On Oct. 28th the Hannon Library will be hosting the sixth annual Ashland Literary Arts Festival sponsored by the Friends of the Hannon Library (FoH). The festival brings together publishers, authors, artists and members of the community to share their works and thoughts. According to its website, “The Ashland Literary Arts Festival is an expanded version of Ashland Literary Festival, with a focus on independent story and thought throughout the entire Cascadia region, celebrating not only books, but all forms of expression: literature, poetry, journalism, art, lyrics, comics, film, and documentary.”
Tod Davies, a member of the FoH board, said, “We are trying to make this an annual event that bring Cascadia voice, Cascadia independent voice into one place so we can exchange stories.”
The festival starts at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday with six different events including a welcome reading by Amy Amrheim and a presentation on the history of SmokeJumper firefighters in Oregon. Also kicking off the event is Reboot-a-Rama, a film competition where students recreate a scene from a classic film.
Events will take place in the library until 4pm. The presentations, readings, and panels offer a wide range of subject matter. Some highlights include a “Cooking with What You’ve Got” cook-off, a Super-Hero Cosplay Karaoke (lead off by Shakespeare look alike Geoff Ridden signing Don’t fear the Reaper), a Wonder Woman costume contest, and a poetry reading with Oregon’s Poet Laureate, Elizabeth Woody.
After 4:00 P.M. the festival will move to the Meese Auditorium in the Schnieder Museum where the Ashland Independent Film Festival will present Alex Cox’s Walker. After which, the festival ends at Mihama restaurant with a talk about Sufi poetry with Steve Scholl. A detailed schedule and descriptions of individual presentations and panels can be found here.
Davies said, “We [FoH] are trying to make this an annual event that brings cascadia voice, cascadia independent voice, into one place so we can exchange stories.”
This event is close to her heart. “Story forms culture,” said Davies. “It actually is the culture. The way bees make honey and ants make ant hills, we make stories.” Attendants have the chance to connect with people from around the region who they normally would never meet. “There’s a lot of opportunity to meet a lot of different people doing a lot of different things,” she said.
Edwin Battistella, an English Professor, said, “[FoH] is trying to bring together regional publishers from Portland, Seattle, Berkeley and I think there is even one coming from New York.” The professor continued, “Students are going to do an internship for a day with a publisher.” Battistella insisted, “There are more publishing and writing jobs around than people think.” The educator joked, “People can work as an independent contractor and work at home in their pajamas.”