Castine Arts to host literary symposium

CASTINE — On Aug. 6 and 7, the Castine Arts Association will celebrate the works of Castine-connected writers through a series of programs and presentations highlighting the work of those writers created and/or published during 2019 to the present time.

Held at Emerson Hall, 67 Court St., Castine, “The Things They Wrote. The Stories They Told” will showcase poetry, fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature, memoir, playwriting, essays, collaborative works and collections. Several open mic sessions focused on prose and poetry also are planned.

Following a welcome to the two-day event and an open mic session featuring nonfiction writing, at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 6, keynote speaker Peter Davis will discuss “Writing During COVID.” He will also share a chapter from his upcoming book, followed by a period of Q & A. Davis is an American filmmaker, author and journalist. His film “Hearts and Minds,” about U.S. military action in Vietnam, won the Best Feature Documentary Academy Award in 1974.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, nationally acclaimed children’s book authors Connie and Peter Roop will kick off the day’s programs. Together, the Roops have written 100 children’s books ranging from historical fiction to nonfiction. Seven of their books are “Reading Rainbow” books, including “Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie.”

Following the Roops’ presentation, Johanna Sweet will talk about her children’s book and Moonbeam Award winner “Corona Island.” Additional morning programs include Jean Lamontanaro discussing the challenges of being part of a publishing business during the past two years. In addition to her work at Penobscot Bay Press, Lamontanaro is the author of two children’s coloring books that focus on Maine images.

After a break from noon till 1 p.m., at which time books may be purchased and signed, the afternoon sessions will begin with readings by essayist Todd Nelson. Nelson is a writer and educator in Penobscot. His 35-year teaching career across the U.S., observations of rural life in Maine and parenting the three Nelson children are the subjects of his many books of essays.

Georgia Zildjian, the director of Castine’s Children’s Theatre Camp, will share her experiences in playwriting these past two years.

Deborah Joy Corey, a Canadian writer and Castine resident whose first novel, “Losing Eddie,” won the 1994 Books in Canada First Novel Award, also will appear. Her books “The Skating Pond” and “Settling Twice: Lessons From Then and Now” — in which Castine is prominently featured — have also met with critical acclaim.

Contributors to the Castine Writing Group’s 10th Anniversary anthology, “From Here and Away,” will share readings from that collection, followed by Don Small reading from the soon-to-be published novel “Margaret.”

An open-mic poetry session will be followed at 5 p.m. by a presentation by Maine poet Julia Bouwsma, whose most recent collection of poems, “Midden,” examines the Malaga Island tragedy from a variety of points of view.

After a dinner break, Annex Arts will launch its Novella Project book, “A Knock at the Door,” a pass-it-along writer project that took place last summer and resulted in the creation of four novellas, cooperatively written by 25 authors.

All of the programs are free and open to the public. They will take place upstairs at Emerson Hall in Castine. Adherence to Maine’s current mask-wearing guidelines is required.

“We invite you to celebrate these writers and provide them with a live audience with whom to share their words,” said organizers in an announcement of the event.

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