Lit News: River Arts Prepares for 'Celebration of Vermont Book Publishers' | Live Culture

Lit News: River Arts Prepares for 'Celebration of Vermont Book Publishers'


River Arts of Vermont building in Morrisville - COURTESY OF RIVER ARTS
  • Courtesy of River Arts
  • River Arts of Vermont building in Morrisville
Right now New York publishers are counting down to BookExpo America, the mega book-trade fair that takes place late every May in that city. Meanwhile, up in Morrisville, Vt., the folks at community arts center River Arts are planning a book fair on a rather smaller scale. It's a brand-new event called the Craft of Small Publishing in Vermont, subtitled "a celebration of Vermont book publishers."

Have you self-published a book? Then there could be a place for you at the event, scheduled for Sunday, June 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., "to kick off the summer reading season." River Arts is still seeking authors who'd like to reserve limited space to promote their books for a $20 participation fee.
In addition to the self-publishers, a diverse group of local small publishers has already signed on to appear at the event. They include Barnes MacQueen/Champlain Books and Fomite Press of Burlington, Chickadee Chaps & Broads of Montpelier, Green Writers Press of Brattleboro, Honeybee Press of Burlington and New Orleans, Sundog Poetry Center of Jeffersonville, Verdant Books of Rutland and Plowboy Press of Lyndonville. (Read more about the business of local micro-publishing here.)

The organizers have planned a slate of activities to accompany the book fair, including "a Vermont publisher panel, presentations by Vermont book artists, a curator-led introduction to treasures from the University of Vermont’s special collections, a hands-on bookmaking workshop [and] storytimes for children."

Vermont already has book festivals, of course — the Burlington Book Festival, Bookstock and Brattleboro Literary Festival bring authors from all over the country — but this event has a firm focus on the local book business. The idea of a Vermont book fair originated with Julia Shipley, a poet and frequent Seven Days contributor who snagged a notable honor last year; the Boston Globe named her Adam's Mark: Writing From the Ox-House one of its Best New England Books of 2014. She envisioned the event as similar to a farmers market, with "tables and tents of books" instead of veggies.

Shipley brought her idea to Tamra Higgins and Mary Jane Dickerson, codirectors of Sundog Poetry Center (which Shipley wrote about here) and to Dominique Gustin of River Arts. They partnered to bring it to fruition.

"Once we started talking about the idea, we started getting really excited," Higgins says in a phone interview.

The organizers plan to fill River Arts' second-floor main hall with local publishers, and a room with independent (self-published) authors who can reserve space on a first-come, first-served basis.

Why include the latter? "The whole publishing industry is changing," Higgins points out. "The people who self-publish are looking for more creative ways of getting their books and materials out there. The quality of self-publishing is improving all the time. We thought it was important for everyone to have a place to show their work."

The day's events will include two panel discussions: one of publishers and one of authors and artists speaking about their collaboration on illustrated books. Higgins says she's especially excited about the presentation from retired UVM Special Collections librarian Connell Gallagher (read a 2005 Seven Days story about him here). "He is going to have a really neat assortment of unique books," she says — volumes the public wouldn't normally get to peruse.

For information on participating in the fair, contact River Arts.

Here's a selective roundup of other literary news we've received this month:

When I was 9, I got my first typewriter, a green manual Olivetti. I prized it as my only way to produce the printed word. And if someone had told me that in the year 2015 young people would be using manual typewriters for fun and not because they had to, I might've spat chocolate milk at them.

But so it is. The future is a strange place. And on Saturday, June 6, 2 to 5 p.m., Vermont Vintage Typewriter will present Vermont's first Type-In at Maglianero Café in Burlington. Come to peruse a collection of manual typewriters, show off your own, test your speed on these vintage contraptions, and, perhaps, feel old.

The 2015 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize awarded by the Vermont College of Fine Arts literary journal Hunger Mountain went to Julie Cadwallader Staub for her poem "Milk." The Vermont poet's work has also been featured on Garrison Keillor's "The Writer's Almanac."

Do landscape, ecology or both play a strong role in your writing? Then you may be a good candidate for Sterling College's second annual Writing in Place workshop, to be held July 13 to 24 on the Craftsbury Common campus. "The workshop is for writers of all genres, be it nature writing, food writing, memoir writing, or any writing where place is essential to the narrative," says organizer Pavel Cenkl. Homesteading writer Ben Hewitt will be this year's guest author.

Goddard College has announced two new areas of concentration for its low-residency master of fine arts program in creative writing: TV writing and libretto writing. Meanwhile, VCFA's kids' writing MFA is carving out a name for itself with a roster of award-winning alumni. Former faculty member Jacqueline Woodson won the National Book Award last fall for Brown Girl Dreaming — an occasion that generated a viral video clip involving Lemony Snicket author Daniel Handler and some questionable racial jokes.