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The 2021 Provincetown Book Festival

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Robert Jones, Jr., acclaimed author of the historical novel, The Prophets; Paul Lisicky, author of the Provincetown memoir Later: My Life at the Edge of the World; Francine Prose, author of 20 novels including her most recent, The Vixen; and Brandon Taylor, author of the short story collection Filthy Animals and the novel Real Life, will appear live and in person at the 2021 Provincetown Book Festival.

A weekend of literary events for readers, writers, and book lovers of all kinds, the Provincetown Book Festival takes place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 17 – 19, 2021. The Festival opens on Friday night, September 17, with a reading and reception for the recipient of the Rose Dorothea Award, given annually by the Board of Library Trustees to a person with a strong connection to the Outer Cape who has made a significant contribution through the written word. The 2021 recipient is performance artist and writer Karen Finley.

On Saturday, September 18, at 6 p.m., Provincetown memoirist Paul Lisicky will share the stage with Andrea Lawlor, author of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl. Both writers lived in Provincetown during the 1990s. Fiction meets history when Francine Prose, whose novel The Vixen concerns Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, speaks with Aaron Lecklider, author of Love’s Next Meeting: The Forgotten History of Homosexuality and the Left in American Culture at 4 p.m. Sunday, September 19. Historian Aaron Lecklider will also interview novelist Robert Jones, Jr., about his novel of slavery, The Prophets, on Saturday at 4:30. Brandon Taylor will read from and talk about his work on Saturday at 12 p.m.

“We have a wonderfully diverse line-up this year,” said Nan Cinnater, Director of the Provincetown Book Festival and Lead Librarian at the Provincetown Library. “We are featuring lots of non-fiction writers in addition to poets and novelists. We have a number of LGBTQ authors and authors of different races and ethnicities. Some are connected to Provincetown and some aren’t. But all of them are outstanding writers!”

Among the featured non-fiction writers are Animatta Forna, well known as a novelist but currently author of a new book of essays, The Window Seat. Forna will appear in conversation with Jennifer De Leon, author of the essay collection, White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, and Writing. Memoirist Maya Shanbhag Lang (What We Carry) will talk about the politics of memoir with Rajiv Mohabir, (Antiman). Professor Kerri Greenidge will discuss the history of Black political thought and her new biography, Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter.

Other featured authors include novelist Joshua Henkin, author of Morningside Heights, in conversation with Matthew Klam, author of the novel Who Is Rich? Boston poet laureate Porsha Olayiwola and poet January Gill O’Neil will read from their work and speak with each other on “The Future of Poetry.” Mona Awad, author of All’s Well, will talk with Heidi Pitlor, author of Impersonation, about the uses of comedy in literary fiction. Two more novelists writing about women’s lives – Hanna Halperin, author of the debut novel Something Wild and Lynne Hugo, author of The Book of CarolSue – round out the program. On Saturday and Sunday, there will be a giant used book sale on the Provincetown Library lawn. On Saturday, September 18, at 9:00 a.m., five local writers will kick off the Festival in “Reading Local,” a special reading curated by Lynne Hugo, author of nine novels and a memoir.

For the safety of speakers, volunteers, audience, and staff, mask-wearing will be required at Provincetown Book Festival events, with the exception of the socially-distant speakers onstage. All Festival volunteers and ticket holders will be required to show proof of vaccination for admittance to programs. Seating will be limited, so tickets/reservations are highly recommended.

All events are free and open to the public. The Provincetown Public Library is located at 356 Commercial St. For more information, call 508.487.7094. The complete schedule as of press time is below, but to confirm the schedule and register visit provincetownbookfestival.org.

Friday, September 17
6 p.m.           Rose Dorothea Award
                      Reception and Reading: Karen Finley 

Saturday, September 18
9 a.m.           Reading Local
                      A curated reading with regional writers

10:30 a.m.   Women’s Lives: More Than Meets the Eye
                      Hanna Halperin, Lynne Hugo

12 p.m.         Real Fiction/Real Life
                      Brandon Taylor

1:30 p.m.     Black Radical (100 Years Before Black Lives Matter)
                      Kerri Greenridge

3 p.m.         Seriously Funny
                    Mona Awad, Heidi Pitlor

4:30 p.m.     An Interview with . . .
                     Robert Jones, Jr. interviewed by Aaron Lecklider

6 p.m.         Provincetown: Life at the Edge of the World
                    Paul Lisicky

Sunday, September 19
10 a.m.        A Conversation Between . . .
                     Joshua Henkin, Matthew Klam

11:30 a.m.   Essay Means Attempt, Endeavor, Strive
                      Jennifer De Leon, Aminatta Forna

1 p.m.         The Politics of Memoir
                     Maya Lang, Rajiv Mohabir

2:30 p.m.     The Future of Poetry
                     January Gill O’Neil, Porsha Olayiwola

4 p.m.         Exploring the Shadows: Fiction and History
                    Francine Prose, Aaron Lecklider