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6th Annual Maynard Book Festival
Thursday, April 6
Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Friends of the Maynard Library are excited to bring you our 6th Annual Book Festival with events on Thursday and Friday evenings and all day Saturday, April 8. We have great events planned for people of all ages and we hope you'll come to them all! You can see the schedule below or download a printable schedule here. The Festival is brought to you by the Friends, and with grant funds from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

This year, our festival is celebrating the power, beauty and joy of storytelling in its many forms—through music, art and writing. We hope you'll be inspired by our authors and perhaps even tell your own in our writing workshop and oral history recording sessions. Each author event willl be followed by a book signing by the authors. Books by all the authors will be available for sale all day, courtesy of Porter Square Books. Refreshments will be served. All events are free and open to the public. Please be sure to register for workshops, as space is limited!

The first festival event will be held to welcome a new art exhibit to the library. Our friends at ArtSpace on Summer Street will be exhibiting Made in Maynard—works from 26 of their artists. We'll have a reception where you can view the artwork, meet the artists and chat about the stories behind the works. The event runs from 5-7 pm on Thursday, April 6, so you can drop in at your convenience. Of course, there will be some light refreshments for everyone to enjoy! If you can't make it to the reception, you can enjoy the exhibit at the Festival and through most of April whenever the library is open.

This year we’ve added a concert to the Festival events so that we can enjoy stories in song form. The library will open its doors to music lovers on Friday, April 7 at 7 pm to welcome the bluegrass band Southern Rail back to Maynard. Southern Rail's performances are high-energy exuberant fun, with riveting harmonies, irrepressible humor and sparkling banjo, mandolin, and guitar solo work. Southern Rail celebrates over three decades of performing with the long awaited release of their 12th CD, "Voices in the Wind". Over the years, Southern Rail's recordings have graced the bluegrass charts and their CD “Glory Train” was nominated for Best Gospel Recording of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. We guarantee you will never see anyone who enjoys her job more than Sharon! Read more about the band and their music at their website.

Festival Saturday begins at 10:00 with a memoir writing workshop for older teens and adults. This lively workshop will explore the various forms that life writing can take and will introduce useful resources. The class will be led by Lynette Benton, a published writer, blogger and instructor of writers of all ages. Lynette has visited the library before, and was a very popular instructor. Participants should bring paper and a pen or pencil. Students are also welcome to share an excerpt of a draft they’ve been working on. Space is limited for this workshop, so please register here, by visiting the Reference Desk or calling 978-897-1010 x103.

As part of a larger oral history project with the Maynard Council on Aging, the Book Festival will feature a recording “booth” using the StoryCorps app, with sessions running from 10:30 to 4:30. We’d like to collect recordings about growing up, working and living in Maynard. Recordings can take the form of interviews or conversations, so bring a friend or family member to interview or we’ll match you with a volunteer. Plan to spend 45-60 minutes. Please register online or by visiting the Reference Desk or calling 978-897-1010 x103. Additional recording sessions will be held at the COA in April.


Since its founding in 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 60,000 interviews from more than 100,000 participants from across the country who visit one of their recording sites. It is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. Interviews recorded are added to the StoryCorps Archive, housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Selected stories are produced for StoryCorps for national broadcast on NPR’s Morning Edition. You can listen to an excerpt from an interview here.

At 10:30 a.m., the festival continues with the critically acclaimed children's author and illustrator Matt Tavares. Matt’s books have won a variety of awards including the Orbis Pictus Award, the Parents' Choice Gold Award, the Oppenheim Gold Seal Award and the Massachusetts Book Award. In addition, Growing Up Pedro was named a 2016 ALA Notable Book. He has written biographies of baseball greats Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Pedro Martinez, as well as three other story books about baseball. His frequent collaborations as illustrator with author Doreen Rappaport depict historical figures including John F Kennedy, Helen Keller and the Statue of Liberty. His most recent books Crossing Niagara and Lighter Than Air tell the stories of dramatic adventurers. Matt’s presentations, called inspiring and captivating, explore the entire process of book creation—writing, rewriting, revising, researching, and sketching. Tavares creates children’s books, but this presentation will be of interest to adults as well. Read more about Matt and his books here.

Author events continue at 1:30 pm with a panel discussion, “The Story Behind the Story”. The panel is composed of three authors who write for young adults and whose books also hold great appeal for adults. Panelists include Maynard’s own Julie Berry, whose most recent book won the prestigious Printz Honor in 2016; Tara Sullivan, author of two critically acclaimed books; and M.T. Anderson, winner of the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and the Globe-Horn Book award, and the Printz Honor. Our authors cover a sweeping range of topics and settings—Arthurian legend (Yvain: The Knight of the Lion), post-Inquisition France (The Passion of Dolssa), the siege of Leningrad (Symphony for the City of the Dead), muteness in Colonial America (All the Truth That’s in Me), albinos in Tanzania (Golden Boy) and child slavery in the African chocolate industry (The Bitter Side of Sweet). The panel will be moderated by Cathryn Mercier, director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College. Read more about the authors and their books at their websites:,,  

At 3:30 pm, the festival concludes with a presentation by best-selling author Kate Braestrup. Kate wrote her first memoir, Here If You Need Me, about her path through grief to find her mission and calling. Two more memoirs followed with Marriage, and Other Acts of Charity and Anchor and Flares. In addition to being an author, Kate is also an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister and chaplain to the Maine Game Warden Service. She tells stories about family, motherhood, love and commitment, and a living a life of service with grace, compassion, generosity and a whole lot of humor. You can hear samples of her storytelling at The Moth.

Schedule of Events

Thursday, April 6

5:00-7:00 pm                ArtSpace "Made in Maynard" Exhibit Reception

Friday, April 7

7:00 pm                       Bluegrass Concert with Southern Rail

Saturday, April 8

10:00 am                     *Memoir Writing Workshop, with Lynette Benton

10:30-4:30                   *StoryCorps Interview Recordings


10:30 am                     Children's Author and Illustrator Matt Tavares


1:30 pm                       Storytime


1:30 pm                       Panel Discussion with Julie Berry, Tara Sullivan and M.T. Anderson


3:30 pm                       Author Presentation with Kate Braestrup

*Registration required for this event. Call the Reference Desk at 978-897-1010 x103 to register.

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