David Strathairn

Read Local! The Second Annual Red Hook Literary Festival

David Strathairn

The Albany Word Fest is not the only literary festival happening in upstate New York in April. Happening right before the 2013 Word Fest is the second annual Red Hook Literary Festival. This year’s event begins on Friday, April 12 with Word Works, an exhibition of de-accessioned books from the Red Hook Public Library and works inspired by the written word.

Red Hook Literary FestivalThe Hudson River Valley has long been celebrated as a muse by artists and writers. John Burroughs, Walt Whitman, James Fenimore Cooper, Carl Carmer and Andrew Jackson Downing all were inspired by their environs to create. Generations later, the tradition continues with a fresh crop of talent, some of whom will be featured during a weekend celebration of literature and the Arts during the second annual Read Local! Red Hook Literary Festival, scheduled to take place from April 12 to 14.

The Festival is presented in partnership between Red Hook Community Arts Network, Bard College Center for Civic Engagement, Red Hook Public Library and Oblong Books and Music. Other partners include Hudson Valley Mercantile, Rising Tide Design, Bread & Bottle, and Two Boots, Hudson Valley. The Red Hook Community Arts Network is sponsored by the Dutchess County Arts Council and enjoys support from the Red Hook Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s festivities will include a Friday night gallery opening, a star-studded Saturday evening reading, and a full Sunday schedule of panels, workshops and presentations.

What sets this literary festival apart from others in the region? “We showcase local talent – artists and writers who live in the Hudson Valley,” said Juliet Harrison Red Hook Community Arts Network (RHCAN), the Festival’s founding organization.

The weekend kicks off with an opening reception on Friday, April 12, 6-8pm at RHCAN’s gallery space on N. Broadway in Red Hook. The reception opens their Word Works exhibition, a celebration of the literary arts. All are invited to see how area artists have transformed de-accessioned books donated by the Red Hook Public Library, and view other works inspired by the written word.

Bibliophiles will be seeing stars during Stories on Stage: Hudson Valley Actors Read Hudson Valley Authors. Oscar-nominated actor David Strathairn (Lincoln, Bourne Legacy, Good Night & Good Luck), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Usual Suspects) and Nicole Quinn (Racing Daylight), will read short stories by authors John Sayles, T.C. Boyle, and Abigail Thomas, from 7 – 9 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Parish Hall at 7412 S. Broadway. The evening will be emceed by local literary powerhouse Nina Shengold, Chronogram books editor, Actors & Writers member, author of Clearcut and Writers Guild Award winner for Labor of Love.  Helen Seslowsky, former Head of Arts & Letters Live, the Literary and Performing Arts series for the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas TX, who is now a Red Hook resident, is producing the event.

The festival will continue on Sunday, April 14 with a full day of author panels, workshops and book signings, with offerings tailored for all ages. All events are FREE and open to the public.

The full schedule of events can be found on the Red Hook Community Arts Network website. For more information on this great literary event contact Helen Seslowsky from Oblong Books at 214-676-3248 or email helen@oblongbooks.com.