Saturday, March 22, 2014

Festival of the Book: A Look Back to '98

Two of my faves: C.a. MacConnell and Janis Jaquith during our presentation.
As the Virginia Festival of the Book gears up in Charlottesville today, we take you back to 1998's fest where my first book, From Here to There--a collection of stories by 42 Virginia writers and non-writers I knew at the time--was among those featured.

A group of us met there for a reading and among those in the room were two of my favorite writers: C.a. MacConnell (yep, the "a" is lower case, but I call her "Christine" anyway, so I don't have to fool with it much) and Janis Jaquith. They are absolute opposites in their styles, Janis being the funniest writer in Virginia for my money; and Christine smothering in wonderfully-realized gloom. Christine's first novel Griffin Farm was recently published and outside Birdseed Cookies Janis remains mostly a sought-after essayist.

The book, From Here to There, was used as a fundraiser for the Virginia Museum of Transportation, on whose board I served at the time. It was a fun project (essays/stories had to have at least a reference transportation somewhere within them and the writers were pretty damn imaginative with that) and a good read, I thought.

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