CASTINE — On Aug. 6-7 the Castine Arts Association will celebrate the works of Castine-connected writers through a series of programs and presentations highlighting the work of those writers created and/or published during 2019 to the present time. Held at Emerson Hall, 67 Court Street Castine, “The Things They Wrote. The Stories They Told” will showcase poetry; fiction; non-fiction; children’s literature; memoir; playwriting; essays; collaborative works; collections. We also plan to have several open mic sessions focused on prose and poetry. Also, we will build in time for the purchase and signing of books supported by the Compass Rose Book Store. 

Following a welcome to the two-day event and an open mic session featuring non-fiction writing, at 7:30 p.m., Keynote Speaker Peter Davis will speak on “Writing During COVID.” He will also share a chapter from his upcoming book, followed by a period of Q & A. “Peter Frank Davis, is an American filmmaker, author, novelist and journalist. His film Hearts and Minds, about American military action in Vietnam, won the Best Feature Documentary Academy Award in 1974. “

At 10 a.m., Saturday morning, nationally acclaimed children’s book authors Connie and Peter Roop will kick off the day’s programs. “Together, Connie and Peter have written 100 children’s books ranging from historical fiction to nonfiction. Seven of their books are “Reading Rainbow” books, including Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, a Feature Book. Their books have received recognition from the National Association of Science Teachers, National Council of Teachers of English, the Children’s Book Council and the American Library Association. They have presented over 800 workshops for students, educators and writers in 26 states as well as Europe, Africa and Asia.” 

Following the Roop’s presentation, Johanna Sweet will talk about her children’s book and Moonbeam award winner Corona Island. Additional morning programs include Jean Lamontanaro discussing the challenges of being part of a publishing business during the past two years. In addition to her work at Penobscot Bay Press, Jean is the author of two beautiful children’s coloring books that focus on Maine images. 

After a break from noon until 1 p.m., at which time books may be purchased and signed, the afternoon sessions will begin with readings by Todd Nelson, essayist. “Todd R. Nelson is a writer and educator in Penobscot, Maine. His 35-year teaching career across the U.S., observations of rural life in Maine, and parenting the three Nelson children are the subjects of his many books of essays. His wife, Lesley Brody Nelson, a textile artist and painter, illustrated many of the book covers.”

Georgia Zildjian, the director of Castine’s Children’s Theatre Camp, will share her experiences in playwriting these past two years. 

Deborah Joy Corey is a Canadian writer and Castine resident whose first novel, Losing Eddie won the 1994 Books in Canada First Novel Award. Her books The Skating Pond and SettlingTwice: Lessons From Then and Now—in which Castine is prominently featured—have also met with critical acclaim. In addition, she is the author of numerous articles and stories, that have been published in such literary journals as Ploughshares, Carolina Quarterly, Crescent Review, Image, and Grain. 

Contributors to the Castine Writing Group’s Tenth Anniversary anthology, From Here and Away, will share readings from that collection, followed by Don Small reading from the soon-to-be published novel Margaret. 

An open mic poetry session will be followed at 5 p.m. by a presentation by Maine Poet Julia Bouwsma, whose most recent collection of poems, Midden, examines the Malaga Island tragedy from a variety of points of view. “Julia Bouwsma lives off-the-grid in the mountains of western Maine, where she is a poet, farmer, freelance editor, critic, and small-town librarian. She is the author of MIDDEN (Fordham University Press, September 2018) and Work by Bloodlight (Cider Press Review, 2017). Her poems and book reviews appear in Bellingham Review, Colorado Review, Grist Online, Muzzle, Salamander, RHINO, River Styx, and other journals. She is the recipient of the 2016-17 Poets Out Loud Prize, the 2015 Cider Press Review Book Award, and residencies from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and the Vermont Studio Center.”

After a dinner break, Annex Arts will launch its Novella Project book, A Knock at the Door, a pass-it-along writer project that took place last summer and resulted in the creation of four novellas, cooperatively written by 25 authors. All of the programs are free and open to the public. They will take place upstairs at Emerson Hall in Castine, where the following of Maine’s current mask-wearing guidelines are required. Distancing between seats will also take place. Come to one session — Come to them all! We invite you to celebrate these writers and provide them with a live audience with whom to share their words.