The Center for Creative Writing at Frostburg State University, in partnership with the Allegany County Library System, announces that the third annual Western Maryland Small and Regional Press Fair will be held Saturday, Sept. 19, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Cumberland's Washington Street Branch of the Allegany County Library.
The event, which features editors, publishers, writers and educators, includes panels on writing and getting published; writing the region; writing, kids, reading and teaching; and blogging and new media publishing. Roundtable discussions with published authors will also help aspiring writers work through practical matters of getting their work on the page. The event ends with a 5 p.m. poetry slam for high school students and a 6:30 p.m. poetry slam for adults. Cash prizes will be given.
Library Director John Taube believes the event to be an important program for the community and for the library, and it’s a natural fit for the library’s mission. “The library is very excited to play a part in bringing authors and publishers together. Through the small press conference we hope to foster greater access to the world of publishers and to provide additional avenues for people to learn about our region through our many writers, poets and artists.”
Says Center Director Gerry LaFemina: “This is a great event. And we’re trying to make it more inclusive, to bring in more writers, to invite more editors of all sorts, to open it up to more people.” As an example of this, LaFemina points out two new panels created for this year’s event: “Teachers, Publishers and Students” and “Pick Up That Book – Getting Kids to Want to Read.” These panels are designed with educators in mind and may focus on helping to get new literature into the hands of students, or to help teachers and school districts to publish a student literary magazine. The idea, LaFemina believes, is connectivity. “Once the writers, teachers, readers and editors are all together, relationships can be forged.”
The poetry slams are another new addition to the event. Poets are asked to perform their work to an audience, and their work is scored by a panel of judges. The top contestants of the first round go to a second and sometimes even a third round, and it’s not unusual to see poets scribbling a new poem when they are surprised to get to the finals. It’s an audience participation event, too. Judges get booed, poets get cheered and cash prizes are given to the top three writers in each category.
“This is a literary arts festival. We’re celebrating the writers, the teachers, the libraries, the readers and the publishers, but most of all we’re celebrating that fire inside of us that wants to make up stories, that wants to be heard.”
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Washington Street Library at 301-777-1200 or the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing at 301-687-4024, or visit the center Web site at www.frostburg.edu/cwcenter.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.