, Newburyport, MA


April 25, 2014

Art is no stranger to this city

In a column written nine years ago, I wrote the following:

“The North Shore, rich in its culture of arts, breaks new ground this weekend with Newburyport’s first ever literary festival.

“Words are what we make of them.

“We all use them, but there are those who use them very well indeed for the rest of us to enjoy.

“Avid readers and writers, gathering for two days of events, will feast upon extraordinary talents in a variety of venues when writers of national prominence, poets and authors of short stories and novels gather to celebrate the importance of literature in our lives.

“It’s a star-studded company of those who answered a call two years in the making and the event is certain to add another jewel to the North Shore’s cultural necklace of artists and musicians from Boston to Portland, Maine.”

What follows is how far we have come.

Rarely have my projections been more prescient, the continuing evidence being the opening of this year’s festival beginning tonight at 6 at the Firehouse Center for the Arts with the honoring of the much-celebrated author Andre Dubus III of Newbury and the world.

Admission is free and early arrival is in order.

Following a public conversation with Ann Hood, esteemed author of “Knitting Yarns Writers on Knitting,” a public dinner will be held at Nicholson Hall at 7:30.

Year upon year, and within walking distance from one downtown venue to another, a veritable smorgasbord of talent is free and open to the public in Newburyport’s downtown from 9 a.m. Saturday morning to the 7 p.m. closing program at Old South Church.

The theme there will be “Discussion on the business of book selling and influence of Oprah’s Book Club and magazine reviews.”

What follows for almost 12 hours after the opening on Saturday will be an all-embracing choice of venues.

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