Literary Festival Expands
The Carolina Mountains Literary Festival expands to three days this year, featuring evening events with noted authors Ron Rash and Audrey Niffenegger, along with a screening of the documentary film "The Day Carl Sandburg Died."
The festival, in its sixth year, takes place Sept. 8-10. It is officially headquartered at the Burnsville Town Center, although events take place in numerous locations throughout town.
"What makes this festival different is it's aimed at readers, not so much other writers," says Britt Kaufmann, one of the festival organizers. "The point is to think about ideas represented in the literature and have the opportunity to talk about them. Readers get the chance to interact with writers, and writers have a chance to see the impact of their work on the general readership."
Most of the sessions are free and the atmosphere is casual, not academic. A festival bookseller handles all book sales, freeing authors to focus on reader interaction.
"It's really about the writing and the exchange," Kaufmann says. "We want the authors to have fun and attendees to have fun. It's not unusual to see authors roaming the town and attending various sessions."
The slate of events begins Thursday evening with a free screening of "The Day Carl Sandburg Died" at the Yancey County Public Library.
This powerful film was produced by award-winning director Paul Bonesteel, of Bonesteel Films in Asheville.
Friday's agenda includes readings, sessions, book-signings and workshops from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., followed by a talk at 7 p.m. by Audrey Niffenegger, best-selling author of "The Time Traveler's Wife." Niffenegger will speak on how her visual art and literary art complement each other.
Saturday features another full day of readings, sessions, book-signings and workshops, capped by a 7 p.m. closing banquet and keynote address.
The keynote speaker is Rash, an instructor at Western Carolina University, and an award-winning novelist, short story writer and poet. He will release his latest book of poetry, "Walking," at the festival.
A total of 30 authors are scheduled to participate. To see the complete list, visit: www.cmlitfest.org. For lodging information, go to www.visityancey.com.
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