The theme of this year’s Newburyport Literary Festival is “The Creative Mind,” and perhaps because the “mind” is in play, numerous sessions will encourage the discussion of the writing craft and how to succeed in bringing literature to larger audiences.
Organizers are expecting more than 70 poets, writers, editors and illustrators over the weekend. Authors of national stature who are returning to the festival include Andre Dubus III, Rhina Espaillat, Hallie Ephron, Ann Hood, Wally Lamb, Claire Messud, Richard Russo and J. Courtney Sullivan.
Local writers, actors and historians who will present and/or moderate include Barbara Bourgeois, Christine Butler, Myfanwy Collins, Ann Dooley, Jean Foley Doyle, Elisabeth Elo, Bethany Groff, William Hallett, Kevin Hunt, Janet Catherine Johnston, Len Krisak, Marge Motes, Skip Motes, Jennifer Pieroni, Holly Robinson, John Sheedy, Anne Easter Smith, Anna Smulowitz, Kate Sullivan and Ghlee Woodworth.
The festival, which runs tomorrow and Saturday in various venues throughout the city, will start with a discussion tomorrow night featuring novelist Andre Dubus III at 6 at the Firehouse Center for the Arts.
Dubus is this year’s festival honoree. Organizers are feting him for his glittering career as a novelist and as an outstanding leader of the literary community. Tomorrow night, he will discuss his craft with Hood, a writer of national stature from Providence, R.I.
His novel “The House of Sand and Fog” was a National Book Award finalist and an Oprah’s Book Club selection. His memoir, “Townie,” was listed by Publishers Weekly and Barnes & Noble as one of the Best Books of 2011. His most recent book, “Dirty Love,” has received strong reviews.
Organizers say Dubus is being honored for his published works and for his generosity with students, audiences and readers. He has been a supporter and presenter at the festival for almost a decade and teaches writing at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.