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 from 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.
âWe are increasingly virtual and global,â said Executive Director Sean Murphy at the WTO. âWe will have people participating and enjoying this festival literally from all over the world. â¦ Last year, we quadrupled attendance. â¦ 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 â1455? “
âThe name ‘1455’ actually comes from the year the Gutenberg Printing Company started printing books,â Murphy said. â1455 is a paradigm shift. When books began to be mass produced, it took the distribution of content out of the hands of the elites and democratized it. “
The festival is divided into three tracks, including âInspiration and Advocacyâ.
âWe are able to offer a bunch of free workshops,â Murphy said. âWe were able to get a handful of well-known writers and speakers to give 50-minute master classes. â¦ ‘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.
âConversations about what’s going on in the world right now,â Murphy said. âWe have panels that are timely looking at things like COVID, the #MeToo movement, the Black Lives Matter movement. We have a sign âConnect to the time of lonelinessâ. â¦ Everything on this track will look like where we are in 2021. â
The third track is âCraft and Communityâ, with programs with successful authors.
âWe have a special reading from exiled Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji on his imprisonment for decency laws in Egypt,â Murphy said. âWe have a poet from the UK. â¦ We have a panel on food innovation with a few chefs. We feature Deesha Philyaw and Brian Broome, both of whom have rocketed and written bestsellers.
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 Vineyardâ¦ and I came back to Virginia after realizing that a full-time center that unites writers is really 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.
âThis is a great opportunity, even virtually, to see authors 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 can -being to meet a community and find a few new writers that you haven’t heard of, âMurphy said. âI 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.