Brattleboro Literary Festival presents Writers Resist

BRATTLEBORO — Reading is an important way to get information. What writers can do the best is express ideas about being human, about education, about history, while bringing that information to the reader in an accurate and truthful manner. In a fertile writer's community such as Brattleboro, it was obvious to Sandy Rousse, founder of the Brattleboro Literary Festival, to organize an event in participation with Jan. 15's nationally organized Writers Resist, spurred in part by the resistance event. According to Rousse, this "'re-inauguration' of our shared commitment to the spirit of compassion, equality, free speech, and the fundamental ideals of democracy. Individual expression is the very heart of democracy."

PEN (Poets, Essayists and Novelists) America is working with Writers Resist in planning events in dozens of locations all over the world including NYC, Houston, Austin, New Orleans, Seattle, Spokane, Los Angeles, London, Zurich, Boston, Omaha, Kansas City, Jacksonville, Madison, Milwaukee, Bloomington, Baltimore, Oakland, Tallahassee, Newport, Santa Fe, Salt Lake, and Portland (Oregon AND Maine) and many other cities, coinciding with the birthday of Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr.. The Writers Resist event in Brattleboro will take place Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at 118 Elliot. 118 Elliot St.

Throughout history, writers have reflected what was considered acceptable in society. What was once considered brilliant a hundred years ago is considered horrendous today. Just in this last century "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain was mandatory reading for students. Today it is under fire for being racist and is considered unacceptable. Today, writers have tremendous power to bypass empty political discourse and focus public attention on the ideals of a free, just, and compassionate society.

Featured writers will read pieces for a period of seven to 10 minutes that either they have written, or was written by another author, on a subject that embodies freedom, then take questions. The mission is to focus the public's attention on what writers can do to encourage a free and just society and to celebrate what we have accomplished so far. It will not focus on the recent election or Trump, but about freedoms that are being undermined and taken away, and to look forward positively, with the hope of inspiring people and help them become more engaged to make difference.

President of the Literary Festival Bob Parks will write a piece, and make the opening statements. Other writers participating are Chard diNiord, Stephanie Greene, Andrea Lawlor, Robin MacArthur, Tim Mayo, Joe Mazur, Richard Michelson, Brian Mooney, Vince Panella, Heather Wells Peterson, Brian Stavely, Sarah Trudgeon, Aaron Thier, Tim Weed and more! Some of the writers are writing specifically for this event. It should be an interesting and interactive event with time to discuss over coffee and cookies.

Admission is free but there is a suggested donation of $10 for PEN America, one of more than 100 members of PEN International, a worldwide association of writers established in London in 1921 to advocate freedom of expression and the value of literature. For more information visit

Cicely M. Eastman may be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 261

PEN America orgnaizatin on facebook


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