Word returns live! Lily King, Phuc Tran to headline festival



BLUE HILL — Word 2022 will be live and in person!

After convening online in 2020 and 2021, this year’s literary arts festival will once again be out and about in Blue Hill Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 20-23. In addition to attending talks and workshops, audiences will be able to chat with authors at various events throughout the weekend.

Featured evening speakers will be best-selling novelist Lily King, whose 2021 story collection “Tuesdays in Winter” has received rapturous reviews, and Phuc Tran, Portland author of the celebrated 2020 memoir “Sigh, Gone.” Maine Poet La

Best-selling novelist Lily King is among the featured speakers at the 2022 Blue Hill literary festival, Word, running Thursday-Friday, Oct. 20-23. ELOISE KING CHEMENTS PHOTO

ureate Julia Bowsma will headline Saturday’s poetry series. On Sunday, New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly, author of 2022’s “Very Funny Ladies,” will be in conversation with Pamela Maffei McCarthy, the magazine’s retired deputy editor, co-sponsored by Blue Hill Public Library.

Tran will teach a memoir workshop, and King will teach one on short-story writing. Other workshops will include songwriting (Noel Paul Stookey and George Emlen), poetry (Jennifer Moxley), young adult fiction (Maria Padian) and “How to Scare Your Reader” (Elizabeth Hand). Two book-making workshops will be on offer, one for all ages with Mia Bogyo and one for adults with members of Midcoast Book Arts.

In collaboration with New Surry Theatre and the Blue Hill Historical Society, and with funding from the Maine Bicentennial Commission, Word 2022 will present an original Bundy Boit play based on the writings of Blue Hill-born Mary Ellen Chase. The play was intended as a Maine bicentennial observance but was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Children’s author/illustrator Jamie Hogan will offer a Saturday morning children’s program focusing on the “dark sky” movement, based on her recent book, “Skywatcher.” To prepare for her visit, Word and the library will offer children and their families a Thursday evening outdoor sky tour with Dwight Lanpher of Dark Sky Maine.

Hogan will visit Blue Hill Consolidated School on Friday, and mystery writer Elizabeth Hand will visit George Stevens Academy and Blue Hill Harbor School.

Portland author Phuc Tran, who wrote the 2020 memoir “Sigh, Gone,” is among Word’s speakers. JEFF ROBERTS IMAGING PHOTO

A Saturday afternoon panel discussion on book publishing will feature self-published author Joan Dempsey, literary agent Tina Bennett, journal editor Daniel Mahoney and a representative from publishing house Toad Hall Editions.

Poetry readings this year will be at Blue Hill Congregational Church Saturday afternoon. Ian-Kahra Ellasante, Zeke Russell, Jennifer Moxley, Samaa Abdurraquib, Jason Grundstrom-Whitney and Julia Bouwsma will read.

The weekend will begin Thursday night at Winings Gallery with the opening of the annual Word art show of works honoring the written word, followed by the Friday afternoon opening of a book arts display at the Blue Hill Public Library. Artists and writers participating will include Kristie Billings, Leslie Cummins, Bea Gates, Stuart Kestenbaum, Elizabeth Sawyer, Tim Seabrook, Susan Webster and Midcoast Book Arts members Cynthia McGuirl, Jan Owens, Joelle Webber and Sandy Wiseman.

Except for the workshops, all literary events are free and open to the public. All events will require pre-registration, which will open in early October and will be announced via Word’s email newsletter, website and Facebook page.

Word is funded by the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, the Anahata Foundation, the Lojo Foundation, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust and the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other generous donors. Word’s media partner is WERU-FM. Its fiscal sponsor is Blue Hill Community Development.

For more info, call 374-5632 or visit www.wordfestival.org.

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