Another festival is coming to Traverse City—and it’s going to be one for the books.
The National Writers Series (NWS), which has brought some of the biggest names in contemporary literature to northern Michigan since 2009, just announced their newest program. Storyfest 2013, with the slogan “read, write, talk,” will be a four-day event September 27-30. The literary festival will feature main stage NWS writers, writing workshops in partnership with Wayne State University Press, and a new poetry project titled “You Are Hear!”
“It’s really an extension of what we were already doing as a year-round book festival,” NWS Executive Director Jill Tewsley tells The Ticker. “People have been asking for a more intensive event, and this seemed like the next logical thing for us to do to further engage the community in what we already offer.”
The event will open and close with two of NWS’s signature author talks at the City Opera House. Kicking off the weekend will be “An Evening in Conversation with Michael Paterniti.” Paterniti is the critically-acclaimed author of The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese. The closing night event will be “An Evening in Conversation with Jamie Ford,” author of the bestselling Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
The poetry program, titled “You Are Hear!” will be an interactive, citywide project on September 28 and 29. Weaving together poetry and place—in this case, downtown Traverse City—the event will connect participants through audio links on their smartphones. As a project aimed at incorporating poetry into everyday life, project creator Kelly Clare hopes to change people’s perception of and experience with the art of poetry.
Storyfest will also include four writing workshops, aimed at attracting “older students” of writing. Workshops will be held at the Front Street Writers Studio and will be $75 each.
Saturday’s workshops will be “The Meaning of the Truth (and Vice-Versa): Memoir and Memory,” taught by Gail Griffin, and “‘Come forth into the light of things’: Get Back to Paying Attention to the Natural World, By Turning Away From the World of Screens,” led by Michael Delp.
On Sunday, NWS' francine j. harris will give a poetry workshop, and Andy Mozina will conduct “Out of Nowhere: Creating Ideas for Fiction Writing.”
Tewsley believes that the festival will attract non-residents -- as most NWS events do -- but will be an event deeply rooted in the community of northern Michigan.
Is she worried about the so-called “festival fatigue” being experienced by some area residents? Tewsley says she doesn’t think this new program will contribute to any feelings of an overly packed event calendar.
“It isn’t really a new event, but a continuation of one already in place,” she said. “Our goal is to continue to be a festival that provides great books and great conversations for a community that loves reading, writing, and the arts.”