“St. Louis is kind of underappreciated as a literary city,” St. Louis author Ann Leckie said. “There’s the long history, but there’s also plenty of writers who are here now.”
That history, including authors like Maya Angelou and Tennessee Williams, and award-winning authors like Leckie are fueling next weekend’s Lit in the Lou festival.
“I have a friend who says that St. Louis right now is like Paris in the ’20s,” poet Matthew Freeman said. “We have a very lively scene. I have a million writer friends, and we all get coffee and we hang out and we share our poems. We give readings. There’s every type of poetry that you want: there’s language poetry; there’s literary poetry; there’s rhyming poetry.”
Lit in the Lou, hosted by the St. Louis Literary Consortium, will feature author readings, book signings, workshops, children’s activities and music.
“For writers, we’ll have a number of workshops where authors will sit and talk about their process and give pointers and readers can ask questions,” said Kristina Makansi, a member of the festival’s planning committee. “We’ll also have authors reading from their work. With the poets, we’ll probably have around 100 authors included in the event. It should be pretty exciting.”
“I will be talking about what I do at the (St. Louis) Poetry Center,” Freeman said, who is in the master of fine arts program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and is the poet-in-residence at Adapt Missouri. “They’ve allocated some money for me to go work with veterans and work with disabled adults and sort of get them to write poetry. It’s been a really rewarding experience.”
“I will be possibly reading from my new book. Certainly answering questions. Talking to people about whatever they’re interested in,” sci-fi author Leckie said. Her second book, “Ancillary Sword,” will be released next week. The “far-future space opera” is a sequel to her award-winning “Ancillary Justice.”
“Fiction seems like it’s just entertainment, but I think it’s really important,” Leckie said. “It’s an important thing to have in your lives, and books are a fabulous way to get that.”
Makansi also will be celebrating new work: “My daughters and I have written a science-fiction book, and the sequel comes out next month, as does my own book.”
Several well-known authors also will be available at Lit in the Lou, including Ridley Pearson, Elaine Viets, Qiu Xiaolong, Patricia McKissack, John Dalton, John Hendrix and Eugene B. Redmond.
The literary consortium also will honor St. Louis author William Gass at the opening cocktail party Oct. 10. “He’s really a literary lion,” Makansi said.
“With our heritage, it’s a shame that we don’t have a literary festival. Next week, we aim to change that,” she said.
“A great city needs great events that support and promote its authors, and helps them establish ties to the community,” Freeman said.
Lit in the Lou
- When: Oct. 10-12, 2014
- Where: Delmar Boulevard at Melville Avenue in the Delmar Loop
- More information