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Behold a new literary festival in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley!

Bethanne Patrick

July 17, 2019, 10:19am

With robust programming already this year, 1455 (previously Virginia Center for Literary Arts, or VCLA) continues to establish the Shenandoah Valley as a hotbed of creativity and community. After the success of 1455’s monthly Author Series at Handley Library and a number of workshops at both Long Branch and the Barns of Rose Hill, Founding Director Sean Murphy knew this was the time to put together a multi-day event focused on writers and writing: The 1455 Summer Literary Festival, a celebration of ideas and community. All programs are open to the public and free to attend. The festival will culminate with a featured reading, cocktail reception and dinner (ticketed event).

The festival will take place July 18 to 20 in downtown Winchester, VA. The primary programming will occur at the Bright Box located on the historic walking mall, with other events at Winchester Brew Works, the Winchester Book Gallery, and Shenandoah University. The programs boast a diverse array of talent, including best-selling authors, local and award-winning writers, as well as authors whose first books were published in 2019. Media outlets represented include Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Reuters, and NPR. Highlights of this year’s participants include Angie Kim, Louis Bayard, Karen E. Bender, Julia Phillips, Jeanne McCulloch, E. Ethelbert Miller, and John Lingan.

The festival will feature more than 50 participants, ranging from best-selling fiction and non-fiction authors, journalists, professors, as well as local artisans and leaders from the political, business, and academic fields. Several of the panels will feature faculty from local universities, including George Mason University, Marymount University, Hollins University, and Shenandoah University. The interactive panels include genres ranging from literary fiction, poetry, suspense fiction, journalism, international fiction, and children’s literature. 1455 will also be holding a Teen Poetry contest co-sponsored by Winchester’s Handley Regional Library. A $500 grand prize will be awarded to the winning poet, who will have the opportunity to read their work in a ceremony at Winchester Book Gallery. Register here.

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