Brattleboro Literary FestivalMore than 50 authors were loose on the streets of Brattleboro, Vermont, for the fun and successful Brattleboro Literary Festival!

The Literary Death Match was hilarious–Adrian Todd Zuniga as host. Roxana Robinson read against Rigoberto Gonzales , while Pam Houston read against Christopher Castellani. And it was the women, with the help of squirrels, who advanced to the final round–which turned out to be a spelling bee, not of words but of authors’ last names. Pam phoned a friend–me (ha)–for help with the spelling of Achebe. But she lost points on Ondaatje and Solzhenitsyn. Roxana won on Eugenides. Steve Yarbrough judged on literary merit , Carmelita Tropicana (in snakeskin) on performance, and Tom Bodett (in a fedora) on Intangibles (or as he put it, on Je ne sais quoi). I haven’t laughed that much in a long time. Already looking forward to next year.

Our panel on Building Communities of Readers and Writers, with Jodi Paloni as moderator, was lots of fun. David Abrams talked about his blog, The Quivering Pen, and World Book Night. Erika Anderson, who teaches at Sackett Street Writers Workshop in NYC, talked about how she uses Twitter, and I talked about Catching Days, sprinkling in a quote from Apollo 13: “You never know what events are to transpire to get you home.” Figure that one out : ) Questions from the audience led to a discussion about MFA programs and their pre-made communities.

vermont leavesReadings took place all day Saturday and Sunday–Christine Schutt, Chris Bohjalian, Alexis Smith, Kris Jansma, Sophie Cabot Black, Howard Norman–with books flying off the tables and writers being stopped on the streets for signatures. Matthew Limpede, editor in chief of Carve Magazine, and Leah Miller, an editor at Random House’s Crown Publishing Group, held an informal talk on the editing process. The rain only seemed to make the weekend cozier and the leaves more colorful.

The Author Dinner Saturday night took place at The Gleanery in Putney, where the food was freshly grown just down the way. I wish I had taken some photos. Still tasting the delicious beet salad and the squash.

what books (be honest)What Books (be honest) Are On Your Nightstand/Bedside Table, Dede Cummings’ Facebook Book Group, created a series of fantastic posters that decorated the walls of the Gibson River Garden.

Many thanks to Sandy Rouse, the director of the BLF, who, due to a last minute injury, missed it all! Thanks also to the many volunteers, including Jodi Paloni, Cynthia Larsen, and Suzanne Kingsbury. It’s not too late to donate. And be sure to mark your calendar for next year–October 3-5, 2014!