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Dave Cullen, Joe Hill, Elizabeth Hand to speak at Blue Hill’s Word

Event organizer: Sarah Pebworth
Event Date & Time: October 24, 2019 4:00 pm until October 27, 2019 6:00 pm
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Location: Blue Hill, ME, USA

BLUE HILL—“Parkland” author Dave Cullen and novelists Joe Hill and Elizabeth Hand will be the evening speakers at Word, the literary arts festival making its third appearance in Blue Hill Oct.24-27.

Word’s daytime schedule will include conversations with New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum and Maria Russo, children’s book editor for The New York Times Book Review, as well as workshops for adults and children and the popular Poetry Crawl through downtown Blue Hill. A panel discussion organized by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance will address ethics in memoir.

Sedgwick composer Paul Sullivan and Bethel poet Richard Blanco will perform a collaborative words-and-music piece, commissioned by Word, exploring their immigrant roots—Sullivan’s Irish heritage, Blanco’s from Cuba.

The Word.Art show will return to Winings Gallery throughout the weekend.

Dave Cullen’s “Columbine,” his best-selling, award-winning account of the 1999 school shooting in Colorado, focused on the tragedy of the event. This year’s “Parkland: Birth of a Movement,” about the student activists who founded the March for Our Lives movement, is a tale of hope emerging from tragedy.

Cullen will kick the festival off at the Bay School’s Emlen Hall 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, in conversation with Brook Ewing Minner, host of the Bookworm show on WERU-FM. Abigail Jakub of Blue Hill, a College of the Atlantic student who was involved in 2018 “get out the vote” activities in Hancock County, will join them onstage for a portion of the evening.

The following evening at  7 p.m. Oct. 26, Joe Hill and Elizabeth Hand will appear in the Blue Hill Congregational Church. They will be interviewed by Laura Miller, Slate books and cultural columnist.

Hill is the New York Times bestselling author of “The Fireman” and a host of supernatural and science fiction novels, short stories, and comic books.  Much of his work has been adapted for film and television, and his Eisner Award-winning comic book series, “Locke & Key,” is an upcoming Netflix series.

The author of numerous award-winning novels and collections of short fiction, Hand may be best known for her series of psychological thrillers featuring noir anti-hero Cass Neary.  “Curious Toys,” a crime novel set in 1915 Chicago, will be published in mid-October.

“How to Raise a Reader” will be the topic at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, when Maria Russo will have a conversation with Pat Horton, former youth services librarian at Blue Hill Public Library. As children’s books editor at the Times Book Review, Russo reviews or assigns for review thousands of titles a year, from picture books to Young Adult. Her discussion with Horton will be at the Blue Hill Library and will coincide with a drawing workshop for children led by author/illustrator Charlotte Agell of Brunswick.

Emily Nussbaum will appear Sunday at 1 p.m. in conversation with Blue Hill Books owner Samantha Haskell, also at Blue Hill Public Library. The television critic at the The New Yorker since 2011, Nussbaum won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. She is the author of “I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way Through The TV Revolution.”

Paul Sullivan and Richard Blanco will perform their collaborative piece, as well as songs and readings, at Emlen Hall Sunday afternoon. Sullivan is a Grammy-award-winning jazz/classical composer and pianist. Blanco achieved national fame reading his poem “One Today” at Barack Obama’s second inaugural.

Workshop leaders this year will be Noel Paul Stookey and George Emlen (songwriting), Richard Blanco (poetry master class), Cynthia Thayer (getting unstuck), Elizabeth Minkel (fan fiction), Katherine Koch (memoir) and Mia Bogyo (bookmaking). Free workshops for all ages will be presented Saturday by Charlotte Agell (“Catch an Idea,” ages 5-9), Ellen Booraem (“Lighting Round for Writers,” ages 10-adult) and Mia Bogyo (bookmaking).

The Poetry Crawl through Blue Hill businesses on Saturday afternoon will feature former Maine Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl and fellow poets Sonja Johanson, Kifah Abdullah, Mark Statman, Marie Epply and Elizabeth Garber.

Organized by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, the ethics in memoir panel will include Taryn Bowe, Elizabeth Garber, Linda Buckmaster and Jaed Coffin. The discussion will take place Saturday at Blue Hill Congregational Church.

Word.Art, the annual show of word-related art at Winings Gallery, will feature work by Kifah Abdullah, John Baird, Kristy Cunnane, Katy Helman, Sonja Johanson, Katherine Koch, Buzz Masters and Jennifer Lee Morrow.

Workshop fees start at $35, and sign-ups will begin in late September. All other events are free and open to the public.

Word is funded by the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation and the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other generous donors. Word’s media partner is WERU-FM.

Information: or 207-374-5632.