A few weeks ago I was a guest author at the Newburyport Literary Festival up along the coast of Massachusetts. It's a beautiful old brick town on a river, just south of some popular surfing spots in New Hampshire. I drove up to one of them early that Saturday morning with my board in the back of the car, hoping to paddle out, only to arrive at the beach and realize I'd forgotten my wetsuit. Whoops.
The festival, now in its seventh year, was great fun. A whole bunch of smart, attentive kids came to listen to me talk about writing, reading, and FISH at Newburyport's beautiful public library; I'm amazed they sat through it on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
The kids definitely appeared to be budding writers - they asked incredibly sharp questions - and the adults were fun too. I especially enjoyed the grandmother kept questioning me, doubting that I really make a living as a writer.
The festival was also a nice chance to meet some other writers, including the great Rodman Philbrick, author of Freak the Mighty. I'd never read the book, but I whipped through it after hearing him speak, and it's one of the best I've read in a while. The narrative voice is incredible, and there's so much happening behind the words.
Listening to Elisha Cooper discuss his books and art was also a real pleasure. I'm looking forward to reading a few of his works to my kids.
There were numerous adult authors in attendance as well, but honestly, who wants to listen to grown-ups? I'll take sixty-year-old kids any day.
The Festival happens every April, I believe, and it's free. If you're in New England, check it out next year.