Newburyport Literary Festival 2018

Arts and Entertainment

April 4, 2018

From: Newburyport Literary Festival

Friday April 27th we will open the festival at the Firehouse Center for the Arts. The ceremony is followed by our Dinner with the Authors at Masonic Center of Newburyport. Saturday continues the festival with a full day of activities, from Breakfast with the Authors to the closing ceremony. This festival promises to have something for every reader.

With a rich literary heritage, the greater Newburyport area has a lot to be excited about. Writers as diverse as John Greenleaf Whittier, John P. Marquand, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Andre Dubus II have called Newburyport home.

Schedule of Events

April 27, 2018

Opening Night Ceremony

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

Opening Night Ceremony: Ann Hood

Festival favorite, Ann Hood, popular and prolific writer, is our honoree this year. Ann is the author of fourteen novels, three memoirs, a short story collection, a ten book series for middle readers and one young adult novel. For our opening ceremony she will be in conversation with her longtime friend, Andre Dubus, III about her life as a writer and the books that matter most to her.

Presenter: Ann Hood
Moderator: Andre Dubus III

7:30 PM - Join us for Dinner with the Authors!
Masonic Lodge, 31 Green Street
Buffet and cash bar.
Cost: $50.00 at the door or purchase here!

April 28, 2018

8:30 AM - Breakfast with the Poets at Central Congregational Church Social Hall

Join us for coffee, pastry, and poetry. Five of the locally-based, nationally-recognized Powow River Poets have published new books in the past year: Barbara Crane, David Davis, Jean L. Kreiling, James Najarian, and Deborah Warren.

Presenters: Barbara Crane, Jean L. Kreiling, James Najarian,
Deborah Warren
Moderator: David Davis

9:00 AM - My Ex Life by Stephen McCauley at Central Congregational Church Church Sanctuary

Start your day with Stephen McCauley and his touching but laugh-out-loud funny new novel, My Ex-Life. David and Julie are a formerly married couple who haven’t seen each other in decades. David has spent the last twenty years as a gay man who helps spoiled San Francisco teens get into colleges, and Julie is, a now twice-divorced mom who has become a middle-aged pot-head and has turned her falling-apart house into a B&B to make ends meet. What happens when they find themselves living together again?

Presenter: Stephen McCauley

9:00 AM - Two Writers Under One Roof at Firehouse Center for the Arts

Can two writers live happily ever after? What are the advantages-and disadvantages-of sharing your home with a fellow wordsmith? Come listen in as two writer couples talk about collaborating, competing, and cohabiting.

Presenter: Robert W. Crawford, Midge Goldberg, Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough, Steve Yarbrough Moderator: Daniel Tobin

9:00 AM - The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir at Old South Church

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes-she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly familiar. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story; to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky’s crime. Join Alexandria in conversation with Suzanne Dubus about a book that the New York Times describes as “complex and challenging…,” and that “push[es] the boundaries of writing about trauma.”

Presenter: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich Moderator: Suzanne Dubus

9:00 AM - How and Why Horses Heal Humans at Old South Church – Social Hall

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

Presenter: Tim Hayes

9:00 AM - The ***** is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier at Unitarian Universalist Church

More than a decade after the New York Times bestselling anthology The ***** in the House spoke up loud and clear for a generation of young woman-and inspired the creation of the New York Times “Modern Love” column-nine of the original contributors are back, along with sixteen captivating new voices, sharing their ruminations from an older, stronger, and wiser perspective about love, sex, work, family, independence, body-image, health, and aging. In The ***** is Back, those funny, smart, passionate contributors-today less bitter and resentful, and more confident, competent, and content-capture the spirit of post-feminism in this equally provocative, illuminating, and compelling companion anthology. Now in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, these “*******”-bestselling authors, renowned journalists, and critically acclaimed novelists-offer their unique views on womanhood and feminism. Join anthology editor Cathi Hanaeur and contributors to the volume for a lively discussion about the critical flash points of women’s lives today.

Presenters: Kate Christensen, Sarah Critchton, Ann Hood
Moderator: Cathi Hanauer

9:00 AM - The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish at Newburyport Art Association

Set in London of the 1660s, and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.

Presenter: Rachel Kadish

9:00 AM - The Lowells of Massachusetts: An American Family at City Hall

The Lowells of Massachusetts were a remarkable family. They were settlers in the New World in the 1600s, revolutionaries creating a new nation in the 1700s, merchants and manufacturers building prosperity in the 1800s, and scientists, activists, and artists flourishing in the 1900s. Though not without scoundrels and certainly no strangers to controversy, the family boasted some of the most astonishing individuals in America’s history, including Percival Lowell, who at the age of 68 sailed from England to settle in Newbury; Judge John Lowell, Newburyport lawyer who brought the first freedom suits for black men and women of Massachusetts, set up the privateering ventures that funded the American Revolution, and served on the Continental Congress, and Amy Lowell, enterprising 20th century poet who performed like a rock star and lived openly with her companion, the divorced former actress and Mormon, Ada Dwyer Russell. Come learn about these Lowells and more when Nina Sankovitch discusses her book, The Lowells of Massachusetts: An American Family.

Presenter: Nina Sankovitch

9:00 AM - The Book of Separation: A Memoir at Jabberwocky Bookshop

The Book of Separation is the story of a woman who leaves her faith and her marriage and sets out to navigate the terrifying, liberating terrain of a newly mapless world. “Mirvis intimately chronicles her divorce and her separation from modern Orthodox Judaism in this bold memoir… Hers is a story of grief and rebirth. She is compassionate and judicious in her portrayal of Orthodox Judaism, even as she describes its repressive attitudes toward women… Her personal journey makes for an introspective and fascinating story.”
-Publishers Weekly

Presenter: Tova Mirvis

9:30 AM - The Grumpy Pets at Children’s Room, Newburyport Public Library

Billy’s not like the other kids. He’s a bit… grumpy. Hoping to cheer him up, his mom takes him and his sister to the animal rescue one morning. All the animals are cute and playful, but they’re a little too happy for Billy. Then Billy wanders into another section of the store, where the pets are all grouchy and scruffy. Will Billy find the perfect friend here? Author Kristine Lombardi reads from her book, The Grumpy Pets, and then helps kids create their own grumpy pet masks using paper plates, crayons, and construction paper. Don’t miss this fun and engaging session! All materials will be provided.

Presenter: Kristine A. Lombardi

10:00 AM - Night Vision and the Lighting of Candles at Central Congregational Church Social Hall

Beginning at least as far back as Homer, poets of the Western Tradition have felt compelled to speak of the underworld, for as Dante explained, “there was some good there.” John Foy, author of Night Vision, and the aptly-named Catherine Chandler (“maker of candles”), are worthy heirs of that tradition. Unafraid to consider things covered in darkness, they bring to light what might otherwise remain hidden, and find some good there.

Presenters: Catherine Chandler and John Foy

10:00 AM - Tamara Plakins Thornton at City Hall

Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers: How a Nineteenth-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea Changed American Life

It was right here in Newburyport in 1802 that Nathaniel Bowditch published the first edition of what for decades remained the must-have manual for America’s sailors, the New American Practical Navigator. In her illustrated presentation, Tamara Plakins Thornton offers a fresh look at the man Thomas Jefferson celebrated as “a meteor of the hemisphere.” Yes, he was the author of a maritime bestseller, but he was also a mathematician and astronomer and a business executive whose devotion to systems that ran with clockwork precision and regularity shaped the faceless bureaucracies we associate today with modern life. Come meet this peppery Yankee, who voyaged around the globe, became a Fellow of London’s Royal Society, pioneered the business of trusts, shook up Harvard, and feuded with the man who (probably) burned down Newburyport in 1811.

Presenter: Tamara Plakins Thornton

10:00 AM - Middle-Grade Reading in the Digital Age at Program Room, Newburyport Public Library

When it comes to high-quality , middle-grade readers have a variety of choices. Today’s novels are filled with feisty, unforgettable characters who are dealing with real-world issues such as broken families, illness, poverty, and the search for love and identity. There are dark fantasies and humorous journeys; magic, danger, laughs, and tears. In addition to a wide range of subject matter, there are print and digital formats to consider. In this fun and lively session, four New England-based authors team up with Nock/Molin librarian Ellen Menesale and local 8th graders to talk about Reading in the Digital Age.

Presenters: Tami Charles, MarcyKate Connolly, Kimberly Newton Fusco, Elinor Teele
Moderators: Ellen Menesale, Lila Gridley, Nolan Elrott

10:30 AM - Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta at JCentral Congregational Church Sanctuary

Tom Perrotta is back with a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong. Mrs. Fletcher is sharp, witty, and provocative. The New York Times Book Review calls Mrs. Fletcher “The sweetest and most charming novel about pornography addiction and the harrowing issues of sexual consent that you will probably ever read.”

Presenter: Tom Perrotta

10:30 AM - Stephen Greenblatt’s The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve at Firehouse Center for the Arts

Deemed his most ambitious book yet, Stephen Greenblatt’s The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve explores the enduring story of humanity’s first parents. Comprising only a few ancient verses, the story of Adam and Eve has served as a mirror in which we seem to glimpse the whole, long history of our fears and desires, as both a hymn to human responsibility and a dark fable about human wretchedness. Tracking the tale into the deep past, Greenblatt uncovers the tremendous theological, artistic, and cultural investment over centuries that made these al figures so profoundly resonant in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim worlds and, finally, so very “real” to millions of people even in the present. Join the Pulitzer Prize– and National Book Award–winning author of The Swerve and Will in the World as he shares images and stories from his most recent masterpiece.

Presenter: Stephen Greenblatt

10:30 AM - YA Panel at Old South Church

Presenters: Kim Savage, Francisco X. Stork
Moderator: Elissa Gershowitz

10:30 AM - Burntown: A Novel at Old South Church – Social Hall

Burntown is an edge-of- your-seat thriller set in a quaint New England town that Booklist calls “A stunning genre blend of thriller and fantasy.” Join New York Time’s best-selling author of The Winter People, Jennifer McMahon, in her first Newburyport Literary Festival appearance!

Presenter: Jennifer McMahon

10:30 AM - Writing Hard Stories: Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Trauma at Unitarian Universalist Church

What does it take to write an honest memoir? And what happens to us when we embark on that journey? Those were just two of the difficult questions Melanie Brooks faced when she began writing her family’s painful story. To help her find answers, Melanie talked with other writers whose memoirs had moved her. The result is the anthology, Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Trauma. Join Melanie and three of the writers featured in her book for this fascinating discussion about trekking through the darkest of memories-and finding the courage to put words to your story.

Presenters: Alysia Abbott, Mark Doty, Andre Dubus III
Moderator: Melanie Brooks

10:30 AM - Strangers in Budapest by Jessica Keener at Newburyport Art Association

Annie and Will move to Budapest from Boston with their infant son shortly after the fall of the Communist regime. For Annie, it is an effort to escape the ghosts that haunt her past, and Will wants simply to seize the chance to build a new future for his family. Eight months after their move, their efforts to assimilate are thrown into turmoil when they receive a message from friends in the United States asking that they check up on an elderly man, a fiercely independent Jewish American WWII veteran who helped free Hungarian Jews from a Nazi prison camp. They soon learn that the man, Edward Weiss, has come to Hungary to exact revenge on someone he is convinced seduced, married, and then murdered his daughter. “A provocative novel about the power of the past–and our interpretations and misinterpretations of it–to haunt the present.” –B.A. Shapiro, author of The Muralist

Presenter: Jessica Keener

10:30 AM - All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson at Jabberwocky Bookshop

From the acclaimed author of Her Every Fear and The Kind Worth Killing comes a diabolically clever tale of obsession, revenge, and cold-blooded murder. Harry Ackerson has always considered his stepmother Alice to be sexy and beautiful, in an “otherworldly” way. Days before his college graduation, Alice calls with shocking news. His father is dead and the police think it’s suicide. Devastated, Harry returns to his father’s home in Maine.Shortly after he arrives, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a complete stranger to his family. But she isn’t the only attractive woman taking an interest in Harry. The sensual Alice is also growing closer, coming on to him in an enticing, clearly sexual way. Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous-even deadly-secrets, and that neither one is telling the truth

Presenter: Peter Swanson

Date: April 27-28, 2018

Firehouse Center For The Arts, 1 Market Square, Newburyport, MA 01950
Central Congregational Church, 14 Titcomb Street, Newburyport, MA 01950
Old South Presbyterian Church, 29 Federal Street, Newburyport, MA 01950
Unitarian Universalist Church, 26 Pleasant Street, Newburyport, MA 01950
Newburyport Art Association, 65 Water Street, Newburyport, MA 01950
Newburyport City Hall, 60 Pleasant Street, Newburyport, MA 01950
Jabberwocky Bookshop, 50 Water Street # 22, Newburyport, MA 01950
Newburyport Public Library, 94 state street, Newburyport, MA 01950

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