2021 Authors and Artist Festival to include launch of anthology book from participating creatives

  •  The image “Photosynthesis,” by artist Martin Bridge, serves as the cover art for the anthology book “Honoring Nature: An Authors and Artists Festival anthology” forthcoming February 2021 from Human Error Publishing. Photos included in this article at right and below feature the work of contributing artists. Contributed Photo/Martin Bridge

  • Author Susan Cerulean. Contributed photo

  • Author Gay Bradshaw. Contributed photo

  • Joan Maloof. Contributed photo

  • Patrick Curry. Contributed photo

  • Christian McEewen. Contributed photo

  • Scott Russell Sanders. Contributed photo

  • Author Sherri Mitchell. Contributed photo

  • Deb Habib and Ricky Baruch. Contributed photo

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    "White Egret Fishing" by Marty Espinola. Contributed photo

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    "Embracing the Light" by Vic Berardi. Contributed photo

  • A sculpture by Nina Rossi, of Turners Falls. Contributed photo

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    "Over the Rainbow" by Robert Markey, of Ashfield. Contributed photo

  • A painting by Betty Lynne Wolfson, of Florence. Contributed photo

  • A painting by Laura Kaye, of Northfield. Contributed photo

  • A painting by Laura Kaye, of Northfield. Contributed photo

  • A photograph by Megan Adams, of Northfield. Contributed photo

Staff Writer
Published: 2/15/2021 8:38:33 AM

After a successful inaugural year, the Northfield Authors and Artists Festival has been holding monthly programs and is gearing up for its second full annual festival, themed “Honoring Nature,” as well as the launch of an associated anthology book.

This year’s full festival will be held Feb. 27 and 28. All programming will be conducted online and the festival will feature an international selection of headline speakers and poets. The 2021 Authors and Artists Online Festival: Honoring Nature, will last from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days and is free to attend.

To register for the festival or view the full schedule and list of headline speakers, which includes scientists, lecturers, famous environmental authors and nature writers, visit authorsandartistsfestival.wordpress.com.

“Early on some of the authors we had signed on had been writing on the theme (of nature),” said festival organizer and book editor Lisa McLoughlin. “It seemed to emerge among those who were drawn to the festival this year, so we decided to make it a theme.”

As the theme came together, so did the idea for an anthology book featuring the poems, prose and pictures of the participating authors, artists and poets. At the end of the first day, Feb. 27, all are invited to the book launch for “Honoring Nature: An Authors and Artists Festival Anthology” at 5:30 p.m. Many of the 38 writers and 10 artists featured in the book will join this informal online launch. To attend the launch, or to purchase the book, visit bit.ly/3s1muD7.

“The book itself is put together to tell a story about nature,” McLoughlin said.

The first section of the book is about “listening to nature,” she said. Authors and poets write about listening to plants, rivers and even the sky. Then the story moves to “use nature to talk about our own identity,” McLoughlin said. The poems and prose discuss identity, connection to human relationships, animals, plants and the greater web of the natural world.

Another section discusses the warming and destruction of the planet. McLoughlin said some of the writing expresses anger toward what’s happening with the world, before other pieces bring the reader back to finding “hope, and a way to live together in harmony with nature.” Spread throughout the anthology are pictures, drawings and collages from contributing artists.

The book also features two chapters of prose, the first of which tells stories based in art, science and adventure. A second chapter of prose touches on the theme of faith, which McLoughlin said emerged organically and is often intertwined with our connection to nature. Doug Harris, a retired tribal historic preservation office from a federally recognized Native American tribe, wrote an afterword on the enchantment of nature.

“The book takes you from observation to interpretation,” McLoughlin said.

Book proceeds support future A&A festivals, the contributing authors and artists, McLoughlin as the editor, and the publisher, Paul Richmond of Human Error Publishing. The book can be purchased for $20, and a package with the book and a ticket to the launch event can be purchased for $25 directly from the publisher by going to paypal.com/paypalme/PaulRichmond2020. Be sure to write if you are purchasing the anthology book, or the book and a ticket in the subject line. To purchase just a ticket to the launch without a book for $5, visit ko-fi.com/lismcloughlin.

AssociatedFebruary programs

Festival organizers have been hosting monthly associated events and February will see four more special events, some free and some paid, leading up to the festival launch.

On Feb. 7, for example, author Scott Russel Sanders met with a small reading group to discuss his new book, “The Way of Imagination,” in which he drew on his vast experience with environmental work to show how creativity and imagination will help solve the climate crisis. This reading group discussion was free to attend.

Upcoming on Feb. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m., Slate Roof poets Audrey Gidman and Anna M. Warrock will lead “Slate Roof Press: Into the Mystery — The Bodypoem.” This program invites participants to “speak a poem with your body,” and will see Gidman and Warrock discuss bodypoems, use short writing prompts to launch into movements and exercises. This event is for poets and non-poets, adults and high-schoolers alike. This event costs $15, for information on a sliding scale price email lisa@hemlockhouse.net.

On Feb. 21, from noon to 2 p.m., the group workshop “Stories in Motion: Arts by the People,” will see participants write a poem. Combining spoken word, poetry, and dance, members of Arts by the People will perform a choreographed dance to be performed on March 7, 2021. The event will create a unique interpretive and sensorial experience for participants, mixing original works created in the poetry workshops with choreography. The Feb. 21 workshop costs $25 for one person but includes two tickets to allow a plus-one for the March 7 performance.

For more information and to register for the free festival and the associated programming, visit authorsandartistsfestival.wordpress.com.

The A&A Festival is sponsored by: Greenfield Cooperative Bank; the Dickinson Memorial Library in Northfield; the Northfield Historical Commission; the New England Grass Roots Environmental Fund; the Greenfield Public Library; and the Northfield Area Business and Tourist Association. Kiwanis of Northfield, Deerfield Valley Art Association, and the Northfield Parent Teacher Organization are returning to help with the festival. Additionally, the Erving Public Library and Warwick Free Library have partnered with organizers for this year.

“We could use a few more sponsors, and we have applied for Local Cultural Council funds from local towns,” McLoughlin said in a press release.

The festival and associated programming are organized by McLoughlin of NatureCulture with a grassroots community board of planners including Steve and Joan Stoia, of the Northfield Area Business and Tourist Association and Centennial House Bed and Breakfast; Marge Anderson and Kacki St. Claire of the Deerfield Valley Art Association; Matt Atwood of the Dickinson Memorial Library; Lindsay McCarthy of the Kiwanis Club of Northfield; and Reina Dastous of the Northfield Parent Teacher Organization.

Reporter Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.

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