The Festival Recorder – Authors and artists starts monthly discussion groups on the book, workshops in view of the 2021 event

After a successful first year that saw the Festival of Authors and Artists reach over 1,000 audience members, the organizers have scheduled an associated program that begins this week and leads to the 2021 Honoring Nature-themed festival.

These programs start this Sunday and will continue for the rest of the year. This Sunday, September 6, the first free monthly book discussion group will meet virtually from 11:00 to noon to discuss the topics of author Dr. Sherri Mitchell’s “Holy Instructions”. According to a press release, Mitchell is an indigenous lawyer and writes about the sacred teaching of the Penobscots as a way to help heal the Earth.

“Drawing on ancestral knowledge and his experience as a lawyer and activist, Mitchell addresses some of the most crucial issues of our day, such as environmental protection and human rights,” reads the website of the Authors and Artists Festival. “For those seeking change, it offers a range of indigenous cultural values ​​that will preserve our collective survival for future generations.”

Registration for the free book discussion and reading groups is available online at autoriandartistsfestival.wordpress.com. Discussions will be held from 11:00 to 12:00 on the first Sunday of each month between September and the February 2021 festival. Each month will focus on a book written by a speaker from the Authors and Artists Festival.

“You mustn’t have read anything,” organizer Lisa McLoughlin said. “Each book has something truly fantastic to say about nature and the environment. We will have a conversation using the books as a starting point. “

McLoughlin worked hard to plan the programs during the fall and plan the February festival. In addition to reading groups, workshops focusing on art will be held once a month starting in October.

Each workshop will focus on topics from blogging to wildlife photography or poetry. He said that while the 2020 festival was successful, organizers felt there wasn’t enough participation from artists, and they were mostly authors.

“The workshops will give the opportunity to show dance, photography and more,” McLoughlin said.

While some of the associated programs will see audience members charged for a ticket, McLoughlin said much of the proceeds will be donated by the artists to support the festival. He said this was one of the ways they were trying to become less dependent on grants to organize the festival. To apply for a “scholarship” or reduced fee, please email McLoughlin at lisa@hemlockhouse.net.

The first seminar, “Writers Listening to Nature” with Christian McEwen will be held next month, October 24 from 1pm to 3pm and costs $ 25. To register, go to bit.ly/3hIJXDm or autoriandartistsfestival.wordpress .com.

“One of the great joys of life is finding time to listen, both for the scattered wonders of the conversation and for the many voices of the non-human world: the singing of birds, the wild wind, the sweep of the river”, reads the site festival website. “In this brilliant fall seminar we will identify sources to the listener’s delight and share ways to turn them into poems, songs and stories.”

In addition to helping audiences get excited about the 2021 virtual festival, McLoughlin said scheduling throughout the fall will give residents something to do while they stay inside and socially distant. This year’s 2020 online festival involved 61 authors and artists both adults and children, reaching over 800 audience members.

This year all programming will also be online and will feature keynote speakers, poets and new associated programs in the months leading up to the festival, providing the opportunity for speakers and audience members to create and learn over the next six months. This includes the hands-on workshops, some of which charge a salary for the benefit of the festival, and the free reading series on the first Sunday of each month. More information and a complete list of speakers for monthly reading groups and seminars, as well as registration links, can be found at https://bit.ly/3gLyIsH.

Sponsors for the 2021 festival and its events include Greenfield Cooperative Bank; Northfield’s Dickinson Memorial Library, Northfield Historical Commission, New England Grass Roots Environmental Fund, Northfield Area Business and Tourist Association, Northfield Kiwanis, Deerfield Valley Art Association, and Northfield Parent Teacher Organization. The Erving Public Library will also be a partner this year.

Videos from the Authors and Artists 2020 festival are available on McLoughlin’s YouTube page at https://bit.ly/2QFH7TQ.

Zack DeLuca can be contacted at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.

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