Four-day festival begins today in various venues in Brattleboro.
Four-day festival begins today in various venues in Brattleboro. (Courtesy Brattleboro Literary Festival)

BRATTLEBORO >> Since 2002 the Brattleboro Literary Festival has played host to over 400 authors who came to town sharing their love of books with other book lovers. Very fitting for a town rich in printing history and once called home to playwright/poet Royall Tyler and literary great Rudyard Kipling. For this year, the festival's 16th year, 70-plus authors from as close as Brattleboro to as far away as France will arrive for the four-day celebration to offer readings from their recent publications. Genres range from fiction, nonfiction, poetry, children's and mystery.

Cofounder Sandy Rouse said organizing this event takes a lot of money, and a lot time, and a lot of commitment. The 15 people on the committee and numerous volunteers begin planning the next year's festival as soon as October's festival is over. She admitted too, that the festival has gotten bigger each year, this year being the largest, and she sees the need to reinvent their approach. In a step toward that end, the festival became a nonprofit organization last May, making it easier to apply for grants from arts organizations.


But there is still a lot of technical details to plan, hospitality to arrange, promotion and marketing to line up for starters, all of which wouldn't be possible without these volunteers and the financial support of festival sponsors: Vermont Humanities Council, the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont Public Radio, Arch Capital, Bob and Ann Works, Tim Mayo, Stepanski Charitable Trust, Ben & Jerry's Foundation, School for International Training, Four Way Books and the New England Review, plus literary partners: Jenny Altshuler and Barry Green, Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, Brooks Memorial Library, Landmark College, Poets & Writers, Stepanski Family Charitable Trust, Write Action and of course, Sandy and Larry Rouse.

Rouse said, "What we tried this year – knowing it is an election year – we looked for books about hot topic issues like foreclosure, immigrants, books about political protests of different points of view, on social matters. We worked to find presidential historians such as Annette Gordon-Reed who is a Jefferson scholar and John Sedgwick, author of 'War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel that Stunned the Nation.'"

The readings, panel discussions, and special events by new and established authors are set to take place today through Sunday at downtown locations. All events are free and open to the public.

Festival schedule:

Thursday — 7 to 9:30 p.m.: Poetry Slam with Yusef Komunyakaa - Landmark College; 7 to 9 p.m.: Dance for Trains: A Collaboration of Poetry and Movement - Brattleboro Museum and Art Center

Friday — 7 to 8:15 p.m.: Idra Novey and Sunil Yapa — 118 Elliot (Fiction) ; 8:45 to 10:30 p.m.: Literary Death Match with Adrian Todd Zuniga — 118 Elliot

Saturday – 10 to 11:15 a.m.: Yusef Komunyakaa and Lia Purpura — First Baptist Church (Poetry); 10 to 11:15 a.m.: Jung Yun and Mia Alvar— Robert H. Gibson River Garden (Fiction) ; 0 to 11:15 a.m.: Kate Bolick and Charlotte Gordon — 118 Elliot (Nonfiction); 10 to 11 a.m.: Gordon Hayward — Latchis Theatre (Nonfiction): 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Clarence Major and Bonnie Jo Campbell – Robert H. Gibson River Garden (Fiction) ; 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.; Jay Parini and Doug Anderson – First Baptist Church (Poetry); 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.; Write Action Local Author Showcase – 118 Elliot (Fiction, Poetry); 1 to 2:15 p.m.; Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter Onuf — Centre Congregational Church (Nonfiction-History); 1 to 2:15 p.m.; Dana Spiotta and Sari Wilson — Robert H. Gibson River Garden (Fiction); 1 to 2:15 p.m.; Vermont College of Fine Arts Showcase — Laurie Alberts, Kerrin McCadden, Jodi Paloni and Porochista Khakpour — 118 Elliot – (Fiction, Poetry); 2:30 to 3:45 p.m.: David Means and Kia Corthron — Robert H. Gibson River Garden (Fiction); 2:30 to 3:45 p.m.: Harry Bliss and Josh Neufeld — 118 Elliot (Comics); 2:30 to 3:45 p.m.: Camille Rankine and Cate Marvin — First Baptist Church (Poetry); 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: John Sedgwick — Centre Congregational Church (Nonfiction-History); 3:45 to 5 p.m.: Paul Lisicky and Dani Shapiro — Centre Congregational Church (Memoir);

4 to 5 p.m.: Ted Reinstein — 118 Elliot (Nonfiction-New England History); 4 to 5:15 p.m.: Porochista Khakpour and Samantha Hunt — Robert H. Gibson River Garden (Fiction); 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.: Short Story Showcase – Jensen Beach, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Clarence Major, Rebecca Makkai, David Means, and Laura van den Berg — Robert H. Gibson River Garden (Fiction); 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.: Arun Gandhi, Evan Turk, Bethany Hegedus with Kirsten Cappy – Centre Congregational Church (family event): 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Hilltop Montessori presents Kate Farrell — Catherine Dianich Gallery (Poetry); 7:30 to 9 p.m.: Write Action open reading — Robert H. Gibson River Garden.

Sunday – 10:30 to 11:45 a.m.: Rebecca Makkai and Jonathan Lee — Robert H. Gibson River Garden (Fiction); 10:30 to 11:45 a.m.: Bill Littlefield and Glenn Stout — Brooks Memorial Library (Nonfiction-Sports); 10:30 to 11:45 a.m.: Rose Lucas and Joy Ladin — 118 Elliot (Poetry) 12 to 1:15 p.m.: Partridge Boswell, David Huddle, Tim Mayo — Vermont Voices — 118 Elliot (Poetry); 12 to 1:15 p.m.: Charles Bock and Robin Wasserman — Robert H. Gibson River Garden (Fiction); 12 to 1:15 p.m.: Péter Zilahy with Cara Blue Adams – Brooks Memorial Library (Fiction); 1:30 to 2:45 p.m.: Jorie Graham and Lawrence Raab — Centre Congregational Church (Poetry); 1:30 to 2:45 p.m.: Laura van den Berg and Meg Little Reilly — Robert H. Gibson River Garden (Fiction); 1:30 to 2:45 p.m.: Joe Mazur, Angela Palm, Larry Olmsted — Vermont Voices — 118 Elliot (Nonfiction); 2 to 3 p.m.: Lauret Savoy — Brooks Memorial Library (Nonfiction); 2:45 to 4 p.m.: Martín Espada and Reginald Dwayne Betts – Centre Congregational Church (Poetry); 3 to 4 p.m.: Nancy Marie Brown — Brooks Memorial Library (Nonfiction): 3 to 4:15 p.m.: Anna Solomon and Anne Korkeakivi — Robert H. Gibson River Garden (Fiction); 3 to 4:15 p.m.:Robin MacArthur and Jensen Beach — Vermont Voices — 118 Elliot (Fiction); 4 to 5 p.m.: Paul Mariani — Brooks Memorial Library (Poetry, Biography)

Children's events – Friday: 10 to 11:15 a.m.: Harry Bliss — Latchis Theatre — (School Event); Saturday: 1 to 2 p.m.: Katherine Hannigan — Oak Meadow at the Brooks House (Children); 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Evan Turk — Oak Meadow at the Brooks House (Children). Sunday: 12 to 1 p.m.: Susan Ross — Brooks Memorial Library Meeting Room (Middle Grade); 1 to 2 p.m.: Jef Czekaj — Brooks Memorial Library Meeting Room (Children); 2 to 4 p.m.: Windows to the Creative World – The Poetry Studio-Brattleboro Museum and Art Center; 3 to 4 p.m.: Jaimie Scanlon and Ellen Tumavicus – Brooks Memorial Library Meeting Room (Children).

Mystery events – Saturday: 1 to 2 p.m.: D.A. Keeley — Mystery on Main; 2:15 to 3:15 p.m.: Donna Decker — Mystery on Main; 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Emily Arsenault — Mystery on Main; 6 to 7 p.m.: Archer Mayor — Mystery on Main; 6 to 7 p.m.: Matt Spencer – Positive Geek. Sunday: 11 to 12:30 p.m.: Sisters in Crime (Sheila Connolly, Hallie Ephron, G.M. Maillet, Hank Phillippi Ryan) — Mystery on Main; 1 to 2 p.m.: Keith Donohue — Mystery on Main.

Mystery events are presented by Mystery on Main and Positive Geek

For parking tips and information about the authors visit

Contact Cicely M. Eastman at 802-254-2311 ext. 261.