About BEACON LITFEST - PROGRAM - Sat June 17th

BEACON LITFEST - PROGRAM Sat June 17th – 11 to 5 followed by free cocktail meet and greet and book signings…!

The Beacon LitFest (BLF) is an exciting new venture for The Howland Cultural Center (HCC), the former library and ‘Jewel of Beacon'. The festival includes a series of celebrations of the literary arts. It will lead with “Hudson Valley Poets Present” on Wednesday, April 19, and on Saturday, June 17, will culminate in a day-long professionally-curated program of readings, interviews, performances, and Q and A. This will be followed, on Sunday, June 18, by three consecutive live writing and storytelling intensive workshops led by professional Hudson Valley writers.

Attendees will have the chance to engage with over twenty (20) of today’s most acclaimed, diverse, award-winning writers, playwrights, and poets in relaxed, interactive settings. Unique to the BLF, in addition to fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, is the inclusion of playwriting as a literary art and the addition of an American Sign Language (ASL) translator for portions of the program to increase accessibility.

The LitFest main program will be held Saturday, June 17, from 11 am to 5 pm with a midday break. Nationally and internationally recognized writers, poets, and playwrights distinguished in their respective fields will introduce highly-anticipated new work and share insights, experience, and advice on writing, publishing, and creating. Guest panelists that day is: Ginger Strand (nonfiction); Jamie Price, Ph.D. (nonfiction); Nigel Gearing (playwright); Donna Minkowitz (nonfiction); Laura Sims (fiction); Patricia Spears Jones (poet); Indran Amirthanayagam (poet); Martine Bellen (poet); Charlotte Meehan (playwright); and Danielle Trussoni (fiction) with her very special guest the New York Times and NPR puzzlemaster Will Shortz. 

REGISTER SEPARATELY FOR THE WORKSHOP for Sunday, June 18, from 10 am to 3 pm will include: Is It Memoir? Is It Fiction? with journalist and memoirist Ken Foster of Newburgh; Live Writing-A Poetry Project with poet and curator Ruth Danon, Ph.D. of Beacon; and From Stage to Page: Adding Drama to Narrative with Dramaturg, Writer and Producer, Shane Bly Killoran also of Beacon. 

The goal of the Howland Cultural Center BLF is to offer a variety of programming in Arts and Culture, draw attention to help correct unequal access to cultural participation, and expand accessibility to Beacon and its surrounding communities. Tickets for all live programs and performances will be offered at low cost to the public, and a percentage of free tickets and workshop seats will be reserved for community members of limited means. The main program of the festival will be recorded and made available on virtual platforms to reach a wider audience. Also, ASL translation will be available on Saturday June 17 to encourage participation of the deaf community.


Patricia Spears Jones; Poet, educator, cultural activist. Winner of the prestigious 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers. Author of many collections, new work The Beloved Community, Copper Canyon Press in 2023. Organizer of the American Poets Congress. Senior Fellow Emeritus of the Black Earth Institute. www.psjones.com.https://psjones.com/patricia-spears-jones/

Indran Amirthanayagam; Poet, essayist. Multi-lingual Sri-Lankan-American translator in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole. Most recent collection of poetry Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant in 2023. Work widely anthologized. Editor and publisher at Beltway Editions.https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/indran-amirthanayagam

Donna Minkowitz; Author of Growing Up Golem, finalist for Lambda Literary Award and Judy Grahn nonfiction award. Work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, and others. Columnist for the Village Voice seven years. Lives in Beacon and curates LiLit open mic. https://donnaminkowitz.com/

Nigel Gearing; Dramatist and translator. Work produced in the UK, USA, and Europe. Author of numerous plays and stage adaptations, including Dickens in America,The Queen of Spades, and Blue Heart Afternoon. Numerous plays and adaptations for BBC Radio. Film scenarios including Ascendancy and Intimacy, both winners of Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival. http://blakefriedmann.co.uk/nigel-gearing

Laura Sims; Author of the critically-acclaimed novel, Looker--in development with HBO Max. Second novel, How Can I Help You, forthcoming from Putnam in 2023. Four poetry collections; Award-winning essays and poems in The New Republic, Boston Review, Conjunctions, and more. http://www.laurasims.net/about/

Danielle Trussoni; Top 10 bestselling novelist New York Times, USA Today, Sunday Times. Past Pulitzer Prize in Fiction jurist, "Dark Matters" columnist for New York Times Book Review. Created Writerly podcast on the art and business of writing. Latest novel, The Puzzle Master, scheduled for release in June 2023 by Random House, has already won the 2023 Prix Bête Noire des Libraires in France. https://www.danielletrussoni.com/about/

Special Guest: Will Shortz; Famed crossword puzzle editor of The New York Times since 1993. Puzzle master for NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday.” Created riddles for the film Batman Forever, guest star:The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother. Subject of award-winning documentary Wordplay.