Bookstock Is Back!
June 24th - June 26th
You can even hire a poet.
Nothing says summer like Bookstock. Authors reading from their works, sometimes above the whirr of fans chasing the heat back outdoors, readers queueing up in front of tables while clutching books to be autographed, workshops for writers, and the mother of all used-book sales that pours across the entire Woodstock Green. If you read, write, or love books, this is paradise. After its absence during the peak pandemic years, Bookstock is finally back, a not-so-small mercy.
Author Joni B. Cole stepped in as director of this year’s Bookstock. I had a few questions for her:
Not that there needs to be, but aside from the individual authors, is there anything new about this year’s Bookstock?
Bookstock has always had a tradition of bringing in a great mix of cross-cultural authors across genres, but this year we tried to cast an even wider net. Also, in relation to the author events, we focused as much on fun or meaningful themes, as individual name authors. For example, we have a lot of pairings of authors who will be discussing topics like how to write a war story, or what it takes to get a mystery published, or dinner-table dialogues between two married authors, one a poet and the other a true-crime writer. Another example is our Friday night featured event, with three heavy-hitter authors and seasoned experts on espionage, discussing "leaks, sneaks, and other assorted spy stories." (The heavy hitters are Valerie Plame, Robert Kerbeck, and the Upper Valley’s own Thomas Powers.)
Well, I suppose you are new to the enterprise. And busy. What inspired you to take on directing Bookstock this year?
I loved the idea of having an excuse to reach out to some of my favorite authors, or discover new ones thanks to lots of recommendations and queries from near and far. I do a podcast called "Author, Can I Ask You?" so I was already comfortable with this kind of outreach . . . Bookstock also gave me the chance to work with a great team [including] three of Bookstock's board members, Peter Rousmaniere, Nan McCann, and Dave Whitney, who put in hours and hours of hands-on effort, and . . . .manager RJ Crowley, the person responsible for putting the "festival" in this literary festival. It's also been great getting better acquainted with the town of Woodstock, and the people who run the venues hosting our events, and especially Kari and Kristian at Yankee Bookshop who are beloved in town.
Cole commented that attendees this year will see the expansion of the "festival" part of Bookstock that centers on the Green. In addition to the aforementioned used book sale, and Yankee Bookshop's tent where books by all the presenters will be available for purchase, there will be more live music, food, and author signings throughout the three days of the festival. Poets for hire will have their own tent.
Authors each year include the winners of prestigious literary awards and emerging writers both “from away” and from the Upper Valley and its environs. Ayad Akhtar writes books and plays; you may have caught a production of his Pulitzer Award-winning “Disgraced” at Northern Stage. Archer Mayor and Sarah Stewart Taylor are beloved local mystery writers who are presenting together in “Two Crime Novelists. Ten Burning Questions.” Jeff Sharlet (if you haven’t yet, read his “This Brilliant Darkness”) is a professor of writing at Dartmouth College. Sydney Lea, Chard deNiord, and Mary Ruefle are past, past and current Vermont poets laureate, respectively. A complete list of authors and their (impressive) individual biographies can be found here.
Down the road in Pomfret, Vermont, Artistree Community Arts Center is presenting an exhibition in coordination with Bookstock. The theme of "UNBOUND VOL. X" “encompasses all of the possibilities of what we may think or may not think a "book" is. Is it story? An entry to another world? An exploration? What does it indicate? This show looks to explore this idea of "the book" and all the ways artists use that format as a stepping-off point or as material to explore new ideas.” Opening Reception: Friday June 24th, 4:30-6:30pm. Exhibit Dates: June 24 - July 16, 2022.
Located in Woodstock, Vermont, Bookstock (June 24 - 26) is free, and all venues are walkable from the town’s center. The public is invited to attend and “be part of the story.” See the schedule of events on Bookstock’s website.
(Top three photos courtesy of Bookstock, bottom photo courtesy of the artist and of Artistree.)
Welcome! You’re reading Artful, a blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley, and I hope you’ll subscribe and then share this with your friends and on your social media. And in case you are wondering . . .
Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.