The Friends of THIRTEEN represented WNET and The Great American Read at the inaugural Saugatuck Story Festival and Writers’ Conference in Westport, CT. The three-day event combined a town-wide multidisciplinary literary festival with a craft-focused workshop-based writers’ conference. The Festival was a one-of-a-kind collaboration between the Westport Library and Staples High School, incorporating teen voices from the surrounding communities, and was 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 strove to connect communities through story.
On Friday October 12th, the festival weekend began with a keynote address by Emmy-winning, former head of HBO Documentaries Sheila Nevins about her life as a storyteller. Nevins began her career in public television with the Children’s Television Workshop in 1975 and then as researcher and associate producer for “The Great Dream Machine” on National Educational Television.
Saturday, October 13th saw 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 gave the day’s keynote on the WNET Young Adult Literature Stage. Reynold’s Ghost is on The Great American Read list!
Sunday, October 14th moved to Staples High School and featured workshops, panels and a mini-BookCon. Sunday’s WNET keynote was given by National Book Award nominee Ibi Zoboi. Zoboi’s new book, Pride, is a remix of Pride and Prejudice – also on The Great American Read list.
Throughout the weekend WNET was represented by Friends of THIRTEEN board members and staff including Kala DeStefano, Arlene Gottlieb, Mae Miller (chairman), Dorothy Pacella, and Sandy Rothenberg. The Friends spoke to more than 1,000 guests, many of whom had already voted in The Great American Read and were eager to vote again and share the list with their family and friends.