Award-winning author coming to Alpena Book Festival

Jack Driscoll, a two-time NEA Creative Writing Fellowship recipient and Michigan Notable Book author, will be speaking about his recently published short story collection, “The Goat Fish and the Lover’s Knot,” as part of the Third Annual Alpena Book Festival slated for Sept. 23.

The festival will take place in downtown Alpena at three venues: Alpena County Library, Blue Phoenix Books, and Olivet Book and Gift. Staff and volunteers from all three venues have been working hard to pull together another exciting line-up of authors and a fun day for book lovers of all ages.

A total of 25 authors will be participating in the festival, touching on inspirational writing, poetry, young adult, science fiction, literary fiction, mystery, Michigan-based fiction and non-fiction.

This full day of activity will include panel discussions, author meet and greet opportunities, and a variety of sessions for every interest.

Driscoll is a two-time NEA Creative Writing Fellowship recipient and the author of 11 books, including the short story collection, “Wanting Only to be Heard,” winner of the AWP Short Fiction Award, and “The World of a Few Minutes Ago,” winner of the Society of Midland Authors Award and the Michigan Notable Book Award.

His stories have appeared in the Georgia Review, Southern Review, Ploughshares, Missouri Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pushcart Prize Anthology and New Stories from the Midwest. He currently teaches in Pacific University’s low-residency MFA program in Oregon and resides in Interlochen with his wife, Lois.

Elmore Leonard said about Driscoll’s stories, “The guy can really write.”

In “The Goat Fish and the Lover’s Knot,” he once again demonstrates in every sentence the grace and grit of a true storyteller. The 10 stories are mostly set in Michigan’s northern lower peninsula, a landscape as gorgeous as it is severe.

If at times the situations in these stories appear hopeless, the characters nonetheless dare to hope against seemingly impossible odds. These fictional individuals are so compassionately rendered that they can hardly help but be, in the hands of this writer, not only redeemed but made universal.

The stories are written from multiple points of view and testify to Driscoll’s range and understanding of human nature, and to how “the heart in conflict with itself” always defines the larger, more meaningful story. A high school pitching sensation – whose fastball, clocked by a pro scout at 101 miles per hour – loses his arm in a public school classroom during show and tell.

A woman lives all of her ages in one day. A 14-year-old boy finds himself alone after midnight in a rowboat in the middle of the lake with his best friend’s mother.

Driscoll is a prose stylist of the highest order with a voice as original as the stories he tells. Lovers of contemporary storytelling will revel in Driscoll’s skill and insight on display in this unique collection.

His talk, entitled “The Sweet Revisions of Memory,” will be held at Alpena County Library beginning at 12:30 p.m. There will be brief question and answer session afterwards and books available for purchase.

Driscoll is just one of 13 writers new to the Alpena Book Festival. The other new participants include Angela K. Crandall, Robert Fawcett, S.R. Kent, Mary and Richard Rensberry, Shelly Schanfield, Linda Glaz, Zilka Joseph, Gary Hansen, Ellen Wilson, and Jessica and Craig Garrow.

The 13 new authors join returning presenters Diane Burton, Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli, Douglas Cameron, Connie Doherty, John Garavaglia, Peg Herring, Jenna Mindel, Colleen Nye, John Porter, Luman Slade, Chanda Stafford and Pegg Thomas.

The schedule of presentations is as follows:

Blue Phoenix Books

∫ 10-11 a.m. – Crafting Tension

∫ 11:30-12:30 p.m. – Beyond the Usual Suspects

∫ 2-3 p.m. – We Aren’t in Michigan Anymore…

∫ 3:30-4:30 p.m. – Book Signings

Olivet Book and Gift

∫ 10-11 a.m. – Sharing the Spirit

∫ 11:30-12:30 p.m. -That’s Poetic

∫ 2-3 p.m. – The Personality of the Novel

∫ 3:30-4:30 p.m. – Book Signings

Alpena County Library

∫ 11:30-12:30 p.m. – How Not to Get an Agent and YA Needs a Teenager

∫ 12:30-1:45 p.m. – The Sweet Revisions of Memory with author Jack Driscoll

∫ 2-3 p.m. – Ask and editor, blogger, reviewer

While the event is free and open to the public, attendees may purchase a festival tote bag for a nominal fee. Proceeds will benefit the READ adult literacy program at the library.

Each bag will have a selection of advanced reader’s copies provided by various publishers as well as a few convenience items, peppermints, pens and bookmarks.