Second annual Northfield Authors and Artists Festival sees global participation

  • Participating in this year’s Authors and Artist Festival is Dr. Gay Bradshaw, who will be speaking Feb. 27 from 3 to 4 p.m., holds doctorate degrees in ecology and psychology, a master’s in geophysics, and a bachelors in linguistics and Chinese. Her writing is published in academic and popular media, including the New York Times, Time Magazine, Forbes, NPR, National Geographic, The Atlantic, several documentary films and more. Contributed Photo

  • Participating from Pakistan is Zarnab Tufail, an upcoming medical student who started her writing journey three years ago. While she experiments with poetry most of the time, Tufail is also interested in photography, painting and journaling. She is the co-founder of The Walled City Journal which currently runs the Walled Women Magazine and an online blog. Contributed Photo

  • Robert Eugene Perry, a native of Massachusetts, has been crafting poetry since age 12. After much travel, he returned to his home state and discovered what it means to “bloom where you are planted.” A metaphysical poet, Perry draws inspiration from nature endeavoring to draw connections between our higher selves and the natural world. Contributed Photo

For the Recorder
Published: 2/18/2021 8:58:33 AM

The Second Annual Authors and Artists Festival is preparing to launch online at the end of the month. 

Starting Saturday, Feb. 27 at 11 a.m., the 2021 Northfield Authors and Artists Festival: Honoring Nature, will kick off with Rich Holschuh, spokesman for the Elnu Abenaki, a Vermont State-recognized tribe. According to a press release from Lis McLoughlin, one of the festival organizers, Northfield is within the traditional Sokoki Abenaki homelands, and the festival opens with a description of the significance of the place where participants physically would be if the festival wasn’t held in cyberspace.

Following the intro, the first talk will be given by Sherri Mitchell, of the Penobscot Indian Nation, followed by Christian McEwen, a Western Massachusetts resident originally from Scotland. The rest of the lineup for the first day is as follows: Scott Russell Sanders from the midwestern United States; Gay Bradshaw from the west coast; and Patrick Curry, originally from Canada, now resident of London in the United Kingdom. A selection of poets, too, bring a diversity of voices from Pakistan, Israel, Taiwan, the Passamaquoddy Nation and throughout the United States.

Day two of the free festival includes Deb Habib from Seeds, of Solidarity Farm in Orange; Joan Maloof of the Old Growth Forest Network; Susan Cerulean Florida, a bird expert; and Simon Wilson, speaking on religion and the ecological crisis from Canterbury Christ Church University in southeastern England.

Topics will range from the practical work of protecting old growth forests, maintaining animal sanctuaries and growing organic food with no-till methods, to imagining a more respectful and sustainable way for humans to interact with the rest of nature.

Participating from Pakistan is Zarnab Tufail, an upcoming medical student who started writing three years ago. While she experiments with poetry most of the time, Tufail is also interested in photography, painting and journaling. She is the co-founder of The Walled City Journal, which currently publishes the Walled Women Magazine and an online blog. Tufail’s work has been published in, or is forthcoming in The Vagabond City Lit, The Bitchin' Kitsch, Changing Women Collective, Ayaskala Literary Magazine, Coven Editions, In Parentheses, Dreams Walking Magazine and elsewhere. She is part of various literary magazines' staff including Variety Pack (Assistant Poetry Editor), The Lumiere Review (Poetry Editor), Tiny Molecules (Prose Reader) among others. More about Tufail can be found here zarnabtufail.wordpress.com.

"We are grateful to have the involvement of so many people from around the world who Honor Nature in their own unique ways,” McLoughlin said. “Because so much of what we do is hard work, it is especially gratifying to have the chance to celebrate Nature, and our collaborations, in the festival.”

Participating member Gay Bradshaw, who will be speaking Feb. 27 from 3 to 4 p.m., holds doctorate degrees in ecology and psychology, a master’s in geophysics, and a bachelors in linguistics and Chinese. Bradshaw’s writing is published in academic and popular media, including the New York Times, Time Magazine, Forbes, NPR, National Geographic, The Atlantic, several documentary films and more.

Bradshaw is the founder and director of The Kerulos Center for Nonviolence and The Tortoise and the Hare Sanctuary in Jacksonville, Oregon. From 1992 to 2002, she was a research mathematician with the USDA Forest Service, holding faculty positions at multiple universities. Dr. Bradshaw’s diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in free-living Elephants launched the field of trans-species psychology. Her books include “How Landscapes Change,” “Minding the Animal Psyche,” “The Elephant Letters: the Story of Billy and Kani” (2014), the Pulitzer-prize nominated “Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us About Humanity” (2009) and more. 

Also participating in this year’s festival is Robert Eugene Perry, a devoted husband and father of two grown boys and a native of Massachusetts, who has been crafting poetry since age 12. After much travel, he returned to his home state and discovered what it means to “bloom where you are planted.” A metaphysical poet, Perry draws inspiration from nature endeavoring to draw connections between our higher selves and the natural world.  In 2007, he published his first novel, “Where the Journey Takes You,” a spiritual allegory combining poetry and prose. This was followed by three collections of poetry, “The Sacred Dance: Poetry to Nourish the Spirit” in 2008, “If Only I Were a Mystic, This Would All Come So Easy” in 2011 and “Surrendering to the Path,” released by Human Error Publishing in 2020.

Perry hosted a poetry group for disabled individuals at the former New England Dream Center in Worcester and has emceed the monthly Open Mic at Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster since May 2017. Two of Perry’s poems were published in Poetica Magazine’s 2020 Mizmor anthology. His poems have been accepted for the forthcoming 2021 anthology “Honoring Nature.” His poem “Quest” was the January 2019 Poets of Mars winner. 

In addition to the unique speakers, this year, the festival will publish a book produced by authors and artists who participated in the festival's first two years. The anthology “Honoring Nature,” published by Human Error Publishing (Paul Richmond), contains work from 40 authors and artists and is available to buy separately or with a book launch ticket. The launch will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, and the cost of $5 is to help fund a free book for each of the 40 contributors to the volume. Purchase a book and/or launch ticket at: ko-fi.com/lismcloughlin/shop.

The online Authors and Artists Festival: Honoring Nature, Feb. 27 and 28, is free and includes two online art shows with work from children and adults. Sign up at authorsandartistsfestival.wordpress.com.

The Authors and Artists Festival’s sponsors include: The Greenfield Cooperative Bank; The Dickinson Memorial Library of Northfield; The Friends of Greenfield Public Library; The Northfield Historical Commission; The Grass Roots Fund of New England; the Northfield Area Tourist and Business Association; the Kiwanis Club; the Northfield Parent Teachers Association; and the Massachusetts Cultural Council (a state agency) through the local cultural councils of Northfield, Greenfield, Gill and Montague.


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