Never one to judge a Festival of the Book by its cover, C-VILLE compiled a handy online guide to some of the trends and tastier events that ruffled our pages. For a complete list of events, venues and times, visit vabook.org. But for a quick jaunt through literary ecstasy, read on!
If history has taught us anything, it is this: Any invocation worth its words begins with poetry. The first day of the festival is no different. At 2pm, catch either the karaoke event of all poetry jams with “Poets Reading Poets,” in which a trio of writers reads works by James Wright, Elizabeth Bishop and T.S. “This Wasteland is Your Wasteland” Eliot, or “Virginia History in Prose and Poetry.”
Of course, history also repeats itself. In what might be a tribute to the great presidential simile of 2009, today also offers two Abraham Lincoln-centered events—a craft-and-kids-book event, and “Lincoln: His Politics, His Times, His Assassins.” Competing with honest Abe? Returning poetry rock star Paul Muldoon and UVA faculty member Kevin Hart, who take the Culbreth theatre stage at 8pm.
While we’re thrilled to see former Daily Progress columnist Bob Gibson moderating a chat with political ideologues John Whitehead and Michael Signer (“Demagogues and Change: A Discussion of the Current State of our Democracy,” 2pm), today feels better suited to traveling than government. A trio of fiction writers (Rodes Fishburne, Susan Greggs Gilmore and Domnica Radulescu) encourage your wanderlust during a panel titled “Extraordinary Journeys,” while a group of boxcar buffs share railway tales at “All Aboard: Trains Past and Future,” both at 2pm.
For those of you who can’t get enough globetrotting, be sure to catch Peter D. Norton and Deborah Gordon at “What Are You Driving At? Cars, Culture, and an Impending Crisis,” at 4pm. The rest of us? Well, we have our tickets for Enoteca’s exclusive 4pm reception for Italian writers David Baldacci and Adriana Trigiani.
Feel empowered today, lit-wits: Friday seems designed to make you feel as if your voice counts, be it in matters of publishing (“Book Promotion 101” with Bella Stander at 9am) or politics (“America in Transition: Between War and…War” at 10am; “Can There Be Peace in the Middle East?” with CIA analyst Steven Ward at noon). What could make us skip the secrets of a CIA semi-spook? An honest-to-raven Edgar Allen Poe relative, Harry Lee Poe, and his insightful “Poe and the Imagination” event at noon.
The rest of the day belongs to the poetry rockstars, beginning with a Virginia Quarterly Review poetry series event featuring editor Ted Genoways and John Casteen IV at 2pm, and capped by the week’s arguable highlight—an 8pm reading from UVA poet Rita Dove to celebrate the launch of her latest collection, Sonata Mulattica. Joining her? The poetically melodic stringsmith of Dave Matthews Band, Boyd Tinsley. Nab your $10 tickets to this event at vabook.org.
The Omni Hotel becomes the featured destination this morning, as the festival’s seven-hour book fair event kicks off at 9am while the popular “Crime Wave” event series starts at 10am and peaks with the noon luncheon featuring Brad Meltzer, author of the century-spanning murder mystery The Book of Lies. Elsewhere, John Whitehead resurfaces with local political reporting guru and Slate.com contributor Dahlia Lithwick for “Covering the Court” at 2pm.
Looking to entertain the family? Drop the kids at the Carver Recreation Center at 2pm for “Hip-Hop Speaks to Children” with Beetnix emcee Damani Harrison, and send your political pundits in training to the screening of Virtual JFK at Vinegar Hill Theatre with authors Janet Lang and James Blight. Then dig your paws into local food issues with Caromont goat cheese wiz Gail Hobbs-Page and Charlottesville Cooking School owner Martha Stafford during “The Flavor of Local” at 4pm. Besides, you cook better without distractions, don’t you?
By today, the paper cuts have largely healed and your eyes have recovered from late nights spent poring over new paperbacks. And the Festival of the Book allows for that recovery by not tempting you with too many options. Although a couple—a 1pm Virginia Arts of the Book Center open house and a 3pm book signing by “WKRP in Cincinnati” actor and memoirist Tim Reid—are a bit tempting. Trust what tempts you, readers and writers—whether it means curling up with a new crime fiction hardcover or working that laptop into a frenzy over a poem. The words won’t wait.