Aspen Writers’ Foundation to Highlight the American South During the 34th Annual Aspen Summer Words Literary Festival

May 4, 2010

For Immediate Release
Contact: Nicole Hernandez
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Aspen Writers’ Foundation
970-925-3122, ext. 2# |


Aspen Writers’ Foundation to Highlight the American South During the 34th Annual Aspen Summer Words Literary Festival
Festival Passes Now on Sale 

Aspen, CO, May 4, 2010 – The Aspen Writers’ Foundation (AWF), a program of the Aspen Institute, presents the 34th annual Aspen Summer Words Festival, “Crossroads: A Literary Intersection of the American South.” To be held at the Doerr-Hosier Center in Aspen, Colorado from June 20-25, this five-day festival will follow a trail of words, exploring stories from the Gulf to the Atlantic with some of the legendary writers who crafted them.

Confirmed authors include the elder statesman of Southern letters, author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated A Lesson Before Dying, and the recipient of the 2010 Aspen Prize for Literature, Ernest J. Gaines; breakout author of the #1 New York Times bestselling novel, The Help, Kathryn Stockett; National Book Award finalist and bestselling author of Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison; past Chancellor of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and Pen/Faulkner nominated author of Peace, Richard Bausch; critically acclaimed poet and author of Serena, a New York Times Notable Book of the year, Ron Rash;  award-winning poet and the recipient of the PEN American Open Book Award, Nikky Finney; prize-winning author of five books including Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, Randall Kenan; and president and CEO of the Aspen Institute and the author of three works of historical nonfiction, Walter Isaacson. The AWF’s Writer-in-Residence and 2009 National Book Award winner, Colum McCann, will also participate in select Festival events.

“The American South – a region as steeped in storytelling as its famous sweet tea – was a natural choice for our literary heritage festival,” said Lisa Consiglio, executive director of the AWF. “The South has given birth to some of our nation’s finest writers, and we are pleased to showcase this fast-changing literary landscape made up of old-timers and newcomers who continue to explore the age-old themes of race, religion and politics.”

Festival presenters will appear alongside some of the nation’s leading author-educators and literary agents and editors, including Dimitry Anselme, Robert Bausch, Kimberley Cameron, Edward Carey, Jennifer Carlson, Seth Fishman, David Forrer, Dana Gioia, Kendra Harpster, Randall Kenan, Kirby Kim, Scott Lasser, William Loizeaux, Jane Rosenman, Elizabeth McCracken, David Patterson, Rob Spillman, Fran Sterling, and Daniel Weinshenker. The week will give booklovers the rare opportunity for intimate dialogue with authors, behind-the-scenes glimpses into the publishing industry, and lively interaction between readers and writers in literary events such as author readings, artist conversations, craft talks, and panel discussions.

2010 program highlights will include:

  • Stories From The Front Porch: Join us as we celebrate the elder statesman of Southern letters, Ernest Gaines, who will appear on stage via live video, alongside the other luminaries of our “Crossroads” literary festival. The AWF will award Mr. Gaines with the Aspen Prize for Literature during this annual tribute.

  • The Help: Don’t miss this evening of literary insights with debut author Kathryn Stockett, whose #1 New York Times bestselling novel, The Help, has made her a rising star in book clubs and publishing circles around the nation.

  • Voices of The South: Meet three authors known for their character-driven works of fiction – Dorothy Allison, Randall Kenan, and Ron Rash – as they explore the roots of Southern identity that give voice to the rich language and dialogue that are hallmarks of their region.

  • Southern Rhythms: The crossroads of poetry and music – where tone, rhythm, cadence, and lyricism meet – will be the subject of this conversation between Dana Gioia and Nikky Finney.

In addition to the afternoon Festival, a morning Writing Retreat offers beginning through advanced workshops and classes in fiction, memoir, poetry, and digital storytelling to registered Aspen Summer Words students. The AWF also offers two seminars for literature lovers (no writing experience necessary): the 5-day Facing History & Ourselves seminar with Dimitry Anselme and Fran Sterling, and the 2-day Readers’ Retreat with Richard Bausch. All workshops and classes are open to the public. Pre-registration is required.

Editor’s Note: For press passes to the Festival contact Nicole Hernandez at or 970-925-3122, ext 2#.

The Details

Aspen Summer Words Festival passes (guaranteed entry to all Festival events) are $150 for retreat students and members of the AWF and Aspen Institute, and $200 for individuals, and may be purchased through Aspen Show Tickets at the Wheeler Opera House: / 970-920-5770 or 866-449-0464. Discount lodging for all Summer Words participants is available at the Aspen Meadows: / 800-452-4240. For a list of currently confirmed speakers, schedule of events, and passholder information, please visit

The Aspen Writers’ Foundation, Colorado’s oldest nonprofit literary organization and a program of the Aspen Institute, has been bringing readers and writers together since 1976. The organization’s mission is to provide programs that encourage writers in their craft and readers in their appreciation of literature. Through its repertoire of ten year-round programs and projects, the Aspen Writers’ Foundation annually serves 100,000-plus literary enthusiasts of all ages.

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC, Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and has an international network of partners.


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