Arts, Dining & Entertainment

Bookstock returns for its ninth edition

July 28, 29, 30—WOODSTOCK—One of New England’s premier literary festivals — Bookstock — returns to Woodstock for its ninth consecutive year on July 28, 29, and 30.

Situated at venues on and near the historic Village Green of Woodstock, the festival attracts over 40 notable presenters. Novelists, poets, historians, experts, memoirists, essayists, artists, activists, philosophers, and biographers discuss their latest works in informal settings.

Headlining the festival are two dynamic women: best-selling author Julia Alvarez, and quintessential Vermont artist, Sabra Field. The women have collaborated on a new picture book, “Where Do They Go?”, a beautifully crafted illustrated poem for children of all ages who have wondered what happens to those they love after they die.

Besides author presentations, Bookstock offers an exciting variety of related events.

The 7th annual juried exhibit of book art by artists working in New England or New York, opens on Friday at 5:30 p.m., at the ArtisTree Gallery in South Pomfret (about two miles north of Woodstock village). Visitors will have an opportunity to examine curious folios, recent grimoires, tomes turned to sculpture and some works having a relation to “books” in concept only. The theme of the show is simple: An exploration of what a book can be … art using books as a material or a format. Art lovers and bibliophiles alike can expect to be intrigued and inspired by the work found on exhibit this summer in “Unbound, vol. VII.”

A cutting edge virtual reality demonstration, produced by Champlain College’s Emergent Media Center, will enable individuals to experience the developing technology. Participants will enter a tent on the village green, don a helmet with build-in lenses, and experience a variety of virtually real three dimensional scenes, such as climbing to a mountain summit.

The village green will also be the setting for a performance of prize-winning one act plays by high school students, a Bob Dylan tribute band, a gigantic book sale, a literary market place for authors and publishers, plus food and activities for children.

On Sunday, Vermont filmmaker Jay Craven will screen his film, “Where the Rivers Flow North,” based on a book by Vermont author, Howard Frank Mosher, who died in January. Craven will relate his experiences with Mosher in bringing the author’s books to the screen.

Bookstock will present its usual collection of notable poets, led by Pulitzer Prize and T.S. Eliot Prize winner Paul Muldoon, and Molly Peacock, poet, essayist, biographer, memoirist and fiction writer.

The field of fiction is rich with writers. Three authors from Sisters in Crime, a national organization of mystery and thriller authors, will discuss their craft.

Jack Mayer, an author and practicing pediatrician in Middlebury, presents his novel that tells the story of how the Weimar Republic in Germany became the Third Reich. Jean Hanff Korelitz focuses on the life of a woman college president and the issues she faces, both professional and personal.

Other fiction writers include popular novelists Roland Merullo, Castle Freeman, Jr., and Brooke Herter James.

In the non-fiction field, Kevin Dann will discuss his new book on Henry David Thoreau, which received a full-page review in the “New York Times Book Review.” Jabari Asim presents his provocative book “The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t and Why.”

Philip Baruth will unveil his biography of Sen. Patrick Leahy; and John Rousmaniere, a mariner and maritime historian, will speak on writing about bad news — using his career as an example.

Historians are well represented. Stephen Long tells the story of the great 1938 New England hurricane. Delia Robinson writes about the horrific 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire. Sarah Prager chronicles the ignored stories of the LGBTQ figures throughout the ages. Marcos Stafne relates the history of Woodstock’s own John Cotton, pioneer founder of libraries and museums.

Bookstock will also have a super “Anything Goes” poetry slam, open to poets, comedians, magicians, musicians, marital artists and choral groups.

A special event will be a performance by singer and songwriter Chris Pierce, who also performs blues and roots music as the Reverend Tall Tree.

All events, except for the Chris Pierce performance, are free and open to the public. For a full schedule of events, and more information, visit bookstockvt.org.

Photo courtesy of Bookstock

Author Julia Alvarez, left, and artist Sabra Field, right, will read from and discuss their new book at Bookstock.

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