Literary

Literature in all its forms, from poetry to historical fiction will play a major component of the Astra Arts Festival. Literary lovers will enjoy workshops, discussions, and readings by some of the country’s top writers.


Headlining Authors

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David Lee

David Lee was the first poet laureate of Utah, and his 1999 collection News from Down to the Café, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. A former farmer, he is the subject of the PBS documentary, The Pig Poet. Other occupations have included, seminary student and boxer. He was the last white athlete to play on a Negro League baseball team. He earned his Ph.D. with a concentration in the poetry of John Milton and taught at Southern Utah University for three decades. 

Lee explores the interaction of humans and the natural world in his poetry, depicting rural landscapes and lives and often employing a rural American dialect. 

Poet David Clewell has said of Lee, “He doesn’t have time for small talk, he’s too busy with real and vital things to say: he entertains us, enlightens us, makes us laugh and feel good laughing, makes us taste the sadness of our world.”A critic enthusiastically claims Lee’s work should “be on every shelf in every library. His poetry is sit-down, read-straight-through, sigh-with-contentment stuff . . . The next time you go out for groceries, you’ll look with love on every character standing in line, especially at the rural Wal-Mart. In this plastic world, we need the reality of David Lee.”

David Lee will perform an evening of his readings on Sunday, July 3rd in the William Inge Theater on the Independence Community College Campus at 8:00p.m. Admission is $12.00

He will also present a master class from 2:00-4:00p.m. Saturday, July 2nd. in room AC200 on the Independence Community College Campus.

 
From Left to right: Denise Low, Eric McHenry, Wyatt Townley, and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

From Left to right: Denise Low, Eric McHenry, Wyatt Townley, and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Denise Low

Denise Low is an Amerian poet, honored as the second Kansas poet laureate.  A professor at Haskell Indian Nations University, Low teaches literature, crative writing, and American Indian studies.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Former Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 19 books and the founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she teaches.

Wyatt Townley

Wyatt Townley is a poet, author, and yoga instructor, honored as the fourth Kansas poet laureate.

Eric McHenry

Eric McHenry is a poet and professor at Washburn University.  He is the current (fifth) Kansas poet laureate.

Lucy Silag

Lucy Silag is assistant director of publicity at Random House Publishing Group.  She has an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the author of The Beautiful Americans trilogy of books foryoung adults.  You can find her on Twitter @lucysilag

 
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Chinelo Okparanta

She has published work in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, the Kenyon Review, AGNI,and other venues, and was named one ofGranta’s six New Voices for 2012. Under the Udala Trees is her first novel.

 
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Eric Monder

Professor Eric Monder is a lecturer, writer, teacher, and documentary filmmaker. On staff at Bethany College since 2004, he received his degree from NYU in 1986. As a film critic, Eric contributes to several publications, including Film Journal International and has lectured on film and produced events at major venues, including the Salina Art Cinema, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Bradford Film Festival in Bradford, England. As a member of the Kansas Humanities Council, Eric toured with his talk, “The Stars of Kansas,” all over the state.

Contact: Eric Monder (785) 212-6191 or SorrellM@aol.com

Eric will present a workshop on area actresses Louise Brooks and Vivian Vance from 1:00-2:00p.m. at Penn Terrace on Monday, July 4th.


Workshops & Panels

 There will be a multitude of educational workshops, panels, and readings throughout the duration of the festival. 

Self-Publishing Panel

Kansas authors will relate their own experiences with the process of self-publishing and will answer questions about the process from audience members.  

Ticket Price:  FREE
** 10:30-11:30a.m. Thursday, June 30; Presbyterian Church

Register for Self-Publishing Panel

Authors Roger Huff, pastor and self-published author Kevin Olsen, speaker and self-published author, Joyce Long and Judy Entz from Mennonite Press will be presenters. Other participants to be announced.

 

Fiction Workshop with Lori Baker Martin

Fancy trying your hand at writing a short story?  Come work with PSU Professor and Iowa Writers’ workshop graduate Lori Martin ad get some great advice and insight into the art of the short story and the craft of writing.

Ticket Price:  FREE
2:30-3:30p.m. Thursday, June 30; Independence Public
 Library

 

Comics and Graphic Arts with Bart Klick and Zack Stoppel, Ramen Empire

Bart Klick and Zach Stoppel are the author and artist (respectively) of the comic Ramen Empire.  They’ll discuss the challenges of publishing a weekly comic and how they’ve worked to keep the comic both fun and relevant.

Ticket Price:  FREE
1-2p.m., Friday, July 1; Independence Public Library

 

CANCELLED!!!

Children’s Fiction Workshop with Roderick Townley

Children’s fiction writer Roderick Townley will read from his new book “Bitter Magic,” and discuss “Doing the Impossible.” Children will be delighted and inspired.

Ticket Price:  FREE
10-11 a.m. Saturday, July 2; Presbyterian Church parlor

JIM HOY WILL TAKE OVER THIS TIME ON SATURDAY, JULY 2 AT THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH!

 

Masterclass with David Lee

David Lee was the first poet laureate of Utah, and his 1999 collection News from Down to the Cafe’, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  a former farmer, he is the subject of the PBS documentary, The Pig Poet.

Other occupations have included seminary student and boxer.  He was the last white athlete to play on a Negro League baseball team.  he earned his Ph.D. with a concentration in the poetry of John Milton and taught at Southern Utah University for three decades.

Ticket price:  $25.00 Registration required - see “Masterclass” tab for registration form. Payment taken online or by mail.
2-4 p.m., Saturday, July 2; Independence Community College, AC 200

 

Horror Workshop with Jamie McDaniel and Lynn Caldwell

Lynn Caldwell has been a horror aficionado for years and her talent for writing horror has meant her inclusion in several horror anthologies.  Jamie McDaniel teaches horror film and literature at Pittsburg State University.  Come hear about that fascinating crossroads of horror where film and literature meet.

Ticket Price:  Free
2:30-3:30p.m., Saturday, July 2;
Independence Community College

 

Haunted Indy Tour

Take a guided tour at night to haunted sites in Independence.  The trip comes complete with “mostly” true scary stories and road-trip snacks!

Tickets:  $10.00 Registration required-see Masterclass & tour tab for registration form. Room for 30. 
Saturday, July 2, 9-11p.m.; Pick up at Booth Hotel

 

Hard Cider and Cheese with Micah Martin and Sean Waters

Hard cider and cheese guru Micah Martin and agricultural advocate Sean Waters will teach participants the necessary techniques to make craft hard cider in their own homes. Participants will be entertained with the pairing of hand-picked ciders from around the world and international cheeses. After the workshop, each participant will receive a cider carafe with juice and the tools necessary to make their own first batch.

Ticket Price:  $25.00; Registration required - see Masterclass & Tour tab for registration form.  Two workshops available.  Payment taken online or by mail.
1-2:30p.m. Saturday July 2 and again 3-4:30p.m. Sunday, July 3; Landon House

 

Creative Nonfiction Workshop: Memoir with Rachel White and Chanci Long

Creative nonfiction authors Rachel White and Chanci Long will conduct a memoir workshop complete with writing prompts and tips. Limited Seating.

Tickets:  Free
2:30-3:30p.m., Sunday, July 3, Presbyterian Church, library

 

POETRY

The Joy of Haiku with Jim Fischer

Local treasure and Independence Community College Professor Emeritus Jim Fischer will discuss the ancient art of haiku. His recently published book of haiku and art by local photographer Rob Morgan will be available for sale.

Tickets:  FREE
11-12p.m. Friday, July 1; Independence Public Library

 

Poetry Workshop with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Former Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the author 19 books and the founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she teaches. The workshop is “the World as Writing Prompt.” Drawing from innovative writing exercises, participants will write, read, and talk about how to grow writing and writing lives. The workshop is ideal for anyone who writes or wants to write.

Tickets:  FREE
2:30-3:30, Friday, July 1; Independence Public Library

 

Poet Laureate Readings

Current Kansas Poet Laureate Eric McHenry and former laureates Denise Low, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, and Wyatt Townley will read from their work, capturing Kansas and its people and the world beyond in unforgettable verse.

Tickets:  FREE
8-10p.m., Friday, July 1; Landon House - room is limited.

 

A Night with David Lee

Poet David Lee specializes in taking the language of country folks and revealing its poetry. His work is both hilarious and supremely moving. David Lee was Utah Poet Laureate, and his work has been nominated for a Pulitzer. He’s a former farmer, the subject of the PBS documentary, The Pig Poet. Lee will be reading from new work and old, using “the bridal motif,” he says: “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue."

Tickets:  $12.00-purchase tickets online or at door
8-9:30p.m.; Sunday, July 3; Inge Theatre, Independence Community College

 

AUTHOR READINGS

Kansas Poet Laureate Readings

Current Kansas Poet Laureate Eric McHenry and former Laureates Denise Low, Caryn Mirriam Golderg, and Wyatt Townley will read from their work, capturing Kansas and its people and the world beyond in unforgettable verse.

Tickets: Free
8-10p.m. Friday, July 1; Landon House

 

Plains Versification

Jim Hoy will read and discuss his works.

Tickets:  FREE
4-5p.m. Saturday, July 2; Landon House

 

What Publishers Wish Writers Knew with Lucy Silag

Lucy Silag is an author and assistant director of publicity at Random House Publishing Group. She will candidly discuss the modern publishing industry and how writers can best navigate the process of becoming published. From finding an agent to self-publishing to social media, this session will help writers identify the next steps they should take to reach their publishing goals.

Tickets:  FREE
5:30-6:30p.m., Saturday, July 2; Landon House

 

Reading with Chinelo Okparanta

Chinelo Okparanta is a Nigerian-American writer, who was born and raised in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.  She emigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 10.  

Okparanta has published short stories in publications that include Granta, The New Yorker, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, Tri Quarterly, Conjunctions, Subtropics, and the Coffin Factory.  She has held fellowships or visiting professorships at the University of Iowa, Colgate University and Purdue University.  Okparanta’s debut short story collection, Happiness Like Water, won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award.  Other honors include the 2014 O. Henry Award and the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing (finalist).  He first novel, Under the Udala Trees, was publishsed in 2015.

Tickets:  FREE
5:30-6:30p.m., Sunday, July 3; Landon House

 

Louise Brooks and Vivian Vance (lecture/reading)

Have you ever wanted to know more about the beautiful Cherryvale film stars Louise Brooks and Vivian Vance?   Eric Monder will discuss these starts, complete with film clips.

Tickets:  FREE
1-2p.m., Monday, July 4; Penn Terrace

 

Art and Literature Crawls

The Lit and Art Crawl groups will meet and form at Turbo’s downtown and begin from there, walking to various locations in beautiful downtown Independence, where they’ll observe art presentations and listen to writers Olive Sullivan, Melissa Fite-Johnson, Heather Mydosh, Matt Manning, Cody Shrum, Rachel White.

Tickets:  FREE
4:00-7:00p.m., Friday, July 1; downtown Independence

 

Astra Writing Contest

Deadline June 24. 

Original poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, and flash fiction accepted.  Entries are online — buy tickets for the number of entries you have (1 or 2 or 3, etc).  Send entries to: 

Astra Arts Festival Writing Contest
Independence Community College
1057 W. College Avenue; Independence, KS67301

Prizes are $100 for first; $50 for second; and $25 for third.  Willers will be announced at the reception held from 6 -7 p.m. on Monday, July 4 at the Booth Hotel.  For more information, see the rules.

 

Writing Contest Winners’ Reception

This reception will announce and honor the winners of the various writing contests.

Tickets:  FREE
6:00-7:00p.m., Monday, July 4; Booth Hotel

 

BOOK FAIR

Self-Publishing Book Fair

For local authors and those who like to read local authors alike, this drop-in event is an opportunity to meet authors and purchase interesting books (and collect some signatures if you’d like). If you’re a self-published author and would like to have a table at this event, please contact Lori Martin [lori.baker.martin@gmail.com, (620) 515-7240] and register HERE.

Tickets:  FREE
11:30a.m.-1:30p.m., Thursday, June 30; Presbyterian Church  

 

Books and art will be for sale throughout the Festival from the Authors and Artists themselves.