Festival Celebrates How We Tell Stories

The Center City Literary Festival, set for Saturday, May 6, at UNC Charlotte Center City (320 E. 9th St., Charlotte 28202) will “celebrate all the ways we tell stories” in a day full of free literary activities for all ages.

“Whether you are a UNC Charlotte student looking for a way to relax during finals week, or a Charlotte-area resident with a love and appreciation for literature, this festival is for you,” says Mark West, festival creator and chair of UNC Charlotte’s English Department. The department is sponsoring the festival, along with UNC Charlotte Center City.

The daytime portion of the festival will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will include readings by children’s authors Shelby Bach, Tia Capers and Janaka Lewis and fun literary projects for children.

The evening section of the Charlotte Literary Festival will be geared toward adults. Readings from Nikky Finney, Eduardo C. Corral, Dustin M. Hoffman and Bryn Chancellor will begin at 5 p.m. The evening also will include book signings by authors and a reception to celebrate the authors and the festival’s attendees.

Public pay parking is available at lots at the corners of 7th and Brevard and 8th and College; the 7th Street Station Parking Deck, and at metered spaces on Brevard Street. Only UNC Charlotte permit holders can park in lots at 319 E. 9th St. & 422 E. 9th St.

Bach, author of the “Ever After” series, which includes Of Giants and Ice, Of Witches and Wind, Of Sorcery and Snow, and Of Enemies and Endings, is a Charlotte resident who grew up reading every book she could find and writing stories in battered notebooks.

Capers is a North Carolina native who grew up in Miami. She is an award-winning poet and author of Delicious Rainbow Thoughts, The Soul of a Butterfly, Nadia’s Jewelry Box, Nadia’s Loose Tooth, and Nadia’s Green Day Festival, the last book to be released in her “Nadia’s Adventures” series of children’s books.

Lewis, an assistant professor of English at UNC Charlotte, is author of the children’s books Bold Nia Marie Passes the Test and Brown All Over. Her research interests include African American literature of the 19th Century and African American women’s writing.

Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split, The World Is Round, Rice,  and On Wings Made of Gauze. As the John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina, Finney also wrote Heartwood, edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets.

Corral is a poet and the son of Mexican immigrants. His first book, Slow Lightning, was selected by Carl Phillips as the 2011 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. Corral has been the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the “Discovery”/The Nation Award, the J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize from Poetry Magazine, and the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University.

Hoffman is the author of the story collection One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist (University of Nebraska Press), winner of the 2015 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. His stories have appeared in Black Warrior Review, Phoebe, Puerto del Sol, Fourteen Hills, Witness, Quarterly West, The Journal, Gargoyle, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and Indiana Review, as well as many other notable places.

Chancellor’s debut novel, Sycamore, is forthcoming from Harper. Her story collection When Are You Coming Home? (University of Nebraska Press) won the 2014 Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and her short fiction has appeared in Gulf Coast, Blackbird, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Phoebe, and elsewhere. Chancellor is also a UNC Charlotte assistant professor of English and co-organizer with West of the festival.

For more information about the literary festival, visit centercitylitfest.wordpress.com.

Words: Heather Benson

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