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Festival Days


Jo Ann Beard
Festival Days

Jo Ann Beard is the author of the groundbreaking collection of autobiographical essays, The Boys of My Youth, and the novel, In Zanesville. Her new, highly acclaimed essay collection, Festival Days, was published in March. Beard’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Essays, and other magazines and anthologies. She has received a Whiting Foundation Award and nonfiction fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and she teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College.


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Carin Pratt grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts and graduated with a degree in German Studies from Harvard University. Carin moved to Strafford, Vermont, eight years ago from Washington D.C. where she worked at CBS News for 27 years, the last 20 of those years as Executive Producer of Face the Nation. Her husband, John Echeverria, is a professor at Vermont Law School, and she has two grown sons.

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When “The Fourth State of Matter,” her now famous piece about a workplace massacre at the University of Iowa was published in The New Yorker, Jo Ann Beard immediately became one of the most influential writers in America, forging a path for a new generation of young authors willing to combine the dexterity of fiction with the rigors of memory and reportage, and in the process extending the range of possibility for the essay form. 

Now, with Festival Days, Beard brings us the culmination of her groundbreaking work. In these nine pieces, she captures both the small, luminous moments of daily existence and those instants when life and death hang in the balance, ranging from the death of a beloved dog to a relentlessly readable account of a New York artist trapped inside a burning building. She will be in conversation with retired CBS News Executive Producer of Face the Nation, Carin Pratt.

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