WEST JEFFERSON — Plans for the 12th annual On the Same Page Literary Festival are taking shape, and there are many outstanding opportunities for readers, writers and book fans of all ages to help celebrate reading in Ashe County.
Opportunities for attendees to hear and interact with renowned authors through readings, workshops, informal meals and keynote events are on the schedule. It’s not too early to begin looking through the lineup of authors and events and begin reading.
After an evening with humorous historian Elliot Engel (“Master of Mayberry”) on Sept. 16, the festival will begin in earnest on the Sept. 17.
The celebration begins with the final Festival Read event concerning “Dopesick” by Beth Macy and featuring Robert Gipe, our Appalachian Writer in Residence, reading from his novels and leading a writer’s workshop.
On Wednesday, Sept. 18, Alan Michael Parker will start the day with an intriguing workshop, “That’s Not What Happened.” Historical novelist P.T. Deutermann will give a reading hosted by the Friends of the Ashe County Library, and A.J. Mayhew will read from her much-anticipated second novel. Robert Gipe will continue his workshop on “A Character-Building Experience.”
Thursday morning will feature Stephanie Powell Watts reading and discussing her award-winning novel, “No One is Coming to Save Us.” A box lunch with Georgann Eubanks (What literature- and/or food-based adventure is she on this year?) will be followed by Ronni Lundy reading and discussing “Victuals,” her latest book about Southern foodways.
On Friday, Sept. 20, N.C. Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green will read and discuss selections from her poetry in the morning, and then in the afternoon, lead a workshop on writing documentary poetry. In between, attendees may share lunch with festival authors at local eateries. At the end of the day, Beth Macy will give a reading and talk about “Dopesick” and her latest project, at the Ashe County Arts Center.
Saturday, Sept. 21, will begin with a celebratory breakfast for Festival Page Turners, and then Diane Chamberlain will give a reading and talk about “Big Lies in a Small Town,” her in-process novel set in Edenton.
All but two of the Festival events will take place in the Community Room of the Ashe County Public Library at 303 School Ave. in West Jefferson. Most are open to the public and free, though reservations are required for the workshops and the Literary Trails Luncheon, with a nominal charge for the box lunch.
Books by Festival authors will soon be available to check out at the Ashe County Public Library or to purchase at the Ashe County Arts Center. Authors’ books will be on sale at all Festival events, and there will be ample signing opportunities. For questions regarding the On the Same Page Festival, call the Ashe County Arts Council at (336) 846-2787.