The (downtown) Omaha Lit Fest is coming up on October 16 & 17. I’ll be there talking about my chapbook On the River Down Where They Found Willy Brown on the “Treachery” panel at 2pm on Saturday October 17 with Marilyn June Coffey and Douglas Vincent Wesselmann (aka Otis XII) All events are free and open to the public, and are hosted at the downtown branch of the Omaha library (215 S 15th St).
The theme this year is “Nervosa: Science, Psych & Story.” There’s a great lineup of authors participating, headlined by best-selling and National Book Award finalist Emily St. John Mandel. Just having her come to Omaha is a pretty big deal, so you won’t want to miss her or any of the other great writers, like Joy Castro and Julie Iromuanya. Thanks so much to Timothy Schaffert for putting this together.
The panel discussions are the same day as the Holland Stages Festival–so a pretty big day for free arts events in downtown Omaha. Free writers events at the library all afternoon then cross over the Gene Leahy Mall for free concerts by Conor Oberst, Simon Joyner, and Delfeayo Marsalis in the evening. Not too shabby!
Here’s the schedule of events for Lit Fest. I hope to see you there!
FRIDAY NIGHT, OCT 16 (6:30-9:30 pm)
ANXIETY: the opening night party/exhibits, W. Dale Clark Library
(downtown branch, 215 S. 15th St)
WIRED: THE LITERARY BENT-WIRE ART OF JAY COCHRANE
Featuring wire-and-book sculptures based on Gulliver’s Travels, Pride and Prejudice, Misery, Moby Dick, etc…
PINS & NEEDLES: THE PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS OF ERIC POST AND SHARI POST
Sometimes-tranquil, sometimes-restless portraits in oil and ink.
THE POETRY BROTHEL
Again hosted by literary journal burntdistrict. The journal’s namesake, Omaha’s historic Burnt District, was infamous for its bordellos, gambling tables, and other unseemly underbellies in the 19th century. Relax in the brothel with your own intimate poetry.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON, OCT 17 (1-5 pm)
PANEL DISCUSSIONS, conducted by lit fest director and author Timothy Schaffert. W. Dale Clark Library (downtown branch, 215 S. 15th St).
Featuring doctors/writers Bud Shaw (Last Night in the OR: A Transplant Surgeon’s Odyssey) and Lydia Kang (Catalyst). Shaw came to Nebraska in 1985 to start a new transplant program that quickly became one of the most respected transplant centers in the world. Kang’s background in medicine has inspired two YA sci-fi novels, scientific thrillers that explore a dark future of genetics.
Authors discuss personal demons, social outcasts, and drastic measures. Featuring: Marilyn June Coffey (Thieves, Rascals & Sore Losers: The Unsettling History of the Dirty Deals That Helped Settle Nebraska); Douglas Vincent Wesselmann (Tales of the Master: The Book of Stone); Theodore Wheeler (On the River, Down Where They Found Willy Brown).
Fiction writers Joy Castro (How Winter Began: Stories), Julie Iromuanya (Mr. and Mrs. Doctor) and Jennie Shortridge (Love Water Memory) discuss emotional depth in novels and stories, sentiment vs. sentimentality, and the process of exploring a character’s psychology on the page.
“STATION ELEVEN”: HEALTH, ILLNESS, AND THE END OF THE WORLD (4pm)
Novelist Emily St John Mandel, author of the best-selling, National Book Award-finalist Station Eleven, with Timothy Schaffert, author of The Swan Gondola.