Event Descriptions

Readings and Events


7:00 – 9:00 pm: Film, To Kill a Mockingbird (Brooks Memorial Library) Festival-affiliated event

This 1962 black-and-white classic, based on Harper Lee’s best-selling book of the same title, stars Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South who defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge and does his best to help his children navigate small-town bigotry. On Sunday, BUHS English Chair Nancy Olson will lead a discussion about both the movie and the book at the Festival’s culminating Vermont Reads event.

7:00 – 8:30 pm: Collaborations Between Video Artists & Writers (Center for Digital Arts at Cotton Mill Hill) Festival-affiliated event

The Center for Digital Arts and Write Action present an evening of video art projections exploring the intersection of language/text/poetry and moving images. The program will feature individual works inspired by the writing of local authors. Collaborating videographers and writers follow, with the videographers in each collaboration named first: Michel Moyse with A. A. Burrows; Michael Hanish with Jim Kates and Bill Pearson; Humberto Ramirez with Arlene Distler; Robert O’Connor and Ashley Watson with Tamsin Whitehead and sound artist Matt Page; Jen Morris with Emily Anderson; Norton Garber with Tom Ragle, whose pen name is Lee Bramble; and Kathy Couch with Haiku Analog, a group composed of Kathy Couch (visual artist, writer, and performer), Katherine Ferrier (poet, choreographer, and performer), and Vicki Brown (musician and sound artist).


7:00 – 8:30 pm: Film, Hey Boo (Brattleboro Union High School) Festival-affiliated event

Harper Lee’s first and only novel turned fifty in 2010, and the author hasn’t given an interview since 1964. In a series of interviews with Scott Turow, James McBride, Wally Lamb, Rosanne Cash, Anna Quindlen, Oprah Winfrey, and Tom Brokaw, and with rare cooperation from Harper Lee’s sister and friends, documentarian Mary Murphy traces the history of an astonishing phenomenon. Discussion will follow at Sunday’s Vermont Reads event.






7:00 – 9:30 pm: Landmark Poetry Slam & poet Lenelle Moïse (Landmark College in Putney) Festival-affiliated event

Landmark College students take their hearts and souls and voices to the microphone in their fall-semester Poetry Slam, held in the Student Center Room; and guest judge Lenelle Moïse, the current Poet Laureate of Northampton, performs her poems at 8:30 pm. Moïse’s powerful and inspiring work explores the intersection of race, class, gender, spirit, and sexuality in a dynamic spoken-word performance. For more information, e-mail llewis@landmark.edu. Moïse will also be appearing Saturday night in Brattleboro (see page 17). 






1:00 – 2:00 pm: Arches, Anatomy, and Avian Antics – David Macaulay (Latchis Theatre) School event

David Macaulay has a unique way of seeing and explaining the world. Fascinated with the way things work, he uses his curiosity, visual artistry, and lucid writing style to illuminate and share complex concepts with people of all ages. This multimedia presentation for students explores a range of his interests, from medieval castles to a pigeon’s-eye-view of the world, from the important work our noses do to the infrastructure under our cities. His most recent book is Built to Last. David Macaulay is the internationally acclaimed author and illustrator of twenty-five books, including The Way Things Work, The Way We Work, Cathedral, Pyramid, and Unbuilding. Notable for his exceptional pen-and-ink illustrations, his sly humor, and his ingenious explanations of architectural, engineering, and anatomical wonders, Macaulay is the recipient of many awards, among them a Caldecott Medal and a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. He lives in Norwich, Vermont. 





6:00 – 7:00 pm: The Woman I Kept to Myself- Julia Alvarez (First Baptist Church)

Having spent the majority of her life in the United States, Julia Alvarez considers herself an American foremost, yet her writing bridges the realms of American and Latin American culture. Many of her stories can be traced to her Dominican roots, and her work voices a broad range of the problems and concerns of immigrants. She will read a selected sampling of her work: poems from the just-released paperback The Woman I Kept to Myself and from her Tia Lola series for children, a sampling that captures her life as a reader and writer, as well as her family’s immigrant experience. Julia Alvarez is a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College. In addition to her five collections of poetry and her Tia Lola series for younger readers, she is the author of five books of fiction, including How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies, as well as a book of essays and the young adult novel Return to Sender. Her honors include being a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, winning the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature, and being named Latina magazine’s “Woman of the Year.”










7:30 – 8:30 pm: Queen of America – Luis Alberto Urrea (First Baptist Church)

Luis Alberto Urrea heard many fantastical stories about his great-aunt when he was growing up, but it wasn’t until much later that he began to realize those stories might be true. For twenty years he researched Teresita Urrea, still revered in parts of Mexico as a healer and a saint, and then he chose historical fiction as the best way to recount her childhood and adolescence in The Hummingbird’s Daughter. The upcoming sequel, Queen of America, continues Teresita’s remarkable story as she ministers to pilgrims and flees from assassins during her exile in the United States. Luis Alberto Urrea, born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and an American mother, is also the author of Across the Wire, By the Lake of Sleeping Children, Into the Beautiful North, and the graphic novel Mr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush. The Devil’s Highway, the story of a group of illegal immigrants, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, and his fiction, poetry, and journalism have been recognized with many other awards. Queen of America will be available for purchase in December of 2011. Urrea is a professor at the University of Illinois.








7:30 – 8:30 pm: Fire to Fire: Mark Doty (Centre Congregational Church)

Mark Doty’s Fire to Fire, winner of the 2008 National Book Award, collects the best of his seven books and adds to that a generous selection of new work. Here his subjects—our mortal situation, the evanescent beauty of the world, desire’s transformative power, and art’s ability to give shape to human lives—echo and develop across a two-decade-long career. Doty is the only American poet to have received the T. S. Eliot Prize in the United Kingdom. Mark Doty is the author of eight books of poems, including School of the Arts, Source, and My Alexandria, and he has published four volumes of nonfiction prose as well. His numerous awards include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, two Lambda Literary Awards, the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.










10:00 – 11:15 am: Wait Wait… Roy Blount Jr. & Tom Bodett (Latchis Theatre)

Humorists and NPR personalities Tom Bodett and Roy Blount Jr. have been entertaining audiences for years. Each week, two million listeners tune in to NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! to test their knowledge of the current news. Join us as Roy and Tom interview each other and answer audience questions about their books, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Roy’s life as a sports writer and rock star, and Tom’s life as a Clio Award–winner and the most famous homebuilder in Homer, Alaska. Roy Blount Jr. is the author of twenty books, including Alphabet Juice; Hail, Hail Euphoria; and his new book, Alphabetter Juice. A former president of the Authors Guild, Blount is a humorist, novelist, journalist, dramatist, lyricist, lecturer, reviewer, screenwriter, anthologist, and columnist. He is a member of the most literary band in America, the Rock Bottom Remainders, who perform to raise money for charity, and he is a panelist on the NPR news quiz show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Tom Bodett lived in Alaska for twenty-five years before leaving a promising career building houses to become a writer and, subsequently, a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered. The author of seven books, he has also written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Redbook. His voice has been heard on Saturday Night Live, National Geographic Explorer, and Steven Spielberg’s Animaniacs. Bodett is a panelist on the NPR news quiz show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! He will leave the light on for you.





11:30 am – 12:45 pm: Memory and Invention – Teju Cole & Anthony Doerr (Centre Congregational Church)

Over the course of a life, memory shifts with time and perspective. Teju Cole’s extraordinary book Open City features a young graduate student who spends his free time walking all over Manhattan, observing city life and relating it to his own memories and to his African boyhood. Anthony Doerr’s collection of interlinked stories, Memory Wall, is a significant testimony to both the weight of memories and to the dislocation that results from their loss. These stories come from all over—South Africa, Germany, Lithuania, China, and several parts of the United States.Teju Cole was born to Nigerian parents and grew up in Lagos. At fifteen, Cole published cartoons regularly in Prime People, Nigeria’s version of Vanity Fair, and two years later he moved to the United States. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books: Every Day Is for the Thief, a novella illustrated with his photographs, and Open City. In 2010, he was named by the New Yorker as one of the “20 Under 40” writers to watch this decade. He is working on his PhD in art history. Anthony Doerr was born in Cleveland and has lived in Africa, New Zealand, and Italy. He is the author of the short-story collections The Shell Collector and Memory Wall, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World. He has been awarded the Rome Prize, the Discover Prize, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, two O. Henry Prizes, and the 2010 Story Prize. In 2007, the British literary magazine Granta placed Doerr on its list of 21 Best Young American Novelists.







11:30 am – 12:30 pm: The Way Things Work – David Macaulay (Hooker-Dunham Theater) Family event

David Macaulay is fascinated with the way things work, from architectural, engineering, and technological feats to the anatomical wonders of the human body. He invites his audience to experience how he sees and interprets the world in this lively slide presentation for readers of all ages. Relying upon extensive research, he uses his artistic skills and entertaining explanations to demystify a variety of complex concepts while encouraging all those with curious minds to pursue interests of their own. David Macaulay is the internationally acclaimed author and illustrator of twenty-five books, including The Way Things Work, The Way We Work, Cathedral, Pyramid, and most recently, Built to Last. Notable for his exceptional pen-and-ink illustrations, his sly humor, and his uncanny ability to explain things, Macaulay is the recipient of many awards, among them a Caldecott Medal, a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal, and a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Norwich, Vermont.







1:30 – 2:45 pm: In Conversation: Janis Bellow & Benjamin Taylor (Centre Congregational Church)

Saul Bellow wrote hundreds and hundreds of letters, a voluminous correspondence covering more than seventy years. Both friends and opponents were on the receiving end—boyhood pals, wives and ex-wives, and many writers, from Bernard Malamud and John Cheever to Martin Amis and Philip Roth. Janis Bellow was instrumental in collecting the letters included in Saul Bellow: Letters, which was edited by Benjamin Taylor. Join Bellow and Taylor in conversation about this remarkable collection that illuminates Saul Bellow’s enduring legacy. Janis Bellow teaches literature at Tufts University. She was married to Saul Bellow from 1989 until his death in 2005. She spends as much time as possible in Vermont, where she lives for several months each year with her daughter Rosie. Benjamin Taylor is the author of a book of essays, Into the Open, and two novels, Tales out of School and The Book of Getting Even. His travel memoir, Naples Declared, is scheduled for publication in 2012. A longtime member of the Graduate Writing Program faculty at The New School, Taylor has also taught at Washington University in St. Louis, the Poetry Center,  the 92nd Street Y in New York City, Bennington College, and the Graduate Writing Division of the School of the Arts at Columbia.







1:30 – 2:45 pm: Poetic Voices – Jeanne Marie Beaumont & Kevin Young (First Baptist Church)

Jeanne Marie Beaumont explores what it means to be female in Burning of the Three Fires. She examines the trappings of femininity in prose poems, sonnets, and a variety of invented forms that are simultaneously spare and expansive, playful and disturbing. In Ardency, his most recent collection of poems, Kevin Young chronicles the voices of the Amistad slave rebellion. Written over a twenty-year period, his poetic epic—part libretto, part captive epistle—brings the past to vivid life, and even its sorrows sing. Jeanne Marie Beaumont is co-sponsored By Marlboro college. Jeanne Marie Beaumont is also the author of Curious Conduct and Placebo Effects, winner of the National Poetry Series Prize in 1996. She coedited The Poets’ Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Good Poems for Hard Times, the Manhattan Review, The Nation, Poetry Daily, The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 2007, and World Literature Today. She won the 2009 Dana Award for Poetry. She lives in Manhattan and teaches at the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y, as well as the Stonecoast MFA program in Maine. Kevin Young is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebellion. His book Jelly Roll: A Blues was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize. The Grey Album: Music, Shadows, Lies won the 2010 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize and is forthcoming in 2012. He is the Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English, as well as Curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University in Atlanta.


11:30 – 2:45 pm: Picture This – Kevin Hawkes & Kate Messner (Hooker-Dunham Theater) Family event

Illustrator Kevin Hawkes and author Kate Messner take the stage to share their newest books for young readers. In A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea, Hawkes’ distinctive acrylic paintings alternate between cartoonlike and realistic as an omniscient narrator explains why a pig parade is not a great idea after all. Messner’s first illustrated chapter book, Marty McGuire, features a delightfully spunky girl who would rather catch frogs than play dress-up, while her picture books tell the stories of familiar New England animals and an unusual sea creature. Kevin Hawkes has illustrated and/or written over forty-five picture books and novels for children, including New York Times best sellers Library Lion, Weslandia, My Little Sister Ate One Hare, and Kate deCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie. Hawkes is known for his unusual perspectives, rich colors, and dry sense of humor. He began his career by working in a Boston bookstore and now lives in Gorham, Maine, where his wife and children keep him focused on the important things in life: gardening, tree forts, and cookies. Kate Messner writes for children of all ages, and this year she has three new books out: Sea Monster’s First Day, a picture book inspired in part by Vermont’s legendary lake monster, Champ; Over and Under the Snow, which reveals the hidden worlds of animals in winter; and a chapter book about everyone’s new favorite eight-year-old, Marty McGuire. Winner of the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award for The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, Messner is also a middle-school English teacher. She and her family live in Plattsburgh, New York.  







 3:00 – 4:30 pm: Masters of Fiction Richard Bausch & Nicholas Delbanco (Centre Congregational Church)

Two of America’s finest fiction writers join forces for a memorable reading and question-and-answer session. Though their work is quite different, Richard Bausch and Nicholas Delbanco share an intensity of both vision and language, as well as a subtlety that allows the nuances of character and plot to show all the more brilliantly. The authors of forty-four books between them, they have both been major presences in contemporary fiction for several decades. Bausch’s most recent book is a collection of stories, Something Is Out There; 12Delbanco’s most recent novel is Sherbrookes, a reconceived version of his Vermont trilogy. Nicholas Delbanco is co-sponsored By Marlboro College. Richard Bausch is the author of eleven novels and eight collections of stories. A past chancellor of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, he is currently holds the Moss Chair of Excellence in the Writing Program at the University of Memphis. A master of the short-story form, his stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, Playboy, Harper’s, and The Best American Short Stories. He has won awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, and many other organizations. Nicholas Delbanco is the Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English at the University of Michigan, where he also directs the prestigious Hopwood Awards Program. For twenty years he taught at Bennington College, where he co-founded (with the late John Gardner) the Bennington Writing Workshops. He is the author of twenty-five books. Earlier this year his most recent work of nonfiction, Lastingness: The Art of Old Age, was released.








3:00 – 4:15 pm: Write Action Local Author Showcase (River Garden)

Write Action, a community-based, grass-roots writers’ organization, hosts its second annual showcase of area writers and their newly released or upcoming books. Featured authors include poets Chard deNiord, Louise Rader, and F. D. Reeve, as well as nonfiction writers Christian McEwen, Laura Stevenson, and Maureen Tadlock. Chard deNiord, co-founder of the New England College MFA writing program and an associate professor of English at Providence College, has two new books out this year: his fourth volume of poetry, The Double Truth, and a book of essays and interviews with seven senior twentieth-century American poets. Christian McEwen was born in London and grew up in the Borders of Scotland. She is the editor of four anthologies, including The Alphabet of the Trees: A Guide to Nature Writing. Her latest book, World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down, was released this fall. Louise Rader’s poems have appeared in a variety of publications, including The Chrysalis and The Best of Write Action No. 2. Her chapbook, Opting for Luminosity, is due for release in late winter of 2012. She is in semi-retirement after thirty years as a psychotherapist. Laura C. Stevenson has published five novels and, most recently, Return in Kind, a reflection upon the changes in Vermont’s landscape and residents from 1929 to 1991. She teaches at Marlboro College. Her husband, F. D. (Frank) Reeve, will read from Nathaniel Purple, his new prose poem of adultery, murder, and arson in a Vermont village. Maureen Tadlock moved to Vermont as a teenager in 1970. The experience of that transition is highlighted in her coming-of-age memoir, The Weakness of Gravity. Though this is her first publication, Maureen has written extensively about the artist’s role as healer in modern culture.


3:00 – 4:15 pm: Fabric Art to Book Illustration – Salley Mavor (Brattleboro Museum & Art Center) Festival-affiliated event

Salley Mavor spent many years perfecting her signature fabric relief technique, which includes a blend of needlework and found objects. Her miniature three-dimensional worlds each take a month to create before they are photographed and reproduced as illustrations in children’s books. Mavor’s slide talk about her twenty-year career as an artist reveals the development of her technique. Her most recent book, Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes, won both the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and the Golden Kite Award for 2011. Fabric artist Salley Mavor is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. The proprietor of Wee Folk Studio, Mavor creates one-of-a-kind fabric art objects and scenes, which are photographed for her book illustrations and greeting cards. In addition to Pocketful of Posies, Mavor is the illustrator of four nursery rhyme board books, two picture books, and a collection of poems, and she is the author of Felt Wee Folk, a book containing eighteen fabric art projects. Her original work is currently on exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum.










4:30 – 5:45 pm: Icons in Culture – Martín Espada & Monica Youn (Brooks Memorial Library)

By invoking the great baseball hero Satchel Paige in the title poem of his new collection, The Trouble Ball, Pulitzer Prize finalist Martín Espada continues to explore one of his ongoing themes: reshaping Anglo perceptions of American culture. George Herriman’s famous comic strip Krazy Kat is the underpinning of Monica Youn’s stunning 14and whimsical collection, Ignatz. Framing these poems of unrequited love are all the sly hints of social commentary that helped make Herriman’s strip so popular. Martín Espada has published seventeen books as a poet, editor, essayist, and translator. His work has been translated into ten languages, and collections of his poems have recently been published in Spain, Puerto Rico, and Chile. The Republic of Poetry received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A former tenant-rights lawyer, Espada is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. Monica Youn is the author of two books of poetry: Ignatz, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2010, and Barter. She has been awarded fellowships from the Library of Congress, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Stanford University, where she was a Stegner fellow. She is currently the Brennan Center Fellow in Constitutional Law at NYU Law School. Her work there has been recognized by the New Leaders Council, which named her one of their 40 Under 40 nationwide leaders for 2010. 












4:30 – 5:45 pm: The Secret Keepers – Kathleen Winter & Alexi Zentner (Latchis 4)

 Born in a remote village in Labrador, Wayne has discovered a secret that only three other people know—he is also a girl. Kathleen Winter’s powerful book Annabel tells the story of a child with mixed gender and too many secrets to keep. In his breathtaking debut novel, Touch, Alexi Zentner has created a magical world filled with ghosts and demons that lurk in the Canadian north woods, a world that blurs the line between the truth and the power of stories and myths. Kathleen Winter has written dramatic and documentary scripts for Sesame Street and CBC Television. Her short-story collection boYs won the Metcalf-Rooke Award and the 2008 Winterset Award. Her novel Annabel became a number-one best seller in Canada and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Award, and the 2011 Orange Prize. She was born in the industrial northeast of England, and now lives in Montreal with her husband and daughters. Alexi Zentner’s fiction has appeared (or is forthcoming) in the Atlantic Monthly, Narrative magazine, Tin House, Glimmer Train, The Walrus, and Slice magazine. His short story “Trapline” was awarded the 2008 Narrative Prize and was selected for the Best American Short Stories 2009 list of “100 Other Distinguished Stories of 2008.” Zentner’s first novel, Touch, is a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and a Knopf Canada New Face of Fiction pick. Born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, he now lives in Ithaca, New York.










 4:30 – 5:45 pm: Girls with Guts and GraceVictoria Bond / T. R. Simon & Rita Williams-Garcia (Hooker-Dunham) Theater) Family event

 Three authors present two compelling books about strong girls in this event for readers ages nine through ninety. In Zora and Me, written by debut novelists Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon, a young Zora Neale Hurston is convinced that a reclusive neighbor is a shape-shifting gator-man, and with her best friends she searches for the solution to a mysterious Eatonville murder. In One Crazy Summer, Rita Williams-Garcia’s second National Book Award finalist in as many years, three young sisters are sent to Oakland to visit the mother who abandoned them. There they uncover the missing pieces of their past and receive a radical education at a summer camp run by the Black Panthers. Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon are close friends and the co-authors of Zora and Me, an Edgar Award nominee and winner of the Coretta Scott King–John Steptoe New Talent Award. A fictionalized yet revelatory account of Zora Neale Hurston’s childhood experiences with her best friend Carrie, this is the first book not written by Hurston herself to be endorsed by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust. Bond holds an MFA in creative writing, and Simon has an M.A. in anthropology. They live in New York City. Rita Williams-Garcia is the author of seven novels for young readers, the most recent being One Crazy Summer, a 2011 Newbery Honor Book, a 2010 National Book Award finalist, and winner of both the 2011 Coretta Scott King Award and the 2011 Scott O’Dell Prize for Historical Fiction. Known for her realistic portrayal of teens of color, in this newest book she turns her attention to the Black Panthers and the 1960s. Williams-Garcia is a faculty member of the MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young People at Vermont College. She lives in New York City.







 5:30 – 7:00 pm: Waking the Dead – David Blistein & Ken Burns in Conversation (Brattleboro Museum & Art Center)

 David Blistein and Ken Burns have been pursuing wisdom, transcendence, and humor together since they first met forty years ago. Burns’ documentary films bring history to life through the eyes and experiences of everyday people. Blistein’s writing in Real Time: Rewriting History from the Bible to Hollywood brings history to life through the words of the famous and the infamous as they appear in his everyday life today. His characters each offer their own unique perspective on history—why it keeps repeating itself, and what it would mean to move on. David Blistein has been writing professionally for many years while simultaneously immersing himself in a wide range of spiritual traditions. His work presents intriguing new perspectives on history, nature, psychology, and spirituality. In Real Time, he encounters people from throughout history—sinners and saints, kings and queens, artists and philosophers, warriors and peacemakers. While all of his characters have their own revelations and insights to offer, they share a common message: until we understand, accept, and complete our old stories, we cannot begin writing new ones. Ken Burns has been making documentary films for more than thirty years, producing and directing some of the most celebrated documentaries ever made, including The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, Lewis and Clark, Huey Long, Mark Twain, and The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. His films have won twelve Emmy Awards and two Oscar nominations; in September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Burns was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New Hampshire.






6:30 – 7:45 pm: Write Action Open Reading (River Garden)

Write Action hosts short readings of original material by this year’s poetry and prose contest winners, followed by an open reading. The contest theme, taken literally or not, was “How did I end up here?” Winning authors will read their contest submissions or other work of their choosing. Poetry winners are Bill Devlin, Abe Burros, and Dianalee Velie; prose winners are Marty Cain, Bruce Hasselbach, and Julia Shipley. Open reading slots will be seven minutes long. Those who wish to read should be at the River Garden twenty minutes before start time to sign up.

8:00 – 9:00 pm: Hands and Breath: An Evening with Lenelle Moïse (Headroom Stages)

Lenelle Moïse, the 2010–12 Poet Laureate of Northampton, is a spoken-word poet, playwright, musician, and performance artist. She sees poetry everywhere, and she uses her powerful voice and physicality to bring humor, sensuality, and adept political insights to audiences across the country. Join her for an electrifying hour- long spoken-word performance that explores Haitian-American identity, creative resistance, and the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, and spirit. Lenelle Moïse’s poetry can be found in Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution, the Utne Reader, in other anthologies and publications, and on CDs that feature her performance poetry and polyrhythmic music. Expatriate, her 2008 off-Broadway play, was critically acclaimed by the New York Times. In spring of 2011, Moïse was Northwestern University’s Mellon Artist-in-Residence in Performance, and in April, the daily online magazine The Root selected her as one of the Top 30 Black Performance Poets.








 11:00 am – 12:15 pm: Two Years in China – Susan Conley & Michael Levy (Brooks Memorial Library)

It’s a challenge to move halfway around the world and make a home—even a temporary one—in an alien land. When Susan Conley moved to Beijing with her husband and her two young sons on the eve of the 2008 Olympics, she knew she would have to deal with finding a school for her children and learning a new language, but she did not expect to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Her memoir, Foremost Good Fortune, is an honest and moving chronicle of her life-changing experiences in China. The Peace Corps sent Michael Levy, an American Jew, to teach English in rural China, and he has returned with a smart and funny memoir, Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China’s Other Billion, revealing the absurdities, joys, and sorrows of a traditional society in flux. While hilarious and poignant, the book also teaches the reader much about China’s “other billion” who live far from the metropolitan coast. Susan Conley is the author of Foremost Good Fortune and co-founder of the Telling Room, a writers’ workshop and literary hub located in Portland, Maine. She has also worked as an associate editor at Ploughshares and has led creative writing and literature seminars at Emerson College in Boston. Conley’s work has been published in the New York Times Magazine, the Paris Review, the Harvard Review, Ploughshares, and other literary magazines. Michael Levy is the author of Kosher Chinese. He returns frequently to Guiyang to check in on his students and visit the basketball courts where he attained momentary stardom. While in the United States, Levy keeps strictly kosher; in China he eats anything with four legs except the table. He can be found writing at coffee shops all over the U.S. and at tea houses in China. He currently teaches in Brooklyn, New York, at Saint Ann’s School.









11:00 – 12:00 pm: Criminals, Bullies, and Aliens-David Klass (Hooker-Dunham Theater)

Screenwriter and novelist David Klass knows a lot of strange characters, including career criminals, seriously twisted stepfathers, and snail-like aliens. His screenplays for Hollywood (Desperate Measures) and television (Law and Order) are mostly character-based thrillers, and his novels often portray teenagers in crisis. Take Tom Filbur in Stuck on Earth—a fourteen-year-old outcast with a dismal family life, he is also the unwilling host of Ketchvar III, an alien who has crawled up Tom’s nostril and into his brain. In this event for teens and adults, Klass introduces Tom and Ketchvar, and talks about his wide-ranging writing career. David Klass is the author of quite a few award-winning young adult novels, including Dark Angel, You Don’t Know Me, and Firestorm, an environmental thriller and the first novel endorsed by Greenpeace. Klass has also written many screenplays, including Kiss the Girls, In the Time of the Butterflies, and Walking Tall, and in 2010 he was a writer-producer for television’s Law and Order: Criminal Intent. He lives with his wife and two children in Manhattan.










12:30 – 1:45 pm: Quebec Writing Today

Monique Proulx & Kathleen Winter (Centre Congregational Church)

Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival presents a reading and conversation with two of Quebec’s most popular writers, one Francophone and one Anglophone. Monique Proulx is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter; her novel Wildlives is a richly imagined meditation on love and attraction in a small town in the Laurentians. Kathleen Winter’s novel Annabel, which was shortlisted for both the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction, explores themes of gender and identity by tracing the life story of a child born without a clearly defined gender. Enjoy two renowned Quebec writers as they discuss a new Quebecois literature and a new Quebecois identity. this event is presented in collaboration with the Quebec Government office in Boston. Monique Proulx is one of Quebec’s most popular authors. A novelist, story writer, and screenwriter, she has published five previous works of fiction, including The Heart Is an Involuntary Muscle, which was a finalist for the 2002 Governor General’s Award for Fiction (French language) and a selection for the 2004 CBC Canada Reads competition. Her newest book, Wildlives, was nominated for a 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation and the Quebec Writers Federation Translation Prize. She lives in Montreal. Kathleen Winter has written dramatic and documentary scripts for Sesame Street and CBC Television. Her short-story collection boYs won the Metcalf-Rooke Award and the 2008 Winterset Award. Her novel Annabel became a number-one best seller in Canada and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Award, and the 2011 Orange Prize. She was born in the industrial northeast of England and now lives in Montreal with her husband and daughters.







12:30 – 1:45 pm: Legacies of Westward Expansion Dana Hand & Thomas Powers (Brooks Memorial Library)During the nineteenth century, westward expansion had devastating consequences for Native American cultures, and Asian immigrants in search of a better life were frequently subjected to prejudice and violence. Deep Creek, written by Dana Hand, is both a high-voltage crime novel and a fascinating account of the unsolved 1887 murders of a group of Chinese gold miners in Idaho. The Killing of Crazy 20Horse, written by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Thomas Powers, presents a richly detailed and sensitive portrayal of the rise and the untimely fall of the Lakota’s most revered warrior, and it carefully chronicles a lost way of life. Dana Hand is the pen name of Will Howarth and Anne Matthews, authors of Deep Creek, listed as a Best Novel of 2010 by the Washington Post. Under their own names, they have published a total of eighteen books on American history, literature, and public issues. Howarth, a Princeton historian, first learned of the disturbing events at Deep Creek while on a freelance writing assignment for National Geographic. Matthews’ book Where the Buffalo Roam, on the depopulating of the Great Plains, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in nonfiction. Thomas Powers is the author of eight books, including nonfiction titles The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA, Heisenberg’s War: The Secret History of the German Bomb, Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to al-Qaeda, and The Killing of Crazy Horse. Powers won a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1971, and he has contributed to the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Book Review, Harper’s, The Nation, the Atlantic Monthly, and Rolling Stone. He lives in Vermont.







  2:00 – 3:15 pm: Disappearances – Sara J. Henry & Caroline Leavitt (Brooks Memorial Library)

When someone disappears, it’s often not clear what has really happened, or why. In Sara J. Henry’s book Learning to Swim, a young woman saves a boy she saw being thrown from the back of a ferry on Lake Champlain. Who is he, and why has no one missed him? Caroline Leavitt’s Pictures of You is the story of two women who are running away from their marriages when they collide on the highway. One is killed and the other is left to unravel the mysteries of the dead woman’s life. Sara J. Henry is the author of Learning to Swim, a critically acclaimed psychological thriller set in Vermont’s Champlain Valley and in the adjoining Canadian province of Quebec. A former editor at Rodale Books and at Women’s Sports & Fitness magazine, Henry has a master’s degree from Carleton University in Ottawa and is an alumna of the Squaw Valley Writers Conference. She lives on a dirt road in southern Vermont with at least one too many dogs. Caroline Leavitt is the author of nine novels, including Girls in Trouble, Coming Back to Me, Living Other Lives, Into Thin Air, Family, Jealousies, Lifelines, and Meeting Rozzy Halfway. Her most recent, Pictures of You, is a New York Times best seller and a San Francisco Chronicle Editor’s Choice “Lit Pick.” Leavitt is a book critic for the Boston Globe and for People magazine, and she has appeared on The Today Show and NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show.







 2:00 – 3:15 pm: Complexities of Memory and Loss – Lawrence Raab & Ellen Doré Watson (Hooker-Dunham Theater) The poems in Lawrence Raab’s latest collection, The History of Forgetting, not only explore what we remember—they investigate our spiritual and philosophical motives for remembering. In her fifth collection of poems, Dogged Hearts, Ellen Doré Watson lends her supple voice to a multiplicity of characters, each with his or her own particular dilemma, distraction, or disarray. Watson creates lives that resonate with poignancy and urgency. Lawrence Raab is the author of seven collections of poems. In addition, with Stephen Dunn he has published a chapbook of collaborative poems, Winter at the Caspian Sea. Raab was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1993, and a National Poetry Series Prize winner for What We Don’t Know About Each Other. His poems have appeared in several editions of Best American Poetry and in Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he is the Morris Professor of Rhetoric at Williams College. Ellen Doré Watson is the author of five collections of poems. Her honors include a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Grant, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship for The Alphabet in the Park: Selected Poems of Adélia Prado. She serves as Director of the Poetry Center at Smith College, is the poetry and translation editor of the Massachusetts Review, and teaches on the faculty of the Drew University Low-Residency MFA program in poetry and translation.









3:30 – 4:45 pm: The Power to Forgive, The Power to Heal – Mira Bartók & Melissa Coleman (Brooks Memorial Library)

Most adults revisit childhood memories as a part of defining who they are. In Mira Bartók’s brilliant memoir, The Memory Palace, she recounts how that process was complicated by an accident that resulted in traumatic brain injury, leaving her with substantial memory loss. As her memories slowly return, so does her love for and forgiveness of the schizophrenic mother who raised her. The price of idealism is explored in Melissa Coleman’s recollection of growing up in a family that was immersed in the back-to-the-land movement of the early seventies. This Life Is in Your Hands details a life of lean winters and short summers in coastal Maine, which ends when her three-year-old sister accidentally drowns and her family falls apart. Mira Bartók is a Chicago-born artist and the author of the 2011 New York Times best-selling illustrated memoir, The Memory Palace, as well as twenty-eight arts and culture books for children. Her writing has also appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies and has been noted in The Best American Essays series. She lives in western Massachusetts, where she runs both Mira’s List, a blog that helps artists find funding and residencies all over the world, and North of Radio, a multimedia collaborative. Melissa Coleman is the author of This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone. A New York Times best seller and an Indie Next Pick for May 2011, it was excerpted in O, The Oprah Magazine, and was a People’s Pick in People magazine. Coleman is also a columnist for Maine and Maine Home and Design magazines, and she serves on the board of the Telling Room, a Portland writing center. She lives in Freeport, Maine, with her husband and twin daughters.










3:30 – 4:30 pm: Winter’s Journey- Stephen Dobyns (Hooker-Dunham Theater) I

In his newest collection, Winter’s Journey, poet and best-selling novelist Stephen Dobyns once again shows us his understated mastery. Daily walks become meditations on politics, philosophy, literature, and the larger considerations of existence and being. The conversational ease of Dobyns’ poems gracefully brings the reader through thoughtful, discursive turns to the poignant insights of his conclusions. Stephen Dobyns is the author of fifteen books of poetry, including Concurring Beasts, a National Poetry Series Prize winner, and Cemetery Nights, a Mellville Cane Award winner. He is also the author of a new collection of essays on poetry, Next Word, Better Word, and twenty-one novels, many of which are thrillers or mysteries. The recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Dobyns is currently on the faculty at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.







5:00 – 6:30 pm: Vermont Reads To Kill a Mockingbird (Brooks Memorial Library)

Harper Lee’s beloved classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird is the focus of this Vermont Reads event. Theater students from Brattleboro Union High School will present selected scenes from the book under the direction of Robert Kramsky; and Nancy Olson, the BUHS English Department Chair, will lead a discussion about the book and the movies shown earlier in the week (see description on page 4). This event is sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council and Brooks Memorial Library.