We’re fortunate to have so many writers living and working here, as well as an abundance of literary festivals that celebrate their craft. Over the course of a day or a weekend, you can hear authors read from their latest books, get an autograph or have a personal conversation with them. You can network with others who write or take part in writing workshops. Literary festivals are family friendly—kids can enjoy children’s book readings, crafts or demonstrations.
There are four literary festivals happening in September alone, with a host of authors ranging from North Carolina natives to the internationally-known celebrities. The annual Charlotte Literary Festival will be held Sept. 5–6 in the North Davidson Street Arts District known as NoDa. It features prominent African American writers including Michael Beckwith, the dynamic spiritual leader who touched millions of readers and viewers in The Secret. The community-based street festival features live entertainment including a special appearance by the North Carolina Dance Theatre and storytelling sponsored by the public library.
Hosted by the UNC-Chapel Hill library, the North Carolina Literary Festival takes place Sept. 10–13 and will include readings, discussions, exhibits, performances, book signings, lectures and book sales for people of all ages. Since 1998, it has been organized and sponsored by the libraries of UNC, Duke and North Carolina State universities, with additional support from North Carolina Central University. The festival takes place every two years and rotates among the Carolina, Duke and NC State campuses. Many of the authors scheduled to appear are N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipients.
The BOOKMARKS literary event brings a new dimension to its fifth annual community book festival on Sept. 12. This year it moves downtown to Winston-Salem’s Arts District, centering on Trade and Sixth Streets, where authors will be presented in enclosed tents and interior spaces donated by Arts District studios, galleries and businesses. It will continue to present a mix of local, regional and nationally renowned authors, performers, reading-related exhibitors and a variety of food vendors. Authors in attendance will include James Dodson, John Berendt and Kim Underwood.
The Carolina Mountains Literary Festival in Burnsville Sept. 11–12 creates community by bringing together authors, avid readers, novice writers, and fans in an intimate setting. A more low-key festival, it supports regional authors and smaller presses. There are no outside vendors beyond Asheville’s Malaprop’s Bookstore, which handles all of the book sales, and authors gather for group book signings, leaving them free to roam throughout the day. Festival events are spread in various locations including galleries, stores, the Town Center, library and nearby churches. Authors on hand will include Gloria Houston, Alan Gratz, and photographer/writer Rob Amberg.
North Carolina is home to many other literary events and opportunities this fall. Joyner Library at East Carolina University presents the sixth Eastern North Carolina Literary Homecoming Sept. 25-26. With the theme of “Evolving Expressions: Shaping the Written Word,” it explores literature’s connections to drama, music and the visual arts. The festival will kick off with a tribute to Reynolds Price including dramatic presentations of Price’s works by ECU’s Theatre Department. Price will be on hand to receive the school’s Roberts Award for Literary Inspiration.
The third annual Great Smoky Mountain Book Fair takes place Nov. 14 in Sylva. A fund raising event for the Jackson County Public Library, it will feature more than 50 writers. Founded in 1950, the North Carolina Writer’s Network supports writers across the state and is a resource for all sorts of literary news and information. Its fall conference takes place Nov. 20–22 at Wrightsville Beach.
In addition to being an icon of the art world, painter Pablo Picasso wrote hundreds of poems, two full-length plays and contributed to several illustrated book projects. This intersection between writing and art is the subject of Picasso and the Allure of Language, now on display at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham. The exhibition features 60 works spanning Picasso’s career from the years 1900–1969, examples of works by fellow artist Georges Braque, and photographs, letters, manuscripts and book projects by a diverse group of artists and writers. Learn more about Picasso’s lifelong love affair with the written word at the Nasher Museum of Art Web site. The exhibition continues through Jan. 3, 2010.
That’s not the only way to take a fresh look at the premiere painter of the 20th century. In conjunction with the Nasher exhibition, Carolina Ballet presents the world premiere of Picasso, with choreography by Artistic Director Robert Weiss. Performances run from Oct. 15–Nov. 1.
The Arts Council’s Museums in a Minute series highlights the permanent collections at some of our state’s finest museums. Visit the series Web site to explore the rich collections of our art museums only a car trip away.