ArtsATL > Books > Atlanta’s Letters Festival celebrates independent lit with readings, panels, workshops

Atlanta’s Letters Festival celebrates independent lit with readings, panels, workshops

The Letters Festival celebrates independent literature with readings, workshops, panels signings and more. (2015 images by Talia Moscovitz, courtesy The Letters Festival)

The Letters Festival makes its return to Atlanta this week, November 810 at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. The festival, a celebration of independent literature, will give writers and readers the chance to enjoy readings, workshops, panel discussions and book signings with a wide array of some of the publishing world’s most fascinating up-and-coming authors and poets.

This year’s lineup includes poet Ashley M. Jones and authors Jared Yates Sexton, Brian Oliu, Carmen Maria Machado and Atlanta’s own Molly Brodak.

Those less familiar with the independent literary community might not know where to start. Luckily, ArtsATL has the scoop for those who feel like getting adventurous this weekend.

Opening Night Reading (Free). Thursday, November 8, 7:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Atlanta Contemporary.

The festival kicks off with readings from Ashley M. Jones, Jeff Jackson, Aria Curtis and Tommy Pico. This is a great starter event for those who are curious about what’s going on in the independent literary community. Where else could you hear works from a silver medalist in the 2017 Independent Publishers Book Awards, the cofounder of podcast Food 4 Thot and a playwright whose work was heralded by the New York Times as “one of the most galvanizing theater experiences of 2012”? (Trick question: It’s a magical lineup.)

Atlanta author Molly Brodak will delve into the ins and outs of writing a memoir at the Letters Festival. (Courtesy the author)

Second Night Reading ($15)Friday, November 9, 7:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Atlanta Contemporary.

The second evening of readings come with a small charge, but the price is well worth it. This evening’s readers include Caren Beilin, Molly Brodak, Berry Grass and Carmen Maria Machado.

Lit & Bruised presents the After Party Reading (Free). Friday, November 9, 10 p.m.–midnight. Highland Inn.

Lit & Bruised, Atlanta’s own literary podcast, will be taking the party from Atlanta Contemporary to the Highland Inn on Friday evening, presenting readings from Sabrina Orah Mark, Meredith Blankinship and Jared Yates Sexton.

Poetry & Nonfiction Workshops with Sabrina Orah Park and Molly Brodak. Saturday, November 10, 1 p.m.–3 p.m and 3 p.m.–4 p.m. Atlanta Contemporary.

The Letters Festival isn’t all about listening to others’ work. It’s about honing your own writing, too, as evidenced by the two workshops the festival will host on Saturday afternoon. The first, a poetry workshop titled “Obsession,” will be led by Sabrina Orah Park and will delve into her theory that poems “get built up out of obsession and why.” (Free with reservation)

The festival’s memoir workshop will be led by Molly Brodak, author of Bandit. Brodak will use her hour to help writers focus on three key ideas to memoir: loyalty to the truth, narrative structure vs. lived experience and how to handle exposing personal experiences in print, both privately and publicly. (Free with reservation)

Panel Discussion: “Language Across Disciplines.” Mary Grace Phillips, Berry Grass and Mario Petrirena in discussion moderated by Erica Dawson (Free). Saturday, November 10, 4:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m. Atlanta Contemporary.

This group discussion will explore how language is more than just words — how storytelling can make its way into all sorts of our everyday practices. Few are as qualified to speak to this point as these panelists, whose work spans multidisciplinary literary journals, dance, reading series, ceramics and collage.

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