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Ashe County’s ‘On the Same Page’ Literary Festival Begins Sept. 13 for Ninth Year

By Emily Willis

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The Ashe County Arts Council and Public Library are sponsoring the ninth annual “On the Same Page” literary festival, slated for Sept. 13-17. The Festival Read for this year is Diane Chamberlain’s Pretending to Dance. The events for the Festival Read Kick-Off have already began, but there is still time to enjoy the rest of the festival!

Ashe County Librarian Suzanne Moore said events are  “very inspiring and motivational to other writers.” She and other readers enjoy the festival because it gives readers a chance to come together and discuss literature, as well as participate in writing workshops with featured authors.

There are a variety of events being held during Sept. 13-17.

Tuesday, Sept. 13

  • 10:30 a.m.  Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer. Songs and learning for Birth to Age 5 and Adults. Sing to Your Baby. Ashe County Public Library.
  • 3:30 p.m.  Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer. Singing together for Grades K-2, Parents, and Grandparents. Yodel-Ay-Hee-Hoo. Ashe County Public Library.
  • 7:30 p.m.  Elliot Engel. Literary performance. The Brilliance of Jane Austen. Ashe Arts Center. Tickets/Admission.

Wednesday, Sept. 14

  • 8:30-10:30 a.m.  Georgann Eubanks. Workshop. Writing Documentary Style Nonfiction.Reservation required. Ashe County Public Library.
  • 11:00 a.m.  Kevin Morgan Watson. Founder, Press 53. Navigating the Publishing Universe. Friends of the Ashe County Library feature presentation. Ashe County Public Library.
  • 1:30-3:30 p.m.  Jeremy Hawkins. Workshop. Unforgettable First Chapters. Reservation required. Ashe County Public Library.
  • 4:00 p.m.  Festival Read Discussion. A lively discussion and wrap-up of this year’s Festival Read, led by Susan Caddell. Ashe County Public Library.

Thursday, Sept. 15

  • 10:00 a.m.  Charlie Lovett shares tales from his mystery novels with a literary twist. Ashe County Public Library.
  • 12:00 p.m.  Literary Trails Luncheon with Georgann Eubanks. Boxed lunches, nominal charge, reservation required. Ashe County Public Library.
  • 2:00 p.m.  Diane Chamberlain, our Festival Read author, writes page-turning and captivating stories. Hear this bestselling writer at the Ashe County Public Library.
  • 4:00 p.m.  Sarah Shaber. Hear about Sarah’s wonderful character, Louise Pearlie, her WWII OSS service, and more.

Friday, Sept. 16

  • 9:30-11:30 a.m.  Darnell Arnoult. Workshop. Poetry and the Meaningful Specific. Ashe County Public Library. Reservation required.
  • 12:00 p.m.  Lunch with an Author. Informal discussions over lunch with our authors. Chat, ask questions, and share a meal. Sign-up to dine with authors Arnoult, Chamberlain, Hawkins, Lovett, Macy, and Shaber. Reservation required. Local restaurants/venues. Dutch treat.
  • 2:00 p.m. Beth Macy.  Join author of the NY Times bestseller Factory Man and hear about her upcoming book Truevine due out in October. Ashe County Public Library.
  • 4:00 p.m.  Jeremy Hawkins. Author of The Last Days of Video reads from and discusses his novel about a college town in North Carolina and the characters he created. Ashe County Public Library.
  • 7:30 p.m.  Telling Stories Live: An Evening of Song and Storytelling. Featuring Judy Cook and special guests. Ashe Arts Center.

Saturday, Sept. 17

  • 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.  Ashe County Farmers Market. Downtown West Jefferson on the “Backstreet.” Admission is free. Produce, craft items, and more are available for sale. Check out our vendors’ book favorites while you’re there.
  • 8:30 a.m.  Page Turner’s Breakfast. For OTSP Festival supporters. At the West Jefferson home of Chris Arvidson & Henry Doss. Reservation required.
  • 10:30 a.m.  Darnell Arnoult. Poet, teacher, and novelist Darnell Arnoult shares her new poetry book Galaxie Wagon. Ashe County Public Library.
  • 12:30 p.m.  On the Same Plate. Luncheon and panel discussion with Festival authors. Nominal charge, reservation required. West Jefferson United Methodist Church Community Room.

There are also postscript events being held, which include:

  • Sept. 24  ART on the Mountain! Fine art and cool crafts at the Ashe Arts Center. Outdoor art and crafts show featuring books and writers, pottery, fibers, painting, photography, woodworking, and more.
  • Oct. 7-9  To Kill a Mockingbird, Ashe County Little Theatre production.
  • Oct. 15  Wordkeepers, Ashe Arts Center

Ashe County Arts Council Program Director Rebecca Wiliams said the festival aims to promote reading and literacy in Ashe County. The festival is open to the public and includes anyone who is interested in literature.

Williams said those who enjoy reading will have a chance to meet the following featured authors:

  • Darnell Arnoult – Author of 2016’s Galaxie Wagon: Poems, What Travels With Us: Poems, and the novel Sufficient Grace. She is the winner of the 2005 Weatherford Award for Appalachian Literature and 2006 Southern Independent Booksellers Poetry Book of the Year. She is Writer-in-Residence at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN where she teaches in the creative writing program.
  • Diane Chamberlain –  Author of 24 bestselling novels, many of which are set in North Carolina. Some of her most popular books include Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister, The Broken String, and this year’s Festival Read Pretending to Dance. Diane likes to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends.
  • Elliot Engel –  Dr. Engel has written ten books published in England, Japan, Turkey, and the United States. His mini-lecture series on Charles Dickens ran on PBS television stations around the country. His articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and national magazines including Newsweek. He has lectured throughout the United States and on all the continents including Antarctica. Four plays which he has written have been produced during the last ten years.
  • Georgann Eubanks – The director of the Table Rock Writers Workshop, a founding member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and past chair of the North Carolina Humanities Council. She is a writer, teacher, and consultant to nonprofit groups across the country.  She is the author of the Literary Trails of North Carolina Trilogy and is currently at work on a book about North Carolina food.
  • Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer – Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer are talented singers, songwriters, instrumentalists, educators, and record producers, and their relationship with family audiences spans over 30 years of live performances and 20 award-winning recordings.  Fink and Marxer’s superb harmonies are backed by instrumental virtuosity on the acoustic & electric guitar, five-string banjo, mandolin, cello banjo, ukulele, percussion and many other instruments.
  • Jeremy Hawkins – His debut novel, The Last Days of Video, was published in 2015. His writing has appeared at Electric Lit-erature,Diagram, Pacifica, The Molotov Cocktail, and other venues. Hawkins is also an independent bookseller at Flyleaf Books, and he teaches creative writing at the Carrboro ArtsCenter.  He earned an MFA in Fiction from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, and he is the founder and lead editor of The Distillery, a web-based editing service.
  • Charlie Lovett – Charlie Lovett is a writer, teacher, and playwright whose plays for children have been seen in over 3000 productions worldwide. He worked as an antiquarian bookseller and served for more than a decade as Writer-in-Residence at Summit School in Winston-Salem, NC. He has written five books about Lewis Carroll, is the editor of the Lewis Carroll Review, and curated the Alice Live! Exhibition Tour for New York Public Library.
  • Beth Macy – Author of the New York Times best-selling book Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local – and Helped Save an American Town (2014) and the forthcoming Truevine: A Strange and Troubling Tale of Two Brothers in Jim Crow America. A former newspaper reporter who has long specialized in in outsiders and underdogs, Macy has won more than a dozen national journalism awards including a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard in 2010 and two Casey medals for her coverage of children and families.
  • Sarah Shaber – Sarah Shaber is an award-winning mystery author from North Carolina. Her historical mystery series, published by Severn House, begins with Louise’s War (2010). Shaber is also the author of the Professor Simon Shaw murder mysteries and a stand-alone horror novel,Blood Test, as well as the editor of Tar Heel Dead, a collection of short stories by North Carolina mystery writers.
  • Kevin Morgan Watson – Kevin Morgan Watson founded Winston-Salem’s Press 53 in October 2005 and serves as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief with a special focus on Short Fiction and Poetry. Press 53 has published over 150 books that have garnered more than 50 awards. Watson has worked with writers ranging from first-time published authors to winners of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize.

The featured authors are chosen a year in advance and the festival committee takes suggestions from attendees. The authors are chosen by their work, with most authors being local to North Carolina.

For next year, to celebrate the 10th annual festival, there will be returning authors based on popularity.

All events are open to the public, and most of them are free. There are some events that require reservations and/or tickets, due to limited seating. Call 336-846-2787 for details about tickets and reservations.

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