The first Center City Literary Festival will pair authors with artists for a community creative event on Saturday, October 12, at UNC Charlotte’s Center City. The festival will offer a carnival-like program for children in the afternoon and a salon-like program for adults in the evening. The children’s program will take place from noon to 3:30 pm. The adult program will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. All programming is free.
Co-organized by Mark West, the chair of the English Department at UNC Charlotte, and Donell Stines-Jones, the community outreach coordinator for UNC Charlotte Center City, this new festival showcases writers associated with UNC Charlotte as well as Charlotte area artists.
During both the afternoon and evening programs, each author will be paired with an artist who will create an original work of art in response to the author’s written work. These works of art will be revealed when the authors do their readings.
The children’s authors who are participating include Gail Haley, Janaka Lewis, Andrew Hartley, and Elizabeth Murray. Gail Haley, the only picture book author from North Carolina to win the Caldecott Medal, will read from her book The Green Man. Janaka Lewis teaches African American literature in the English Department and is the author of a picture book titled Brown All Over. Andrew Hartley is the Russell Robinson Distinguished Professor of Shakespeare, and he is also the author of a highly successful series of fantasy books for children. The first volume in this series is titled Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact. Elizabeth Murray teaches courses related to theatre education, and she also writes plays for children.
The evening program for adults will feature Aimee Parkison, Karen Cox and Andrew Hartley. Aimee Parkison is a creative writing professor in the English Department, and her most recent book is a collection of short stories titled The Innocent Party. Karen Cox is a history professor, and her most recent book is titled Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture. Andrew Hartley has the distinction of participating in both the festival’s afternoon program and the evening program. During the evening, he will read from Macbeth, a Novel, which he co-authored with David Hewson. Opera singer Sarah Jones will also perform while guests are arriving and taking their seats.
The artists who have agreed to participate include Lee Baumgarten, Crista Cammaroto, Catherine Courtlandt, Gerard Hazelton, Monique Luck, and Deb Maine.
In keeping with the afternoon’s carnival theme, the afternoon program will offer participants an opportunity to play with a giant Scrabble board (weather permitting), view a 30-foot Blue Heron puppet created by World of Good Creations and witness the unveiling of the new electric ART car by Lee Baumgarten. The afternoon program will also feature live painting by Jimi Thompson and a popular culture podcast for kids and parents by father and son duo Andres and Jacob Echevarria. Various artists and organizations will sponsor activity centers for children, including, Carolinas Aviation Museum, Gonza’s Art, ecoFAB Trash Couture, Heather Freeman, and First Ward Creative Arts Academy, the English Department Freshman Learning Community, and UNC Charlotte’s Children’s Literature Graduate Organization.
Author and artist full biographies are available upon request. For more information please reach firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo of “World of Good Creations” by Marguerite King.