Connecting Readers and Writers

Next weekend, Washington Island will be bustling with a slew of accomplished writers, sharing their varied talents with attendees of the first ever Washington Island Literary Festival. Entitled “Writing Wisconsin: Facts and Fictions,” the event will take place Oct. 4 – 6 at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center.

“The idea for a literary festival came from Island resident Helene Meyer, an avid reader and book-lover,” explains Mari Anderson, who helped spearhead the event. “She wanted to create an opportunity for readers to be able to connect with writers on a personal level.”

The event will feature author and former Wisconsin Public Radio host Jean Feraca, who will present “From Poetry, To Memoir, To Fiction: A writer’s journey.” She will also lead a panel discussion on the topic: “Why Write?” Panel members include novelists Dale Kushner and Martha Egan, poet Bruce Dethlefsen and WPR host and author Norman Gilliland.

Also joining the Festival program is Mary Fons, a writer, editor, performer, and host of PSB/Create Network’s Quilty. Fons is a nationally ranked slam poet, who got her chops slamming at Chicago’s legendary Green Mill. She will present an afternoon workshop for festival participants about how to turn reading aloud into performance art. On Oct. 5, she will host both an open mic and slam poetry contest in addition to reading from her own work. This portion of the festival will be free and open to the public.

Anderson says the event is for “anyone who loves to write or read books of any kind. We think the festival has something to offer readers and writers no matter what their preferences might be.”

The registration fee is $90 and includes all events, coffee breaks, Saturday dinner and Sunday morning trip to Rock Island. For more information, contact Mari Anderson ([email protected] or 920.847.2579) or Betsy Wallman ([email protected]), and visit