Spencertown Academy Festival of Books, Labor Day Weekend 2018

Festival of Books, the annual extravaganza of all things literary, takes place over Labor Day weekend. The event features a giant used book sale, two days of readings and book signings by nationally known and local authors, a children’s program, and the Cookbook Café, serving fruit snacks, home-baked goodies, and our famous no-alarm vegetarian chili.

New this year, Spencertown Academy members will have first crack at the books during the Member’s Preview on Friday.

At the heart of the Festival is the annual book sale, one of the biggest in the region, offering more than 10,000 gently used books, including fiction and non-fiction, hard and soft cover —all at very affordable prices. Special sections included the Kid’s Corner for young readers; a media rack full of CDs, DVDs and audio books; art books; and a first-floor gallery featuring a handpicked selection of specialty books, limited editions, out-of-print books, and new books donated by leading national publishers.



Free admission for members, $10 for member’s guest.
New this year, extended early buying to get first choice of 10,000+ gently used books. Preview shoppers enjoy wine and cheese from 6:00-8:00 pm Members and their guests ONLY. Memberships may be purchased at the door.


9:30-11:15 am: CHILDREN’S PROGRAM – Free admission
Visit with Biscuit the Puppy, the beloved storybook character with a mind of his own. Pose for photos with the silly pup and take home a related art project. Sit and listen at the Storybook Corner, then browse in the Kid’s Book Room.

10:00 am-5:00 pm: BOOK SALE – Free admission
More than 10,000 affordably priced hard- and soft-cover books, fiction and non-fiction, as well as CDs, DVDs and LPs. All skillfully sorted and displayed for easy browsing. A Specialty Book Room tempts collectors with limited editions, signed copies, etc. New this year, teachers with ID receive 20% discount on purchases (except in Special Books Room).

In the Tent, 11:30 am-12:15 pm – Free admission
Presentation of award-winning stories and essays from the Young Writers Contest held earlier in the spring, hosted by Kelly Kynion, contest organizer.

In the Tent, 12:30-5:00 pm

12:30 pm: Two Formidables – Readings and discussion
Linda Dahl and Donna Kaz are determined women who confronted sexism and discrimination head on. Dahl’s memoir, Tooth and Nail: The Making of a Female Fight Doctor, recounts the years she spent as an ENT surgeon by day and ringside physician by night. Kaz’s book, UN/MASKED: Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl on Tour, describes her journey pre #metoo movement from survivor of domestic violence to artist/activist.

2:00 pm: Americans, Bridges, and the Duna – Reading and conversation
Jessica Keener will discuss her literary thriller, Strangers in Budapest, in which an American couple and their adopted child find international intrigue within the 1990s ex-pat community in the Hungarian capital. Author Daphne Kalotay (Russian Winter; Sight Reading) will join Jessica in discussing the inherent mystery of a foreign setting, and how place can serve as a catalyst and character in the story’s unfolding.

3:30pm: Back to School – A Charming Tutorial! – Reading and discussion
Jamie Cat Callan will share delightful stories about her travels throughout France from her latest book, Parisian Charm School, along with secrets to hosting a great dinner party, tips on the art of flirtation, and how to live with joie de vivre.


10:00 am-4:00 pm: BOOK SALE– Free admission

In the Tent, Noon-4:00 pm

Noon: Schizophrenia and Mental Health in America – reading and discussion
Nonfiction writer Sandy Allen will discuss their first book, A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story about Schizophrenia. Part memoir (as written by the author’s uncle Bob, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and interpreted and presented by Allen), part investigative report on mental healthcare in America, this tragic and touching story looks closely at constructs of normalcy, including psychiatric disability, and the important role of the family in mental health care.

1:30 pm: Poets in Conversation – readings and discussion
What is it like to be a poet in today’s world? Carol Durant (Whole Phat and Gluten Free Poetry) and Karen Schoemer (her poems have appeared in Up the River, Chronogram, and the Pine Hills Review; some have also been set to music by her group Jaded Azurites) will share their poetry, and discuss the state of their art.

3:00 pm:Ghosts, Photography, and Southern Gothic – reading and discussion
Jon Michael Varese will discuss his first novel, The Spirit Photographer, an intense tale of death and betrayal that shows us how determinedly the ghosts of the past remain with us, and how resolutely they refuse to be quieted. The book conjures the Reconstruction-era South, replete with fugitive hunters, voodoo healers, and other dangers lurking in the swamp.


10:00 am-2:00 pm: BOOK SALE CLEARANCE – Free admission
All remaining books are just $1.00 and special books are half off already low prices. Closing hour surprise specials.

Spencertown Academy Arts Center
790 NY-203
Spencertown, NY 12165

Phone: (518) 392-3693


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