Saugatuck Story Festival and Writers’ Conference

Christina Knight | October 2, 2018

The Saugatuck Story Festival and Writers’ Conference is a three-day event in Saugatuck, CT, that combines a town-wide multidisciplinary literary festival with a craft-focused, workshop-based writers conference. The festival is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between the Westport Library and Staples High School, incorporating teen voices from the surrounding communities, and is a celebration of reading, writing, ideas and community. With a focus on experiencing story through a variety of lenses, voices and experiences, the Saugatuck Story Festival strives to connect communities through story.

Friday Activities

On Friday October 12, the festival weekend kicks off with two headline events. Emmy-winning, former head of HBO Documentaries Sheila Nevins will open the StoryFest with a keynote about her life as a storyteller. Then, Drama Desk-nominated composer and lyricist Joe Iconis is joined by his likeminded tribe of musical theatre performers for a concert combining some of his unforgettable songs and the stories behind them.

Saturday Activities

Saturday, October 13 will be an outdoor walking festival on the library’s grounds, celebrating story in all its forms through interactive events, panels and performances. National Book Award-nominee and recent Newbery Honor-recipient Jason Reynolds will offer the day’s keynote. Other headline authors appearing on Saturday include National Book Award-winner Robin Benway and National Book Award-nominee Nic Stone. Saturday will also include a special children’s event honoring New York Times bestselling children’s author Chris Grabenstein.

Saturday will feature interactive experiences for festival attendees. Storytime with children’s authors Victoria Kann and Hans Wilhelm will take place inside the Library. Myrmidon Dagorhir, a Norwalk-based chapter of Dagorhir Battle Games Association, will perform “Game of Foams” on the Jesup Green, recreating epic battles in George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones books. Image Comics, Archie Comics, and Aw Yeah! Comics will team up for the StoryFest’s Comics Alley for hands-on activities and opportunities to meet comics creators. The Westport Center for Senior Activities will host “Writing Your Next Chapter: Inspiration and Support for Those Who Have Lived Many Stories,” featuring talks by highly acclaimed authors and writing teachers, Alice Mattison and Patty Dann. WNET’s celebration of The Great American Read will occur throughout the day.

On Saturday evening, the StoryFest will host a Lit Crawl and Pub Trivia in downtown restaurants and bars. The evening’s activities will end at the Westport Woman’s Club with A Bradbury Evening: Stories and Performances, an event celebrating the legacy of Ray Bradbury featuring author Sam Weller and Westport’s Play With Your Food.

Sunday Activities

Sunday October 14 will move to Staples High School and will feature workshops, panels and a mini-BookCon. Sunday kicks off with a local authors breakfast and a series of conversations between some of our community’s most beloved writers, including Charlotte Rogan and Nina Sankovitch. Sunday’s keynote will be given by National Book Award nominee Ibi Zoboi. Other headline authors making appearances on Sunday are New York Times bestselling author Peter Blauner, bestselling author and James Patterson-collaborator Andrew Gross and bestselling thriller writer Riley Sager.

The centerpiece of the afternoon is the announcement of the 2018 Connecticut Book Awards, presented by the CT Center for the Book with a reception to follow. There will also be a moderated panel conversation with last year’s winners of the Connecticut Book Award. The day is rounded out by a series of workshops for writers.