Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Elizabeth Strout arrives in Newburyport this weekend via live stream. The 17th edition Newburyport Literary Festival (NLF) will once again host festival favorite Elizabeth Strout in conversation with another favorite NLF author Andre Dubus III. Their conversation will be broadcast live on Saturday, April 30 at 1:15 p.m.
“Andre and I are going back,” Strout said. “We have known each other for years. I find it awkward to be on Zoom, so it’s always better for me to have someone asking questions. I really like questions.
Strout, who lives in Maine, is no stranger to the Newburyport Literary Festival. When she arrived in 2016, shortly after the release of her novel ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’, the room was packed. That’s no surprise considering her novel “Olive Kitteridge” won the Pulitzer Prize.
Strout is also the New York Times bestselling author of “Olive, Again”, “My Name Is Lucy Barton”, “The Burgess Boys”. “Stay with me” and “Amy and Isabelle”. She has won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in London, and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Lucy Barton returns in Strout’s latest book “Oh William!” which was published in 2021. The book is about the “quiet forces that hold us together – even after we’ve parted ways”. On Saturday, Strout and Dubus will talk about the mysteries of marriage, the strength and wisdom of Lucy Barton, and the secrets that can change everything we know about those closest to us.
Readers will once again be able to follow Lucy Barton in Strout’s upcoming book “Lucy By The Sea,” which is slated for release September 20.
“I’m interested in a character,” Strout said, “and I have more to say about that person. I think I’m never done with them. They feel real to me. Chronologically, “Lucy By the Sea” is a continuation of “Oh, William!” but it goes through the pandemic. It takes place in Crosby, Maine, and is totally fictional.
“Olive, Again,” which was also set in Crosby, was released in October 2019, just before the pandemic hit. Like so many other authors, Strout had to change the way she promoted her new book.
“I’ve done a few in person, just three or four places,” she said. “Then I did so many zooms. It’s definitely more convenient for me, but it’s not as comfortable for me. The Zoom thing is you have to watch yourself. It’s unpleasant.
“Then after we had the shot and the booster, I went on tour for ‘Oh, William!’ but it was really weird. Even though they made sure the audience was vaccinated and they wore masks, there was no book signing. It’s a weird world right now.
Her latest book “Lucy By The Sea” is set in Crosby again, but in this strange new world of COVID-19.
Like everyone else, Strout looks forward to meeting his readers face to face.
“I really like meeting my readers,” she said. “I love my readers. I literally think of my readers all the time. I love talking to my readers. It is rewarding. The books are for them.
In the meantime, live streaming will have to do the trick. For the third consecutive year, the Newburyport Literary Festival will partner with A Mighty Blaze, a social media initiative created by authors Jenna Blum and Caroline Leavitt to help promote new books by other authors during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19.
The official festival bookstores are Jabberwocky Bookshop and The Book Shop of Beverly Farms. Books purchased online or over the phone from Jabberwocky Bookstore will be shipped for free anywhere on the East Coast. For more information, visit https://www.jabberwockybookshop.com/. Prior to and during the festival, The Book Shop of Beverly Farms will donate 10% of the proceeds from the sale of featured authors’ books to the BINC (Book Industry Charitable Foundation). For more information or to purchase a book, visit https://bookshopofbeverlyfarms.com/?q=p.newburyport_lit.
The NLF is made possible through the generosity of its founding sponsors, Newburyport Bank and the Institution for Savings. Additional support is provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and its local chapters in Newburyport, Newbury, West Newbury, Amesbury and Georgetown.
Organized by the Newburyport Literary Association, the festival annually celebrates reading and the love of books. Organizing an event of this magnitude takes a lot of work and organizers are starting to plan in the fall. The Steering Committee includes co-chairs Vicki Hendrickson and Jennifer Entwistle, Linda Carpino, Bethany Dorau, Hannah Harlow, Leslie Hendrickson, Nana Kennedy, Giselle Stevens, Skye Wentworth, Alfred Nicol, Meg Mitchell Moore, Ghlee Woodworth, Betsy Westendorf, Laura Szaro Kopinski, Zara Raab and Sara Kelso.
For a full list of authors, schedule, and to register for events, visit the festival website, newburyportliteraryfestival.org, NLF friend on Facebook or follow NLF on Twitter or Instagram. The festival is free but registration is required for each event.