We’re busy. Monumentally busy. Our technology-fueled world, with its manic glut of information, steals our sleep, seizes us by the scruff. We spend hours trapped in cars and cubicles and comment sections, our eyes lost in screens, our ears tuned to beeps and clicks, our thumbs typing tiny screeds.
That is precisely why, though it seems counterintuitive, I offer you one more thing to do: the 2019 Center City Literary Festival.
After two decades of attending and planning literary events, I am more than ever convinced of their power, of how they let us express our shared humanity—our joys, our sorrows—and show us how writing and art can sustain us, especially in times of change and upheaval.
But they also force us to slow down, to redirect our attention to the contemplative space of artful language. Even more than reading, listening to a poem or story engages the mind and body; we listen with our ears, eyes, and hearts. Such attention allows our poor inundated senses to recharge, electrified by words and voice. Further, like theater, we immerse into this space as an audience—individual and collective.
Heck, at the very least, we get to sit down. Rest. Drink a (free!) beverage and nosh a (free!) snack. Gaze slack-jawed at the luminescent Charlotte skyline from inside UNC Charlotte Center City building, that translucent green, off-kilter stack in the heart of the city.
The free public festival runs in two parts. During the day, we feature children’s storytelling such as dancers and puppetry along with fun kids’ activities such as creation stations (coloring, crafting, and character-building) and scavenger hunts.
In the evening, we welcome award-winning authors for a reception, readings, book signings, and socializing. We are committed to inviting a diverse lineup of renowned and emerging writers, including those from UNCC and the Charlotte area. In the past two years, we have hosted Nikky Finney, Jill McCorkle, Eduardo C. Corral, Gary Jackson, Dustin M. Hoffman, Paula Martinac, and Siobhán Campbell.
The 2019 festival on Saturday, March 30 2019, will bring you Tony Earley, acclaimed writer of five books and North Carolina native; Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams, poet and prose writer and winner of a Whiting Award; Patrice Gopo, a Charlotte-area creative nonfiction writer and 2018 NC Arts Council fellow; and Allison Hutchcraft, a poet and creative writing instructor at UNCC.
Please, come and take a load off for a couple of hours. Revel in language. Remind yourself of the best of who we are.
UNC Charlotte Center City campus
320 E. 9th Street, Charlotte 28202
(Adjacent to First Ward Park and a quick stroll from the 7th Street Market and light rail station)
Bryn Chancellor’s first novel Sycamore (Harper, 2017) has been hailed as a “hypnotic debut” (O: The Oprah Magazine) and “a transporting vision of community, connection and forgiveness” (Publishers Weekly). Her story collection When Are You Coming Home? won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and her fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals. Honors include the Poets & Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. A graduate of Vanderbilt University’s MFA program, she is an assistant professor at UNC Charlotte.