as chief blogger for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. Come hear Graham-Felsen talk about the book The Boston Globe calls “a riot of language that’s part hip-hop, part nerd boy, and part pure imagination.”

Presenter: Sam Graham-Felsen


Nonfiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Greek Church

Jane Brox

Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives

Through her evocative intertwined histories of the penitentiary and the monastery, Jane Brox illuminates the many ways silence has influenced ideas of the self, soul, and society. Brox traces its place as a transformative power in the monastic world from Medieval Europe to the very public life of twentieth century monk Thomas Merton, whose love for silence deepened even as he faced his obligation to speak out against war. This fascinating history of ideas also explores the influence the monastic cell had on one of society’s darkest experiments in silence: Eastern State Penitentiary. Brox’s rich exploration of silence’s complex and competing meanings leads us to imagine how we might navigate our own relationship with silence today, for the transformation it has always promised, in our own lives.

Presenter: Jane Brox


Fiction
Saturday 1:00 PM
Program Room, Newburyport Public Library

Lynda Cohen Loigman

The Wartime Sisters

Lynda Cohen Loigman presents her latest powerful historical novel about the strength of women on the World War II home front. Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.

Presenter: Lynda Cohen Loigman


Poetry
Saturday 2:00 PM
Central Congregational Church Social Hall
The Poetry of Major Jackson & Sydney Lea

Besides the state in which they reside, what these two Vermont poets have most in common is, paradoxically, what sets them apart. They don’t sound anything like each other—nor does either of them sound much like anyone else. “The poetry Major Jackson offers us…sounds different from any other being written today,” writes one reviewer. “The truth is, no one writes—or has written—like Sydney Lea, except maybe E. A. Robinson,” writes another. Here are two unique and original voices in contemporary American poetry.

Presenters: Major Jackson and Sydney Lea


Nonfiction
Saturday 2:00 PM
City Hall

Slavery and the Making of the Early American Library

Early American libraries stood at the confluence of two transatlantic branches of commerce—the book trade and the slave trade. Slavery and the Making of Early American Libraries bridges the study of these trades by demonstrating how Americans’ profits from slavery were reinvested in imported British books and providing evidence that the colonial book market was shaped, in part, by the demand of slave owners for European literature. It makes these claims on the basis of recent scholarship on how participation in London cultural life was very expensive in the eighteenth century, and evidence that enslavers were therefore some of the few early Americans who could afford importing British cultural products like books. In doing so, this work merges the fields of the history of the book, Atlantic studies, and the study of race, arguing that the empire-wide circulation of British books was underwritten by the labor of the African diaspora. This book, accordingly, is the first in early American and eighteenth-century British studies to fuse our growing understanding of the transatlantic market in books with our awareness of slavery as an economic and philanthropic basis for the production and consumption of knowledge. In studying the American circulation of works of British literature and political thought, this book claims that Americans were seeking out the forms of civic engagement, constitutional traditions, and rights that were the signature of that British identity. Even though they were purchasing the sovereignty of Anglo-Americans at the expense of African-Americans through these books, however, some colonials were also making the case for the abolition of slavery.

Presenter: Sean Moore


Nonfiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Central Congregational Church Sanctuary

A Father’s Story: The Legacy of Andre Dubus II

“Dubus is the sort of writer who instructs the heart,” the Atlantic Monthly once wrote. No one knows this more than local novelist Andre Dubus III (Gone So Long, Townie, House of Sand and Fog). His father’s short stories have recently been re-released by their original publisher, David R. Godine. The new collection spans the work of the “writer’s writer” from the 1960s through the 1990s, and has sparked a rediscovery of the late author’s oeuvre. His son enters the discussion with fellow short story writer and essayist Peter Orner (Am I Alone Here?, Esther Stories). The two will delve into Dubus II’s work, how it has influenced their own and how their thoughts on it have evolved in revisiting the master’s “frank and inquisitive stories.”

Presenters: Andre Dubus III and Peter Orner


Fiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Firehouse Center for the Arts
Clues and the Clueless: Mystery Writers Talk About How Much Can Be Divulged—And When

The Mystery Panel is always a festival favorite and this year will be no exception. The key to these novels is giving the reader enough to form theories but keeping them guessing until the end. How much can you divulge along the way? Dyke Hendrickson and our panel of award-winning and debut mystery novelists will reveal all!

Presenter: Elisabeth Elo, Edwin Hill, Hank Phillippi Ryan  
Moderator:
Dyke Hendrickson


Nonfiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Old South Church
Sex Money Murder: A Story of Crack, Blood, and Betrayal

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Bronx had one of the highest per capita murder rates in the country. The use of crack cocaine surged, replacing heroin as the high of choice. Drug dealers claimed territory through intimidation and murder, and families found themselves fractured by crime and incarceration. Chronicling the rise and fall of Sex Money Murder, one of the most notorious gangs of its era, reporter Jonathan Green creates a visceral and devastating portrait of a New York City borough, and the dedicated detectives and prosecutors struggling to stop the tide of violence.

Drawing on years of research and extraordinary access to gang leaders, law enforcement, and federal prosecutors, Green delivers an epic character-driven narrative and an engrossing work of gritty urban reportage. Sex Money Murder offers a unique perspective on the violence raging in modern-day America and the battle to end it.

Presenters: Jonathan Green
Moderator: Lou Ureneck


Nonfiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Old South Social Hall

George Howe Colt

The Game: Harvard, Yale and America in 1968

On November 23, 1968, there was a turbulent and memorable football game: the season-ending clash between Harvard and Yale. The final score was 29-29. To some of the players, it was a triumph; to others a tragedy. And to many, the reasons had as much to do with one side’s miraculous comeback in the game’s final forty-two seconds as it did with the months that preceded it, months that witnessed the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, police brutality at the Democratic National Convention, inner-city riots, campus takeovers, and, looming over everything, the war in Vietnam.

George Howe Colt’s The Game is the story of that iconic American year, as seen through the young men who lived it and were changed by it. One player had recently returned from Vietnam. Two were members of the radical antiwar group SDS. There was one NFL prospect who quit to devote his time to black altruism; another who went on to be Pro-Bowler Calvin Hill. There was a guard named Tommy Lee Jones, and fullback who dated a young Meryl Streep. They played side by side and together forged a moment of startling grace in the midst of the storm.

Presenter: George Howe Colt


Fiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church
A Readable Feast: Food in Fiction

Food can bring comfort, fill a void, demonstrate affection, or signal a disorder. In literature, food can reveal a character’s background, symbolize class, or foreshadow a character’s fate. Join a discussion with three of our festival authors who satisfy our hunger for food driven fiction.

Presenter: Jenna Blum, Louise Miller, Miriam Parker  
Moderator:
Christina Koliander


Fiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Newburyport Art Association

Meghan Maclean Weir

The Book of Essie

Finalist for the 2018 New England Book Award, The Book of Essie is a captivating novel of family, fame, and religion. This is the story of the seventeen-year-old daughter of an evangelical preacher, star of the family’s hit reality show, and the secret pregnancy that threatens to blow their entire world apart. “Every once in a while, a novel comes along that is both timelessly beautiful and unbelievably timely. The Book of Essie is such a story. Meghan MacLean Weir has given us a young heroine who is at once authentic and courageous—and a tale that is wonderful and mysterious and relentlessly surprising.” —Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of Midwives

Presenter: Megan Maclean Weir


Fiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Jabberwocky Bookshop

Sarah St. Vincent

Ways to Hide in Winter

After surviving a life-altering accident at twenty-two, Kathleen recuperates by retreating to a remote campground lodge in a state park, where she works flipping burgers for deer hunters and hikers—happy, she insists, to be left alone. But when a hesitant, heavily accented stranger appears in the dead of winter—seemingly out of nowhere, kicking snow from his flimsy dress shoes—the wary Kathleen is intrigued, despite herself. He says he’s a student from Uzbekistan. To her he seems shell-shocked, clearly hiding from something that terrifies him. And as she becomes absorbed in his secrets, she’s forced to confront her own—even as her awareness of being in danger grows…

Presenter: Sarah St. Vincent


Nonfiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Greek Church

Aine Greaney

Green Card and Other Essays

Local author Aine Greaney’s latest book is a humorous and timely commentary for our times. These first-person essays offer an intimate perspective on the challenges – fear, displacement, assimilation, and dueling identities–faced by many immigrants from all countries.

Presenter: Aine Greaney


Nonfiction
Saturday 2:30 PM
Program Room, Newburyport Public Library

Dawn Raffel

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney is the true story of the mysterious “doctor” who saved thousands of premature infants—by placing them in incubator sideshows on the boardwalks of Coney Island and Atlantic City in the early 20th Century. (He also had an outpost in Revere.) During this time, hospitals offered scant care for tiny preemies, who were mostly doomed to die. Working in the shadow of eugenics, this larger-than-life showman fought the medical establishment and is the hidden father of American neonatology. The Strange Case of Dr. Couney has recently won a Christopher Award! The award, now in its 70th year, is “to celebrate writers, producers, directors, authors and illustrators whose work affirms the highest values of the human spirit.” This will be a visual presentation with jaw-dropping archival photos and a few goodie bag prizes for audience members who can correctly answer some tricky historical questions.

Presenter: Dawn Raffel


Poetry
Saturday 3:00 PM
Central Congregational Church Social Hall
The Poetry of Rhina P. Espaillat & David Ferry

Biographies of famous poets sometimes leave us with the impression that poetic talent and decent behavior may be inversely proportional. That’s not the case with Rhina P. Espaillat and David Ferry, two of America’s finest poets, whose poetic visions are extensions of their personalities. Ferry, who volunteered for years at a diner for street people, gives voice to the homeless and isolated in his poems. The poems of Espaillat, whose kitchen table has been the site of so many creative collaborations, envision humanity as “one single family.”

Presenters: Rhina P. Espaillat and David Ferry


Fiction
Saturday 4:00 PM
Program Room, Newburyport Public Library

Jane Healey

The Beantown Girls

An Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller, The Beantown Girls is based on the true stories of the Red Cross clubmobile girls in the European theater of operations in WWII. In the latter part of WWII, the morale of the U.S. military was so low, the Red Cross came up with the idea of Red Cross clubs on wheels (aka clubmobiles) staffed by American girls who could bring “a bit of home” to the front lines of the war. The Beantown Girls is based on the remarkable true tales shared by the real Red Cross clubmobile girls through their letters, diaries and memoirs. Their bravery, compassion, strength and sense of humor in the face of constant danger was nothing short of extraordinary.

The story follows Fiona, Viv and Dottie, three friends from Boston, who are chosen as clubmobile girls for their inner strength and outer charm. The trio is not prepared for the daunting challenges of war, and they face many unforeseen dangers. But their life as clubmobile girls also leads to new friendships and romances, as well as unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives.

Presenter: Jane Healey


YA/Fiction
Saturday 4:00 PM
Newburyport Art Association

Tara Lynn Masih

My Real Name is Hanna

Inspired by real Holocaust events, this poignant debut novel is a powerful coming-of-age story. Hanna Slivka is on the cusp of fourteen when Hitler’s army crosses the border into Soviet-occupied Ukraine. Soon, the Gestapo closes in, determined to make the shtetele she lives in “free of Jews.” She and her family are forced to flee and hide in the forest outside their shtetele—and then in the dark caves beneath the rolling meadows, rumored to harbor evil spirits.

When Hanna’s father disappears, suddenly it’s up to Hanna to find him—and to find a way to keep the rest of her family, and friends, alive. A Skipping Stones Honor Award book, My Real Name is Hanna is a young adult novel that resonates with readers of any age.

Presenter: Tara Masih


Nonfiction
Saturday 4:00 PM
Jabberwocky Bookshop

Anne Fadiman

The Wine-Lover’s Daughter: A Memoir

In The Wine Lover’s Daughter, award-winning author, Anne Fadiman, examines her relationship with her father, Clifton Fadiman, a renowned literary critic, editor, and radio host whose greatest love was wine. It traces the arc of a man’s infatuation from the glass of cheap Graves he drank in Paris in 1927 through the Château Lafite-Rothschild 1904 he drank to celebrate his eightieth birthday—when he and the bottle were exactly the same age—to the wines that sustained him in his last years, when he was blind but still buoyed, as always, by hedonism.

Presenter: Anne Fadiman


Saturday 7:00 PM
Firehouse Center for the Arts
Closing Ceremony:
Book, Line, and Sinker: How Book Lovers Get Hooked on Clubs

On Saturday night, April 27, 2019, the Newburyport Literary Festival will be honoring book clubs with a special panel event featuring selected members from local book clubs talking about the books they’ve discussed over the years. Inspired by PBS, Great American Reads, we asked you for the books that generated the best discussion and had the greatest impact on your life. We’ll talk about those books, your book club experiences and more. Be sure to join this interactive evening event!

Presenters: Jean Lambert, Ellie Hope McCarthy, Jana Navratil, Doris Noyes, Earle M. Ray III  
Moderator:
Bethany Groff Dorau


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