Brattleboro Literary Festival Brattleboro Literary Festival


The 2021 Brattleboro Literary Festival is celebrating its 20th year.

Books presented at the 2021 virtual festival from 60 authors will cover a range of topics: rebellious women and feminist cowboys, homelessness, former presidents, immigration, political upheaval, Banksy, aging, writers and lovers, fake accounts, literary history Mississippi, New York, New Mexico, hurricanes, and pandemics. And so many with books that were adapted to film. Endless Love, Waking the Dead, The Sweet Hereafter, Affliction, Household Saints, Admission...and more!

Zoom links to register are included in the session descriptions below, or use the links below this paragraph.

 ONE TIME  registration for each genre (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Panel sessions) will register you for ALL sessions in that genre.

Register for ALL 11 Fiction Sessions

Register for ALL 13 Non-Fiction Sessions

Register for ALL 8 Poetry Sessions

Register for ALL 7 Panel & Other Sessions

A special offering in collaboration with Simon & Schuster, is a session at 7:00PM, Thursday, October 14, with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa on their newest book on the Trump presidency, PerilRegister here to receive a link to the event. This event is hosted by S&S and not the Brattleboro Literary Festival.

See you online beginning Thursday, October 14!


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Thursday, October 14, 2021

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Poetry, Identity, and Coming of Age
Diana Whitney
Diana Whitney
You Don’t Have to be Everything
Joy Ladin
Joy Ladin
Book of Anna
Lynn Melnick
Lynn Melnick
Landscape with Sex and Violence

Diana Whitney’s inclusive anthology for teen girls, You Don’t Have to Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves, was released by Workman Publishing to critical acclaim and became a YA bestseller.The poems in this collection speak candidly about rage, shame, desire, depression, sexual violence, body image, self-love, gender identity, and much more.

In this virtual event, four poets from the anthology—Leslie Marie Aguilar, Joy Ladin, Lynn Melnick and editor Diana Whitney— read their own poems and talk about the project. They’ll discuss how poetry has been a path for self-discovery and self-acceptance of their younger, and now adult, selves; how poems can facilitate empathy for self and others; and the important role poetry plays in allowing us to re-imagine and re-write our identities and stories.

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Bob Woodward & Robert Costa--Peril

Join us for this special virtual event with #1 internationally bestselling author Bob Woodward and acclaimed reporter Robert Costa as they discuss Peril, the extraordinary story of the end of one presidency and the beginning of another. 

Mindy Marqués, Vice President and Executive Editor, Simon & Schuster, will moderate. 

Please register here-- Simon & Schuster Event: Peril by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa --and a link will be sent to you later.

Simon & Schuster requires this: By registering, you also agree to receive email updates from Simon & Schuster and agree to the privacy policy and terms of use.

Friday, October 15, 2021

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Banksy: Completed
Carol Diehl
Carol Diehl
Banksy: Completed

Banksy is the world's most famous living artist, yet no one knows who he is. For more than twenty years, his wryly political and darkly humorous spray paintings have appeared mysteriously on urban walls around the globe, generating headlines and controversy. Art critics disdain him, but the public (and the art market) love him. In her new illustrated book, Banksy: Completed, artist and art critic Carol Diehl is the first to explore the Banksy mystery in depth, revealing unexpected roots in such diverse sources as Greek mythology and post-Holocaust political theory.

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A Creative Force
Kia Corthron
Kia Corthron
Moon and the Mars
Shanta Lee Gander
Shanta Lee Gander
GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA
Farah Jasmine Griffin
Farah Jasmine Griffin
Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature
Bernice L. McFadden
Bernice L. McFadden
Praise Song for the Butterflies

The creative process has long been explored through time, but what does creativity look like through an intersectional lens?  Join us for this conversation with authors Farah Jasmine Griffin, Bernice McFadden, Kia Corthron, as they embark on a conversation with author and artist Shanta Lee Gander.  The conversation will be exploring what creativity means within a moment we are all recognizing as another Black Renaissance for Black creativity.

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Saturday, October 16, 2021

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One Mighty Irresistible Tide
Jia Lynn Yang
Jia Lynn Yang
One Mighty and Irresistible Tide

The idea of the United States as a nation of immigrants is at the core of the American narrative. But in 1924, Congress instituted a system of ethnic quotas so stringent that it choked off large-scale immigration for decades, sharply curtailing arrivals from southern and eastern Europe and outright banning those from nearly all of Asia. 

Jia Lynn Yang’s book, One Mighty Irresistible Tide, is a riveting narrative filled with a fascinating cast of characters, from the indefatigable congressman Emanuel Celler and senator Herbert Lehman to the bull-headed Nevada senator Pat McCarran, Jia Lynn Yang recounts how lawmakers, activists, and presidents from Truman through LBJ worked relentlessly to abolish the 1924 law.

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Cultural Myths
Sanjena Sathian
Sanjena Sathian
Gold Diggers
Kirstin Valdez Quade
Kirstin Valdez Quade
The Five Wounds

A myth is often a traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes. Sanjena Sathian’s book Gold Diggers is a magical realist coming-of-age story that skewers the model minority myth to tell a hilarious and moving story about immigrant identity, community, and the underside of ambition. Discovering that his love is the beneficiary of an ancient, alchemical potion made from stolen gold—a “lemonade” that harnesses the ambition of the gold’s original owner—Neil sees his chance to get ahead.  In Kirsten Valdez Quade’s The Five Wounds, it’s Holy Week in the small town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and thirty-three-year-old unemployed Amadeo Padilla has been given the part of Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for this role when his fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up pregnant on his doorstep and disrupts his plans for personal redemption.

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New England Poets
Jennifer Militello
Jennifer Militello
A Camouflage of Specimens and Garments
Peter Filkins
Peter Filkins
Water/Music

Exploring the space between nature and culture, the poems in Peter Filkins’ new collection  Water / Music anchor themselves in the timely and the timeless. Rich and diverse in their formal intricacy, they move with ease from narrative to meditation, from close physical observation to the haunts of memory, and from lyric sorrow to the pleasure of living in the world.

Jennifer Militello’s new collection,  The Pact,  confronts obsession, intimacy, and abuse―it offers an indictment against affection and a portent against zeal. Through love poems inspired by such disparate spaces as a British art museum and the reptile house of a local zoo, poems comparing a romantic affair to the religious cult at Jonestown and a mother’s role to a Congolese power figure bristling with nails, The Pact makes familiar themes new, odd, and deadly cutting.

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Culture and The Cold War
Michael Gorra
Michael Gorra
The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War.
Louis Menand
Louis Menand
The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War

The Cold War was not just a contest of power. It was also about ideas, in the broadest sense―economic and political, artistic and personal. In The Free World, the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize–winning scholar and critic Louis Menand tells the story of American culture in the pivotal years from the end of World War II to Vietnam and shows how changing economic, technological, and social forces put their mark on creations of the mind. In this, his follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Metaphysical Club, Louis Menand offers a new intellectual and cultural history of the postwar years. 

Menand will be in conversation with one of America’s most preeminent literary critics, Michael Gorra

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Parallel Lives
Heather Clark
Heather Clark
Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath,
Maggie Doherty
Maggie Doherty
The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s


In 1950s America, women were not supposed to be ambitious. In fact, women were respected for not pursuing their own careers and instead focusing their attentions on the home and family. Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton were born into this cultural moment and reached their formative years when this ideology of the dutiful woman was at its height. But if in 1950s America women of a certain class were supposed to sacrifice their own careers for those of their husbands, Plath and Sexton were having none of it. Join us to learn about the lives and art of these two legendary poets.

Heather Clark’s book is Red Comet: The Short and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath and Maggie Doherty’s book is The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the1960’s.

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Rediscovering Secrets
Francine Prose
Francine Prose
The Vixen
Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Fierce Little Thing

The past often comes back to haunt us; secrets bind us together and tear us apart.  Master storyteller Francine Prose brings us The Vixen, the story of a unlucky publicist. It’s 1953, and Simon Putnam, a recent Harvard graduate is hired by a distinguished New York publishing firm and has entered a glittering world of three-martini lunches and exclusive literary parties. But his first assignment—editing The Vixen, the Patriot and the Fanatic, a lurid bodice-ripper based on the recent trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, makes him question the cost. Because Simon has a secret that, at the height of the Red Scare, he cannot reveal: his mother was a childhood friend of Ethel Rosenberg’s and his parents mourn her death. 

In Miranda Beverly Whitmore’s Fierce Little Thing, Saskia is a damaged, lonely teenager when she arrived at the lakeside commune called Home. Two decades later, Saskia is shuttered in her Connecticut estate, estranged from the others. Her carefully walled life is torn open by threatening letters. Unless she and her former friends return to the land in rural Maine, the terrible thing they did as teenagers―their last-ditch attempt to save Home―will be revealed.

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Write Action Spotlight

Spotlight Reading features writers from The Brattleboro area who have published a book within the past year (allowing for Covid, this year within the past two years).

Within this group are both first published and much published writers. We are proud of the vibrant community of writers that are a part of Write Action.

Featuring Ed Burke, Sarah Cooperellis, Terry Hauptman, Toni Ortner, Shiva Shankaran and Lynn Valente. Moderated by Andy Burrows.


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Jimmy Carter, A Life
Jonathan Alter
Jonathan Alter
His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life.
Megan Mayhew Bergman
Megan Mayhew Bergman
Almost Famous Women

From one of America’s most-respected journalists and modern historians comes His Very Best, Jimmy Carter, A Life, the first full-length biography of Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth president of the United States and Nobel Prize–winning humanitarian. 

Jonathan Alter tells the epic story of an enigmatic man of faith and his improbable journey from barefoot boy to global icon. Alter paints an intimate and surprising portrait of the only president since Thomas Jefferson who can fairly be called a Renaissance Man, a complex figure—ridiculed and later revered—with a piercing intelligence, prickly intensity, and biting wit beneath the patented smile. 

Alter will be in conversation with author Megan Mayhew Bergman, who has written about Jimmy Carter and his legacy for the Guardian.

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Telling Stories With Poetry
Vijay Seshadri
Vijay Seshadri
That Was Now, This Is Then
Kerrin McCadden
Kerrin McCadden
American Wake

In his fourth collection, That Was Now, This Is Then: Poems, Vijay Seshadri affirms his place as one of America’s greatest living poets. The essence of Seshadri’s writing is conversation and he is fluent in an unusually wide range of forms — he ranges here from rhymed quatrains to fat blocks of prose — and his voice is typically chatty.

A New England poet equally at home in Ireland, Kerrin McCadden explores family, death and grief, apologies, and all manner of departures in her new collection American Wake. An “American wake” is what the Irish call a farewell to those emigrating to the United States. This collection by a writer of extraordinary gifts will appeal to readers who believe in the potential of carefully hewn words to unveil our world and our deepest feelings to ourselves.

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The Writing Life
Jean Hanff Korelitz
Jean Hanff Korelitz
The Plot, You Should Have Know (aka The Undoing)
Lily King
Lily King
Writers & Lovers

So what makes a writer successful? We hear about big splashy seven-figure deals, but those are definitely outliers in the industry. For the majority of authors, the true answer to that question is “not enough,” which goes to show writing the books you love is often a labor of love for the authors themselves. In Jean Hanff Korelitz’s book The Plot, Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written―let alone published―anything decent in years. When a student announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast. But then . . . he hears the plot. 

In Lily King’s Writers & Lovers, Casey, now 31,  is still holding onto her dream of being a novelist. Most of her artist friends have given up their artist dreams for more practical, and lucrative, endeavors; but Casey writes and makes ends meet by waitressing and walking her landlord’s dog. A former child golf prodigy, she now waits tables in Harvard Square and rents a tiny, moldy room at the side of a garage where she works on the novel she’s been writing for six years. 

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Another World: Poetry and Art by Young People from The Poetry Studio.
Ann Gengarelly
Ann Gengarelly
Another World
Tony Gengarelly
Tony Gengarelly
Art on the Spectrum: A Guide for Mentoring and Marketing Artists with ASD
Chard deNiord
Chard deNiord
In My Unknowing

Another World is an extraordinary book that features poetry and art by young people  (ages 5 to 17) from The Poetry Studio. Founded in 1995 by Ann Gengarelly, The Poetry Studio is indeed “another world” that inspires imagination and discovery. The students’ poems, in original and exceptional ways, invite us to remember the creative spirit and the importance of meeting with that part of oneself that is so often neglected. 

Chard deNiord is the  former Vermont Poet Laureate. deNiord is the author of seven poetry collections include In My Unknowing, Interstate, Speaking in Turn: a collaboration with Tony Sanders; The Double Truth, Night Mowing,  Sharp Golden Thorn, and Asleep in the Fire. DeNiord has also authored two books of  interviews with renowned American poets,  Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs: Reflections and Conversations with Twentieth Century American Poets and I Would Lie To You If I Could.

According to prize winning poet/professor, Bruce Smith “The students’ poems. . . are cracks in the construction, cures for the hurt, color for the bleakness, and challenges to the system.  These poems of love and rage are counter forces to unfeeling and silence.  They are maps to be consulted when navigating the world. . .”  Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People’s Poet Laureate for 2019-2022, has also commented:   These students' poems and art are so beautiful and refreshing - they ring of truth in a time of lies. We need them.

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Washington’s Washington
Robert Watson
Robert Watson
George Washington’s Final Battle

George Washington is remembered for leading the Continental Army to victory, presiding over the Constitution, and forging a new nation, but few know the story of his involvement in the establishment of a capital city and how it nearly tore the United States apart. 

In George Washington's Final Battle, Robert P. Watson brings this tale to life, telling how the country's first president tirelessly advocated for a capital on the shores of the Potomac. Washington envisioned and had a direct role in planning many aspects of the city that would house the young republic. In doing so, he created a landmark that gave the fledgling democracy credibility, united a fractious country, and created a sense of American identity.


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A Place Like Mississippi
W. Ralph Eubanks
W. Ralph Eubanks
A Place Like Mississippi
Steve Yarbrough
Steve Yarbrough
The Unmade World

The South has produced some of America’s most celebrated authors, and no state more so than Mississippi. Names such as William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Richard Wright and contemporary writers Jessamyn Ward, Natasha Tretheway and Kiese Laymon have created a literary legacy spanning decades and stretching across lines of class, gender, and race. 

One thing binds together these wide- ranging perspectives—the land itself. In A Place Like Mississippi, W. Ralph Eubanks explores those ties and the ways in which the Magnolia State has fostered such a bounty of expression. The stories haven’t always been easy to tell; even beautiful landscapes can’t obscure a complicated history. 

Eubanks will be in conversation with his long time friend and fellow Mississippi born author Steve Yarbrough

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The Poetry We Feel
Edward Hirsch
Edward Hirsch
100 Poems to Break Your Heart

In 100 Poems to Break Your Heart, poet and advocate Edward Hirsch selects 100 poems, from the nineteenth century to the present, and illuminates them, unpacking context and references to help the reader fully experience the range of emotion and wisdom within these poems. For anyone trying to process grief, loneliness, or fear, this collection of poetry will be your guide in trying times. 

Jane Hirshfield’s collection Ledger holds some of her most important and masterly work yet. From the already much-quoted opening lines of despair and defiance ("Let them not say: we did not see it. / We saw"), Hirshfield's poems inscribe a registry, both personal and communal, of our present-day predicaments. They call us to deepened dimensions of thought, feeling, and action. They summon our responsibility to sustain one another and the earth while pondering, acutely and tenderly, the crises of refugees, justice, and climate. 

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New York, New York, New York
Thomas Dyja
Thomas Dyja
New York, New York, New York

Dangerous, filthy, and falling apart, garbage piled on its streets and entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble; New York’s terrifying, if liberating, state of nature in 1978 also made it the capital of American culture. Over the next thirty-plus years, though, it became a different place—kinder and meaner, richer and poorer, more like America and less like what it had always been. 

New York, New York, New York, Thomas Dyja’s sweeping account of this metamorphosis, shows it wasn’t the work of a single policy, mastermind, or economic theory, nor was it a morality tale of gentrification or crime. Instead, three New Yorks evolved in turn. 

Dyja will be in conversation with photographer, political activist, and part-time New Yorker Jenny Altshuler.

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The Things We Lost to Water
Eric Nguyen
Eric Nguyen
Things We Lost to the Water
Julie Pham
Julie Pham
Their War: The Perspectives of the South Vietnamese Military in the Words of Veteran-Emigres i

In Eric Nguyen’s captivating novel, The Things We Lost to Water, an immigrant Vietnamese family who settles in New Orleans struggles to remain connected to one another as their lives are inextricably reshaped. When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. With time, she realizes she will never see her husband again. While she attempts to come to terms with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow. 

Former President Barack Obama selected this book for his summer reading list. Eric Nguyen will be in conversation with Julie Pham, who came here on a boat at the age of two. She is part owner of the Vietnamese newspaper in Seattle founded by her family. 

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Latinx Voices
Deborah Paredez
Deborah Paredez
Year of the Dog

Tomas Morin’s new collection Machete addresses some of the concerns of life as a Mexican American in his home state of Texas. It is infused more generally with a fresh and zany take on the diversity of our culture, bringing together seemingly disparate scraps of history, geography, ideology, and sensibility—as here, where we find Willie Mays, Marx, moon shot, and a bit of miracle. In these poems, culture crashes like waves and leaves behind Billie Holiday and the CIA, disco balls and Dante, the Bible and Jerry Maguire. They are long, lean, and dazzle in their telling. 

In the tradition of women as the unsung keepers of history, Deborah Paredez’s second poetry collection, Year of the Dog, tells her story as a Latina daughter of the Vietnam War.The title refers to the year 1970―the “year of the Metal Dog” in the lunar calendar―which was the year of the author’s birth, the year her father prepared to deploy to Vietnam along with many other Mexican-American immigrant soldiers, and a year of tremendous upheaval across the United States.

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Legends of the West
Bryan Burrough
Bryan Burrough
Forget the Alamo
Jude Joffe-Block
Jude Joffe-Block
Driving While Brown: Sheriff Joe Arpaio versus the Latino Resistance

There's no piece of history more known to Texans than the Battle of the Alamo, when Davy Crockett and a band of rebels went down in a blaze of glory fighting for independence from Mexico, losing the battle but setting Texas up to win the war.

 However, that version of events, as Bryan Burrough shows in his Forget the Alamo, owes more to fantasy than reality. Just as the site of the Alamo was left in ruins for decades, its story was forgotten and twisted over time, with the contributions of Tejanos--Texans of Mexican origin, who fought alongside the Anglo rebels--scrubbed from the record, and the origin of the conflict over Mexico's push to abolish slavery papered over. Arizona has border issues of its own, many created by policies put in place by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was actually born and raised in Hartford, CT. 

In Driving While Brown, journalist Jude Joffe-Block and her co-author Terry Greene Sterling spent years chronicling the human consequences of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s relentless immigration enforcement in Maricopa County, Arizona. They tell the tale of two opposing movements that redefined Arizona’s political landscape—the restrictionist cause embraced by Arpaio and the Latino-led resistance that rose up against it.

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Families and Dictators
Sabina Murray
Sabina Murray
The Human Zoo
Dariel Suarez
Dariel Suarez
The Playwright’s House

Dariel Suarez’s book, The Playwright’s House, tells the story of a happily married, successful young Cuban attorney whose estranged brother Victor appears with news that their father—famed theater director Felipe Blanco—has been detained for what he suspects are political reasons, Serguey’s privileged life is suddenly shaken. A return to his childhood home in Havana’s decaying suburbs—a place filled with art, politics, and the remnants of a dissolving family—reconnects Serguey with his troubled past.

 In Sabina Murray’s book, The Human Zoo, Filipino-American Christina “Ting” Klein has just travelled from New York to Manila to begin research for a biography of Timicheg, an indigenous Filipino brought to America at the start of 20th century to be exhibited as part of a "human zoo." It has been a year since Ting’s last visit, and one year since Procopio “Copo” Gumboc swept the elections in an upset and took power as president. As days pass, Ting witnesses modern Filipino society languishing under Gumboc’s terrifying reign. Ting cannot extricate herself from the increasingly repressive regime, and soon finds herself personally confronted by the horrifying realities of Gumboc’s power.


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Sunday, October 17, 2021

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Unlikely Spies & Saboteurs
Arthur Magida
Arthur Magida
Code Name Madeleine
Judy Batalion
Judy Batalion
The Light of Days

In Judy Batalion’s book The Light of Days, a cadre of Jewish women in Poland—some still in their teens—helped transform the Jewish youth groups into resistance cells to fight the Nazis after witnessing the brutal murder of their families and neighbors and the violent destruction of their communities. With courage, guile, and nerves of steel, these “ghetto girls” paid off Gestapo guards, hid revolvers in loaves of bread and jars of marmalade, and helped build systems of underground bunkers. They flirted with German soldiers, bribed them with wine, whiskey, and home cooking, used their Aryan looks to seduce them, and shot and killed them. They bombed German train lines and blew up a town’s water supply. 

Arthur Magida’s book Code Name: Madeleine tells the story of Sufi spy Noor Inayat Khan. She was an introspective musician and writer, dedicated to her family and to her father’s spiritual values of harmony, beauty, and tolerance. She did not seem destined for wartime heroism. Yet, faced with the evils of Nazi violence and the German occupation of France, Noor joined the British Special Operations Executive and trained in espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance. She became a high-value target for the Nazis and when she was eventually captured, attempted two daring escapes before she was sent to Dachau and killed just months before the end of the war.

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Real .... and Unreal
Mateo Askaripour
Mateo Askaripour
Black Buck
Lauren Oyler
Lauren Oyler
Fake Accounts

The world is changing so fast that we often find ourselves asking…could that really happen? Did that really happen? Mateo Askaripour’s novel Black Buck is the story of Buck. Before Buck was the Muhammad Ali of sales, he was Darren: an unambitious twenty-two-year-old living with his mother and working at Starbucks. All that changed with a coffee order from the CEO of NYC’s hottest tech startup, resulting in Darren joining their elite sales team. On his first day Darren realizes he is the only Black person in the company, and when things start to get strange, he reimagines himself as ‘Buck’, a ruthless salesman, unrecognizable to his friends and family.

 In Lauren Oyler’s Fake Accounts, on the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration, a young woman snoops through her boyfriend's phone and makes a startling discovery: he's an anonymous internet conspiracy theorist, and a popular one at that. She's not exactly shocked by the revelation. Actually, she's relieved--he was always a little distant--and she plots to end their floundering relationship while on a trip to the Women's March in DC. But this is only the first in a series of bizarre twists that expose a world whose truths are shaped by online lies.

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The First Time
Shanta Lee Gander
Shanta Lee Gander
GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA
Alexandria Hall
Alexandria Hall
Field Music

What does it mean to move away from the shadow of one’s mother, parents, or family in order to come into being within this world? As collective memory within the Black diaspora has been ruptured, Shanta Lee Gander’s first poetry collection GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA time travels by creating and recapturing memory from a fractured past to survive in the present and envision a future. 

In her remarkable and assured debut collection Field Music, Alexandria Hall shows us daily life in rural Vermont, illuminating the beauty and difficulty inherent in the dichotomies of human language and experience.


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The Clock Mirage
Joseph Mazur
Joseph Mazur
The Clock Mirage: Our Myth of Measured Time

What is time? This question has fascinated philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists for thousands of years. Why does time seem to speed up with age? What is its connection with memory, anticipation, and sleep cycles?  

In his book The Clock Mirage, award‑winning author and mathematician Joseph Mazur provides an engaging exploration of how the understanding of time has evolved throughout human history and offers a compelling new vision, submitting that time lives within us. With a narrative punctuated by personal stories of time’s effects on truck drivers, Olympic racers, prisoners, and clockmakers, Mazur’s journey is filled with fascinating insights into how our technologies, our bodies, and our attitudes can change our perceptions. 

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The Nature of Memory
Russell Banks
Russell Banks
Foregone
Scott Spencer
Scott Spencer
An Ocean Without a Shore

At the center of Russell Banks new novel Foregone is famed Canadian American leftist documentary filmmaker Leonard Fife, one of sixty thousand draft evaders and deserters who fled to Canada to avoid serving in Vietnam. Fife, now in his late seventies, is dying of cancer in Montreal and has agreed to a final interview in which he is determined to bare all his secrets at last, to demythologize his mythologized life. It is a daring and resonant work about the scope of one man’s mysterious life, revealed through the fragments of his recovered past. 

Set in late nineties, Scott Spencer’s latest novel, An Ocean Without a Shore follows Kip, a gay man in his forties who works at a small investment firm and has been in love with his best friend since their college days. Thaddeus Kaufman, married with children, owns a property he can’t afford and as a persona non grata in Hollywood is struggling to succeed as a scriptwriter. When Thaddeus’ latest writing effort bear no fruit, he finds himself in need of a bailout, so he gives Kip a call. This is a spellbinding and elegantly written novel that touches upon many themes, such as loneliness, love, family, memory, and money. 

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The World We See
Chard deNiord
Chard deNiord
In My Unknowing
Elizabeth A.I. Powell
Elizabeth A.I. Powell
Atomizer: Poems

With Chard deNiord’s sixth collection of poems, In My Unknowing, we find ourselves in a world beheld by the spark of seeing, on the border of Platonic emission: a world of salt sorrow and red lust, coterminous with everything at once. It is a world about to evanesce, but is as yet legible to us in these masterful poems, which are in themselves a species of musical awareness. 

In Atomizer, Elizabeth A. I. Powell examines pressing questions of today, from equality and political unrest to the diminishing of democratic ideals, asking if it is even appropriate to write about love in a time seemingly hurtling toward authoritarianism. With honesty and humor, her poems explore fragrance and perfumery as a means of biological and religious seduction.

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Life’s Edge
Carl Zimmer
Carl Zimmer
Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive

We all assume we know what life is, but the more scientists learn about the living world—from protocells to brains, from zygotes to pandemic viruses—the harder they find it is to locate life’s edge. 

In his new book, Life’s Edge, Carl Zimmer investigates one of the biggest questions of all: What is life? The answer seems obvious until you try to seriously answer it. Is the apple sitting on your kitchen counter alive, or is only the apple tree it came from deserving of the word? If we can’t answer that question here on earth, how will we know when and if we discover alien life on other worlds? Life's Edge is an utterly fascinating investigation that no one but one of the most celebrated science writers of our generation could craft. 

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Are We Having a Moment? Writing poetry in the time of the pandemic and poetry’s resurgence in the culture
Vijay Seshadri
Vijay Seshadri
That Was Now, This Is Then
Shanta Lee Gander
Shanta Lee Gander
GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA
Diana Whitney
Diana Whitney
You Don’t Have to be Everything
Chard deNiord
Chard deNiord
In My Unknowing

Poetry has famously flourished in times of crisis—including pandemics past—thanks to poets and writers galvanized by suffering and confusion, from Boccacio’s Decameron in the 14th century to Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague in 1912 to Camus’ 1947 The Plague to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera in 1985. And certainly the electrifying effect of Amanda Gorman’s reading at the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20. Within hours of delivering her poem, the young poet went viral, and in a single day Gorman attracted more than two million Instagram followers. 

Poetry has enjoyed phenomenal success the last few years…from the rise of youth poets to online audiences. Poets Shanta Lee Gander, Jane Hirshfield, Vijay Seshadri, and Diana Whitney will discuss resurgence and how the pandemic has affected their writing. Moderated by Chard deNiord, this panel promises to be lively and illuminating.

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Children of Poverty
Kia Corthron
Kia Corthron
Moon and the Mars
Jakob Guanzon
Jakob Guanzon
Abundance

In Kia Corthron’s new novel,  Moon and the Mars, beginning in 1857, biracial seven-year-old orphan Theo Brigid Brook. She lives in Manhattan’s infamous impoverished Five Points district neighborhood in New York City with her Grammy Brook and Grammy Cahill, who are discriminated against for being Irish and Black, respectively. Theo observes the social upheaval and racial injustice leading up to the Civil War. 

Jakob Guanzon debuts with Abundance, a harrowing story of a man’s desperation and unyielding love for his son. Single father Henry has less than $100 to his name, and he’s planning on spending it on his son Junior’s eighth birthday present: a night in a hotel with a real bed and cable TV instead of sleeping in Henry’s truck. With each chapter name being the amount of money in his pocket, Guanzon’s descriptions of homelessness and grinding poverty are visceral 


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Ariana Huffington
Leah McGrath Goodman
Leah McGrath Goodman
Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is one of the world's most prominent business leaders in media. In her biography, Ariana Huffington: Media Visionary and Wellness Evangelist, journalist Leah McGrath Goodman provides us with a concise but richly detailed overview of Huffington's life and career As co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, Ariana Huffington built the first internet newspaper, which eclipsed the traffic of The New York Times and won the Pulitzer Prize. Creating a digital media empire from an investment of just over $1 million, she sold HuffPost to AOL in 2011 for more than $300 million. Considered to be one of the most influential women on earth, Huffington went on to establish Thrive Global, a wellness and technology start-up that aims to end the stress and burn-out epidemic.

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How Beautiful We Were
Imbolo Mbue
Imbolo Mbue
How Beautiful We Were
Clare Morgana Gillis
Clare Morgana Gillis
Windham World Affairs Council

Imbolo Mbue’s powerful second novel, How Beautiful We Were is set in the fictional African village of Kosawa and tells of a people living in fear amid environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of cleanup and financial reparations to the villagers are made—and ignored. The country’s government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interests. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. Their struggle will last for decades and come at a steep price. Mbue will be in conversation with Clare Morgana Gillis who is the Vice Chairperson of Windham World Affairs Council. 

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Life and Death
Mark Wunderlich
Mark Wunderlich
God of Nothingness: Poems
Dan Chiasson
Dan Chiasson
Math Campers

God of Nothingness is a book for those who have seen death up close or even quietly wished for it. In these poems, honed to a devastating edge, Mark Wunderlich asks: How is it we go on as those around us die? Exquisite in its craft and capaciousness, God of Nothingness is an unflinching journal of solitude and survival. 

An extraordinary, often mesmerizing engagement with the nature of identity and other existential trappings, The Math Campers, Dan Chiasson’s new collection of poetry, is a meta-kaleidoscope of literature and literary influence. A geometric swirl of the many faces of the author’s family and friends (particularly his teenage sons), it is colored and blended by the joy as well as confusion that accrues over our scarcely understandable stretch of time.

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Print Town Panel

Join area writers as they share stories from Print Town: Brattleboro’s Legacy of Words, a 297-page, richly illustrated book written by 32 local authors, edited by longtime W.W. Norton editor Michael Fleming with a forward by Dummerston’s Tom Bodett.

Five people who contributed significantly to the book will speak about the process of how it came about: John Hooper, Mike Fleming, Rolf Parker-Houghton, Andy Burrows, and Arlene Distler. Moderated by Olga Peterson. 


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The Agitators
Dorothy Wickenden
Dorothy Wickenden
Nothing Daunted and The Agitators

From the executive editor of The New Yorker, Dorothy Wickenden, comes a riveting, provocative, and revelatory history of abolition and women’s rights, The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights. In the 1850s, tells the story of America before the Civil War through the lives of three women Harriet Tubman rescued some seventy enslaved people from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and shepherded them north along the underground railroad. One of her regular stops was Auburn, New York, where she entrusted passengers to Martha Coffin Wright, a Quaker mother of seven, and Frances A. Seward, the wife of William H. Seward, who served over the years as governor, senator, and secretary of state under Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War, Tubman worked for the Union Army in South Carolina as a nurse and spy, and took part in a spectacular river raid in which she helped to liberate 750 slaves from several rice plantations.

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Survival
Anna North
Anna North
Outlawed
Jim Shepard
Jim Shepard
Phase Six

Anna North’s book Outlawed is the story of Ada. In 1893, on the day of her wedding, the 17 year old’s life looks good—she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows. She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid, who is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. 

Jim Shepard’s book, Phase Six, takes us not so far into the future with a prescient story that is by now all too familiar. In a tiny settlement on the west coast of Greenland, 11-year-old Aleq and his best friend, frequent trespassers at a mining site exposed to mountains of long-buried and thawing permafrost, carry what they pick up back into their village, and from there Shepard's harrowing and deeply moving story follows Aleq, one of the few survivors of the initial outbreak, through his identification and radical isolation as the likely index patient. Karen Russell said “If you’ve been waiting for the great novel of the COVID-19 era, it’s in your hands.With heroic humor and a poet’s ear and eye for what makes humanity worth saving...”


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Festival Days

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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Panel-Why Black Books Matter
W. Ralph Eubanks
W. Ralph Eubanks
A Place Like Mississippi
Farah Jasmine Griffin
Farah Jasmine Griffin
Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature
Glory Edim
Glory Edim
Well-Read Black Girl
Jason Broughton
Jason Broughton
Library of Congress

In her new book, Read Until You Understand,  Farah Jasmine Griffin asks these questions. What might engagement with literature written by Black Americans teach us about the US and its quest for democracy? What might it teach us about the fullest blossoming of our own humanity? Led by Jason Broughton (Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, Library of Congress), panelists Farah Jasmine Griffin(Read until You Understand), W. Ralph Eubanks(A Place Like Mississippi), and Glory Edim (Well-Read Black Girl) will reflect on these questions and why black books matter to everyone.

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