MILLBROOK – The Millbrook Literary Festival (MLF) steering committee is proud to announce a slate of special events taking place on September 18, 2021. Although a traditional festival with its plethora of author talks, book signings, and book sales was not possible in this pandemic year, that hasn’t stopped them from striving to uphold festival founder Scott Meyer’s mission of engaging the local community, sharing his love of books, and encouraging writers. Partnerships with Merritt Bookstore and Millbrook Library have helped to make this possible.
The rain-or-shine events, which will take place throughout the day at Merritt Bookstore and Millbrook Library, are free and open to the public. Featured for adults and teens is a community read and discussion program centered around four short books from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn’s Mindfulness Essentials series: How to Eat, How to See, How to Fight, and How to Walk. Copies of these books are available for purchase at the bookstore and library at the discounted price of $2 each.
Noted community members will be taking the helm of the book discussions, which are each scheduled to last 45 minutes. At 10:30 a.m. Chef Gabe McMackin from Troutbeck, Grower Ellie Brown from Stonewood Farm, and food writer and restaurant consultant Tarajia Morrell will lead readers through How to Eat. An 11:30 a.m. discussion on How to Walk will be facilitated by Julie Hart, Senior Manager of Stewardship and Education at the Dutchess Land Conservancy, and Ralph Schmidt, adjunct professor at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. In the afternoon there will be a 12:30 p.m. discussion of How to Fight led by Father Matt Calkins, rector of Millbrook’s Grace Church, and Cat Greenstreet, Courage & Renewal® facilitator and author. Lastly, Megan Brandow-Faller, art historian and Professor of History at the City University of New York, and Bard College PhD candidate Adam Brandow will lead a talk on How to See at 1:30 p.m.
Concurrently with the mindfulness book discussions will be a full slate of children’s activities at Millbrook Library, led by Youth Services Coordinator Abigail Gallagher. In addition to an all-day scavenger hunt (with prizes!) taking place in the library’s children’s room, a 10 a.m. storytime on the library lawn will kick off events, followed by a make-your-own pinwheel craft. The book that will be read is My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing by Nick Ortner and Alison Taylor with pictures by Michelle Polizzi. At 11 a.m., children are invited to use their artistic skills to create chalk art on the sidewalk.
The featured children’s event of the day is a visit at 12 p.m. by author Lesa Cline-Ransome who will read from her middle-grade trilogy, Finding Langston, and sign books. Following that will be an activity inspired by Finding Langston where Gallagher will guide kids to write their own story or poem by using the erasure or blackout method. By crossing out words from old newspaper articles and saving others, young writers will craft a story or poem entirely their own.
Keeping with the community spirit of the day’s events, the last children’s program of the day, at 1 p.m., will feature three members from the Millbrook community–a choreographer, a zookeeper, and a restaurant owner–who will each read a picture book about their profession and give a short presentation about what they do.
For more information on all events, visit the MLF website at https://millbrookliteraryfestival.org/ or follow the Festival on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.