Winchester’s 1455 Literary Arts Summer Festival practically returns this week


The 1455 Literary Arts Summer Festival kicked off in 2019 in person in Winchester, Virginia, before switching to virtual panels last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, the festival virtually returns with more than 70 free events from Thursday to Saturday.

Jason Fraley of the OMCP presents a preview of the 1455 Summer Literary Arts Festival (part 1)

The 1455 Literary Arts Summer Festival kicked off in 2019 in person in Winchester, Virginia, before switching to virtual panels last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week, the festival virtually returns with more than 70 free events from Thursday to Saturday.

“We are increasingly virtual and global,” said Executive Director Sean Murphy at the WTO. “We will have people participating and enjoying this festival literally from all over the world. … Last year we quadrupled attendance. … You have inclusion, you can attract a wider variety of talent, and you can make it free to anyone from anywhere.

What’s in a name? Why choose the year “1455? “

“The name ‘1455’ actually comes from the year the Gutenberg Printing Company started printing books,” Murphy said. “1455 is a paradigm shift. When books began to be mass produced, it took content distribution out of the hands of the elites and democratized it. “

The festival is divided into three tracks, including “Inspiration and Advocacy”.

“We are able to offer a bunch of free workshops,” Murphy said. “We were able to get a handful of well-known writers and speakers to give 50-minute master classes. … ‘Inspiration Information’ focuses on black female poets. We’re going to have a powerful 90 minute read in conversation with prominent black writers. “

The second track is “Timely and Topical”, exploring a number of pressing issues.

“Conversations about what’s going on in the world right now,” Murphy said. “We have panels that are timely looking at things like COVID, the #MeToo movement, the Black Lives Matter movement. We have a sign “Connect to the time of loneliness”. … Everything on this track will look like where we are in 2021. ”

The third track is “Craft and Community”, with programs with successful authors.

“One of them will present a reading of the anthology ‘This is what America looks like’. … We have a special reading from exiled Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji. … We have a poet from the UK. … We have a panel on food innovation with a few chefs. We feature Deesha Philyaw and Brian Broome, who both blew up and wrote bestsellers in 2021. ”

Beyond the annual festival, Murphy has even more ambitious long-term goals.

“I had the opportunity in 2016 to help organize a writers retreat at Martha’s Vineyard… and I came back to Virginia after realizing that a full-time center that unites writers was truly vital and necessary.” , Murphy said. “Our long-term goal is to raise funds and secure sponsors and partners to help us open a writers’ retreat year round.”

Until then, enjoy the free three-day festival from the comfort of your home.

“This is a great opportunity, even virtually, to see some of the writers who represent the best of what’s going on in the literary industry right now, to see what they’re doing, to see them in candid conversations and maybe meet some community and find new writers you haven’t heard of, ”Murphy said. “I think it will be a very encouraging and inspiring time. “

Jason Fraley of OMCP presents the 1455 Literary Arts Summer Festival (part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

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