Festival of the Book / Charlottesville, VA

by Alex Carrigan

photography by John Dijulio

Recently, a few members of Poictesme made their way from Richmond to Charlottesville to attend the annual Virginia Festival of the Book. It’s  five days long with events, readings, panels and fairs scattered around the nooks of Charlottesville. 

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The trip began at the Omni Hotel, where we attended a panel called “The Future of Literary Publishing.” The lecture featured Matt Dellinger of Byliner.com, Brigid Hughes of A Public Space of Graywolf Press, Jeff Kleinman of Folio Literary Management, and Ralph Eubanks of Virginia Quarterly Review. The panelists discussed where they saw literary publishing heading in the next few years. They touched upon how technology has been evolving publishing, including e-books, websites, and other forms of social media, as well as the impact of design.

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The bookfair was held in the Omni as well.  There were tables featuring publications and publishing groups. We were extremely pleased to meet up with the Virginia Quarterly Review, a favorite among our staff, and to be able to leaf through their new issue. We also discovered new groups such as Maven House Press, and Virginia Writers Club, Inc. One of our favorite discoveries was a merger of art and literature. The Virginia Arts of the Book Center were displaying recent creations: a collection of handmade books.

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Some of our staffers attended a poetry reading at New Dominion Bookshop, an independently owned bookstore. This reading featured poets Hailey Leithauser, Rebecca Lilly, and Jamie Reaser. These ladies shared selected poems from their published work, many of which tied to a central themes of nature and feminism. It was an hour of strong voices mixed with soft lyrical words.

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The trip was a good chance for our staffers to see the city and to learn more about the current state of Virginia’s writers and publishers. Our staff hopes to go to more events like this, where we will hopefully get the chance to hear from interesting people and collect interesting books and items.

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